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Thailand holds 2023 GDP growth outlook on tourism rebound

Reuters/Chalinee Thirasupa
Headline inflation returned to the central bank's target range of one to three percent for the second month in a row

Thailand’s finance ministry on Friday maintained its economic growth outlook for 2023 at 3.8 percent, helped by a rebound in tourism and domestic demand, but an official said exports would slow down this year.

For 2022, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is expected to have expanded three percent, down from a previous forecast of 3.4 percent, as exports, public investment and private consumption slowed, Pornchai Thiraveja, head of the ministry’s fiscal policy office, told a briefing.

Official gross domestic product (GDP) figures for 2022 are due to be released next month. In 2021, GDP grew 1.5 percent, among the lowest rates in the region.

Thailand’s economic recovery has lagged that of other Southeast Asian nations, with the crucial tourism sector just starting to pick up last year with 11.15 million foreign arrivals.

Thailand is expected to receive 27.5 million foreign arrivals this year, up from 21.5 million projected earlier, helped by China’s reopening, Pornchai said.

In pre-pandemic 2019, there were nearly 40 million foreign tourists who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($58.07 billion).