World Bank positive on Thai economy next year

The World Bank said that Thailand is poised for recovery. The Bank forecasted that the Thai economy will return to pre-pandemic growth levels of nearly 4 percent next year if virus control measures remain effective. In a complement to the Bank’s optimism, domestic consumer confidence hit a seven-month high.

The World Bank’s Chief Economist for Thailand Kiatipong Ariyapruchya said that if the national vaccination program remains on its current pace and tourist arrivals continue on a steady rebound, the Thai economy would recover fully by the end of 2022.

The Bank is forecasting gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Thailand of 3.9 percent in 2022, compared to about 1 percent this year. The Kingdom implemented strict health measures and restrictions on gatherings and businesses earlier this year to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“If the current pace of vaccinations at around 750,000 doses per day is maintained and there is not a further resurgence of COVID-19, domestic consumer confidence and international tourist confidence are expected to strengthen,” Kiatipong said.

“Given these conditions, private consumption is projected to expand by about 4 percent per year in 2022 and 2023, up from an estimated 1 percent in 2021,” he added.

Kiatipong also based his forecast on Thailand receiving about seven million tourist arrivals in 2022. That optimistic outlook would still be many millions fewer than pre-pandemic levels, and other sectors would need to make up for lower growth in tourism, which contributes about 10 percent directly to the economy.

However, since the pandemic is still unpredictable at the global level and no one knows yet how severe the omicron variant will be or if any new and more dangerous variants will emerge, worldwide risks and uncertainties remain.

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