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March 6, 2009

Thailand Economy:
GDP to contract 1% in 2009

Although the Thai economy is projected to recover in the fourth quarter this year, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for calendar 2009 is expected to contract by one percent.

Thai News Agency quoted Thanawat Polvichai, director of  the Economic and Business Forecasting Center at the University of Commerce, as saying the country’s economy during the first and second quarters of 2009 is projected to contract by 5 and 3 percent respectively.

For 2009, the GDP is expected to contract one percent due to the global economic meltdown and especially that of the US economy, he said.

Most worrisome is the country’s exports for 2009, which are expected to decline 10 percent, he said. The Thai government must accelerate on disbursement of its budgeted expenditures, promote investment in each province, find ways to end political unrest, restore confidence among investors, and promote tourism.

Unemployment is another major problem as new graduates looking for jobs this summer will number between 500,000-600,000 and if company layoffs continue the number of jobless will be as high as 1.3 million, Thanawat said.

The Ministry of Commerce announced earlier that Thailand’s exports for January were valued at only $10.496 billion, down 26.5 percent from the corresponding period of last year and the biggest drop since the Asian financial crisis which shook the kingdom in 1997.

Thailand’s export growth target this year, according to the government, is set at between 0-3 per cent and it is believed that Thailand’s exports should improve as the world economy is expected to rebound during the second half of the year.
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