Thai economic czar prioritizes growth and restructuring in 2021

Sustaining growth and restructuring the economy will be the priorities for the government in 2021, according to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, the administration’s chief economic policymaker.

Although the Thai economy has been forecast to contract this year as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Supattanapong said he believes all losses would be recouped over the next 12 to 18 months. He expects that the economy will grow between 3.5 and 4 percent in 2021.

The government is planning to use fiscal policy to support growth, along with funds from a $30 billion emergency loan the government has taken to cope with the pandemic’s effects on business.

A return to solid growth is one of two objectives the Deputy Prime Minister has for the Thai economy in 2021. The second is restructuring. Thailand’s economic planners aim to attract and develop industries that will drive the country to a higher level of technology and create a more equitable development that reduces disparities.

The government aims to see investments in new industries rather than labor-intensive ones, Supattanapong said. That is why it had invested in 5G networks and fiber-optic undersea cables so that digital industries would have the infrastructure support the country needs.

Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said that the economy could contract less than the current forecasts. The Kingdom’s economy already bottomed out around mid-year and has been steadily coming back since then.

Similarly, The Thai National Shippers’ Council forecasts that exports would rebound to 3 to 5 percent growth next year, another positive sign. Exports are the most important driver of the Thai economy.

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