After the general election in which the opposition parties won, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) suggested the new government boost exports as a top priority.
Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of NESDC, said the Thai economy will grow 3.2 per cent year-on-year in 2023, supported by the boost in tourism, private consumption and investment. However, Thai exports in dollar terms declined by 1.6 per cent year-on-year. GDP growth of 2.7 per cent was recorded in the first quarter of 2023.
The risk factors for the Thai economy are 1. the slowdown in the global economy and instability in the global economy and finances 2. increasing household and corporate debt, which is still at high levels 3. the unpredictability of the climate, which could affect agricultural yields and 4. post-election political factors.
Danucha said the new government’s policies should strictly focus on monetary and fiscal disciplines as these could affect the country in the longer term. He added that Thailand is currently running an annual deficit of 600 billion baht (17.7 billion U.S. dollars). Therefore, he said, a policy of raising wages must be carefully considered as it could weigh on business costs, the country’s inflation rate and foreign investment.
He added that exports, both agricultural and industrial, should be the incoming government’s first priority. It should speed up exports to markets with promising economic prospects and open up new ones, as well as monitor the impact of global economic and financial turbulence.
The next sector should be people’s living conditions, especially energy prices. He said the public must wait and see if the new government can achieve what it proposed during the election campaign.
For the 2024 budget, NESDC expected the slowest to be completed within the first quarter of 2024. Danucha stressed that it is important for the new government to find budgets to replenish investments, such as the investment budget of state-owned enterprises, which must be accelerated in September 2023 so that they have a cash flow of around 200 billion baht (5.9 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of the year.
It is also expected that SOEs will have another investment budget of 2 billion baht (59 million U.S. dollars) available for the first quarter of 2024.