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Thailand’s economic growth is decelerating, raising concerns

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In the third quarter, Thailand’s economy expanded at its slowest rate in nearly a year, with experts predicting this sluggish trend will persist.


Official data released on Monday revealed that Thailand’s GDP increased by 1.5% year-on-year for the quarter ending in September. This figure fell short of the 2.4% forecast by economists surveyed by Reuters and was lower than the 1.8% growth recorded in the second quarter.


This marks the second consecutive quarter of slowing economic growth in Thailand.


“Public spending, inventories, and goods exports declined, despite strong private consumption and tourism,” noted Chua Han Teng, an economist at DBS Bank, highlighting that public spending capacity is diminishing due to populist policies.


Following a period of political stalemate and market volatility, Srettha Thavisin was appointed Thailand’s prime minister in late September. Economists foresee long-term economic recovery to be challenging under his leadership.


“The back-to-back quarters of weak GDP growth from the production side indicate an economy that is weaker than market sentiment suggests, despite strong consumption,” analysts at Bank of America Global Research stated in a report.


They also anticipated a more significant impact from tighter monetary policies moving forward.


In its September policy meeting, the Bank of Thailand raised its key interest rate for the eighth consecutive time, expecting economic growth and inflationary pressures to rise next year.


However, analysts at Nomura predict the Thai central bank will pause rate hikes at its upcoming meeting on November 29 and throughout 2024.


“We still see a risk of rate cuts as early as Q2 2024,” Nomura stated. “Importantly, the weak Q3 GDP results will likely strengthen the government’s push for a substantial digital wallet handout, despite uncertainties regarding its financing.”


A prolonged pause or potential rate cuts by the Bank of Thailand could also negatively impact the Thai baht, which has depreciated by 1.3% against the dollar this year and is on track for its fourth consecutive annual decline.


Source: CNBC


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The editorial team at Invest Bangkok Property


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