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6 June 2009

IMF reports show growth contrasts of Thailand and Indonesia

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The International Monetary Fund predicted 3 percent decline in growth for Thailand as opposed to 3 to 4 percent increase for Indonesia, according to Reuters which quoted the forecasts released by the global lender Friday.

IMF noted the Thai economy was suffering a sharp fall in exports and continued sluggish domestic demand. But the country's economic fundamentals remained strong, underpinned by prudent economic policies and robust financial institutions, it said in a statement concluding its 2009 consultation with Thailand.

An IMF mission came to Thailand to conduct an annual economic review in April, when it predicted the Thai economy could shrink between 2 and 4 percent this year.

"Bringing the economy back on a sustained high growth path will, however, require decisive implementation of the policy measures to support domestic demand, and a swift restoration of investor and consumer confidence through a normalisation of the political situation," Reuters quoted the IMF report as saying.

On the other hand, the IMF has raised its 2009 economic growth forecast for Indonesia to 3-4 percent, from 2.5 percent previously, in the wake of better-than-expected first-quarter growth.

The IMF also forecast inflation would decline to about 5 percent by the end of the year. Annual inflation in May was 6.04 percent, while the central bank has forecast growth this year of 3-4 percent, slowing from 6.1 percent in 2008.

Indonesia launched a 73.3 trillion rupiah ($7.37 billion) fiscal stimulus package earlier this year, ahead of parliamentary elections in April and presidential elections on July 8, in a bid to counter the impact of a global economic crisis.

The central bank has cut its key interest rates by a total of 2.5 percentage points since December to 7.0 percent, and has said it may cut further in response to easing inflation and a firm rupiah currency.


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