Thai business group keeps 2023 growth forecast at 2.5%-3% By Reuters

Thai business group keeps 2023 growth forecast at 2.5%-3% By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows a cityscape in Bangkok, Thailand January 27, 2023. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s economy is expected to grow between 2.5% and 3.0% this year, a leading joint business group said on Wednesday, maintaining its previous estimate.

Exports, a key driver of the Thai economy, are expected to fall between 0.5% to 2% this year, said the group, which has representatives from industry, banking and commerce.

It also maintained a forecast of 29 to 30 million foreign arrivals to Thailand this year.

“The global economy is slowing and recovery may not be fast, which poses a risk to exports,” the group’s chair, Sanan Angubolkul said.

The weak baht will help tourism and exports, but importers will suffer, he said, adding that 35 baht to the dollar was a manageable level for businesses.

The baht this week slipped to an 11-month low, trading at 37.21 on Wednesday.

The group welcomed policies including the visa waiver for Chinese tourists and plans to expand free trade agreements, but said the government’s plan to give away 560 billion baht ($15.05 billion) through digital wallets should be properly targeted.

“If it was given to target groups rather than giving it to every one, it would save money,” Sanan told reporters.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s signature policy is a 10,000 baht handout to all Thai nationals aged above 16 through a digital wallet to be spent in their communities.

($1 = 37.2200 baht)

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