BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s economy improved in the third quarter after the government eased COVID-19 restrictions and then rolling out a series of stimulus measures, said Thailand’s economic planning agency on Monday.
Thai gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 6.4 percent in July-September from a year ago, recovering from the prior quarter’s revised 12.1 percent contraction at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said.
The council also raised its 2020 outlook for a contraction of 6.0 percent from the previous forecast of 7.3 percent to 7.8 percent.
The NESDC said it expects exports to fall 7.5 percent this year instead of 10 percent fall as earlier predicted.
All the economic indicators, except for tourism, improved in the third quarter, said Danucha Pichayanan, NESDC’s secretary-general on Monday’s press briefing, adding that his council forecasts a growth of 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent in 2021.
However, he warned that the strong Thai baht currency, as well as high level of unemployment will remain obstacles for economic growth next year.
Danucha recommended that measures to accelerate economic rebound should focus on managing COVID-19 infection risks, helping the tourism sector, disbursing public spending, promoting private investment, as well as preparing mitigation for a pending drought season to come.
Loans to Revive Post-Virus Economy
Thailand’s Ministry of Finance and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) inked an agreement on Monday for Thailand to secure a loan of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to salvage an economy badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 1.5 billion U.S. dollars loan was part of Thailand’s 1 trillion baht (33 billion U.S. dollars) emergency borrowing scheme to combat the impact of the pandemic,” said Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, after he signed the loan deal with Hideaki Iwasaki, ADB country director for Thailand.
The loan for the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program will mainly focus on securing public health, compensation for those affected by the virus, and economic stimulus packages to revive the economy, said the finance minister.
Public Debt Management Office director-general Patricia Mongkhonvanit said that the Thai government had already made a loan of 338 billion baht (11.1 billion U.S. dollars) out of the proposed 1 trillion baht (33 billion U.S. dollars) loan.