20 May 2015
The Cabinet, during its meeting on 19 May 2015, acknowledged a report on Thailand’s economic situation in the first quarter of 2015. According to the report, the Thai economy in the first quarter of 2015 grew by 3 percent, accelerating from 2.1 percent in the previous quarter.
The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) stated that the growth rate was spurred by non-agricultural expansion, which rose by 4.1 percent.
The expenditure side was assisted by the expansion of private consumption expenditure, government investment, and export of services. On the production side, improvements were seen in almost all sectors, especially the construction, hotel and restaurant, transportation, and industrial sectors, which continued to grow. After seasonal adjustment, the Thai economy in the first quarter of 2015 expanded by 0.3 percent over the fourth quarter of 2014.
Private consumption increased by 2.4 percent, improving from the growth of 2 percent in the previous quarter. General government consumption increased by 2.5 percent, compared to a 3.6 percent growth in the previous quarter.
Total investment grew by 10.7 percent, accelerating from a 3.2 percent growth in the previous quarter. Public investment expanded by 37.8 percent. Construction improved remarkably, as the disbursement of the Government’s capital budget in land and construction grew by 74 percent. Private investment expanded by 3.6 percent. For the first time in seven quarters, the Business Sentiment Index stood at a level higher than 50, which is the level at which business expand their investment.
The export value was recorded at 52.9 billion US dollars – a 4.3 percent contraction – and the export volume declined by 2.6 percent. The decline was a result of several factors: the deceleration in key trading partners’ economies, especially China and Japan; the appreciation of the baht; the drop in export prices in line with lower crude oil prices and agricultural prices in global markets; and the end of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) for Thai exports to Europe.
Export products recorded an expansion in value, including automotive products, machinery and equipment, integrated circuits and parts, and printed circuits. The export products that experienced a contraction in value included rice, rubber, cassava, petro-chemical products, and petroleum products.
Exports to major markets, such as the United States and Australia, expanded in this quarter, while exports to the European Union, Japan, China, and ASEAN contracted.
According to the NESDB’s press release on 18 May 2015, the Thai economy in 2015 is projected to grow by 3-4 percent, downwardly revised from the previous projection of between 3.5 and 4.5 percent. The revision is mainly due to a downward revision of the export volume.