Thailand’s economic growth slowed down in the third quarter compared to that in the previous quarter, indicating that the weak global demand continues to affect the country’s economy.
The data published Monday by the National Statistical Office of Thailand show that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy, grew 3 percent in the quarter ending Sept. 30 compared to that in the same period last year, down from the 4.4 percent growth in the second quarter.
This report comes after the Bank of Thailand (BoT) cut its policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent. Considering that Thailand’s export-led growth model has been affected by the persisting struggle of the global economy, it can be expected that the BoT will further cut the policy rate by 2013. Inflation is unlikely to be an obstacle for the central bank to ease policy further.
The accompanying statement underlines that downside risks to the global economy remained a key concern for Thailand’s central bank. While the recent policy easing in the major economies had supported the financial markets, the BoT viewed the global economic outlook as remaining weak. The central bank cited the possibility of China’s economy slowing further, the U.S. falling off its fiscal cliff and an escalation in the euro zone crisis as all being significant downside risks for Thailand and the rest of emerging Asia.
Meanwhile, the government and the central bank are driving aggressive measures to push consumption and investment growth including extending the rice pledging scheme and the first home owner scheme.
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“Going forward, the implementation of infrastructure plans will be critical as this would directly translate into a surge in public investment. For private investment, the post-flood period has been a boon and the cut in corporate taxes have also helped incentivize capital spending,” DBS Bank Ltd said in a note.
Market participants hope that Thailand’s economy could pick up if China’s growth recovers over the coming quarters and a deal in the U.S. is struck by the congressional leaders to avoid harsh spending cutbacks there.