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 1 May 2009

Thai Economy: Central bank sees first signs of recovery

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Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted between 5-6 percent during the first quarter of 2009, yet there are positive signs that the economy is heading towards recovery, a senior Bank of Thailand (BoT) official was quoted by the state news agency TNA as saying Thursday.

Amara Sriphayak, senior director of BoT’s Domestic Economy Department, said that compared to fourth quarter of 2008 when the GDP contracted 6.1 percent, the contraction of the GDP during the first quarter this year had slightly improved as the private sector had quickly adjusted to the problem of global financial crisis.

Manufacturers have focused on goods production for exports while more purchase orders were seen in March from overseas for electronic and electrical appliances, she said. Faster budget disbursements by the Thai government in March have played a vital role in economic improvement.

Amara said the major factors which could influence the Thai economy during the second quarter this year are the persisting global economic slump, domestic political unrest and the recent outbreak of swine flu first detected in Mexico and now spreading to the US and several parts of the world.

“The government’s disbursement of budget allocations is considered as heroic in stimulating the country’s economy. We’ll follow the second round of economic stimulating programme which will be announced in detail next  week,” she said.

The March business confidence index improved slightly to 40 from 37.4 the previous month, but still is lower than half, she said.  Private investment index during the first quarter this year fell 15.7 percent in line with imports which tumbled 38.3 percent, especially on raw materials and capital goods as manufacturers cut production.

Although Thailand’s exports declined 25.8 percent during the first quarter, the country enjoyed a trade surplus of US$7.8 billion as imports fell much more, she added.







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