Economy May Expand by ‘4-5%’ Next Year, Finance Chief Says

A nurse in protective clothing takes notes from a woman with symptoms of new coronavirus at a carpark that turned into a COVID-19 infection screening center at Chulalongkorn University's Health Service Center on April 1, 2020. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP
A nurse in protective clothing takes notes from a woman with symptoms of new coronavirus at a carpark that turned into a COVID-19 infection screening center at Chulalongkorn University's Health Service Center on April 1, 2020. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s finance minister said on Wednesday that Thai economy may expand by 4 percent to 5 percent next year.

Speaking at the “Thailand Focus 2020,” hosted by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Finance Minister Predee Daochai said that the Thai economy had already hit rock bottom, aggravated by the COVID-19 outbreak, and that it is the time for the economy to pick up.

He said that investors and the people should feel confident that the government would be able to revive economic growth.

The Thai manufacturing sector reached its lowest level in June amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but is on the trajectory of recovery, Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit also said on Thursday.

The manufacturing production index (MPI) in July increased for the third consecutive month by 3.12 percent from June to 85.4 points, said the minister.

The domestic industry, which was hit hard during the lockdown period earlier this year, is showing signs of recovery, said Suriya, cautioning that this will only occur if Thailand is not hit with second wave of COVID-19 outbreak.

The ministry released data indicating that after a drop from 103.6 in March to 78 in April, the MPI is on the rise as COVID-19 situation has improved in Thailand and businesses allowed to resume.

The July MPI is lower than 100.1 of July 2019, but is a month-on-month gain from June, said Suriya.

The Bank of Thailand earlier forecasted the economy to shrink by 5.3 percent in 2020.