UPDATE 2-Thai economy shrinks less than expected, 2021 outlook raised as tourism revival eyed

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* Q3 GDP -1.1% q/q sa vs -2.5% in a Businesshala poll

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* Q3 GDP -0.3% y/y vs -0.8% in turnout

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* Agency raises 2021 GDP growth outlook to 1.2% from 0.7-1.2%

* 2022 sees GDP growth at 3.5%-4.5% (comments from government official, adds context on stimulus)

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BANGKOK, Nov 15 (Businesshala) – Thailand’s economy contracted less than expected in the third quarter as businesses began a slow recovery from the coronavirus-driven slowdown in activity, while the reopening of the tourism sector raised hopes of a steady revival.

The government upgraded its economic growth outlook for this year to 1.2% from the previous forecast of a 0.7%-1.2% expansion, and forecast a growth of 3.5%-4.5% in 2022, with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and here Thanks for opening again. foreign travelers to restart their vital tourism industry.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy fell 6.1% last year.

The economy shrank by a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in the September quarter from the previous three months, data from the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) showed a Businesshala poll forecast a decline of 2.5%, and a revised seasonally Adjusted is 0.1%. June quarter growth.

From a year earlier, gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.3% in July-September, a lower decline than the forecast 0.8% decline, and against a revised 7.6% growth in April-June.

“We expect GDP to now rebound strongly in the last quarter, as cases fall, restrictions are lifted and vaccine rollouts pick up pace,” said Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics.

NESDC chief Danucha Pichainan told a news conference that economic indicators are pointing to an improvement in the situation and the government is looking at introducing more measures to boost consumption before the new year.

“If there are no more outbreaks, the fourth quarter will certainly be better than the third,” he said, adding that domestic consumption, public spending and tourism would drive growth in 2022.

Increased exports and fiscal measures helped limit the damage caused by the pandemic. NESDC expects exports to grow by 16.8% this year as against the 16.3% growth seen earlier. In 2022, it predicted 4.9% export growth.

Exports rose 15.7% in the third quarter from a year ago, but private consumption was hurt by COVID-19 restrictions and fell 3.2%.

The agency predicted 200,000 foreign tourists this year, compared to 150,000 seen earlier, and 5 million visitors the following year. There were 40 million foreign tourists in 2019.

With a fraction of foreign tourists compared to pre-pandemic levels, most analysts expect the economic recovery to be slow.

“After the fourth quarter, the prospects for recovery depend on how quickly the tourism sector recovers,” Capital Economics Leather said.

The government has introduced billions of dollars in relief measures to help revive the economy, while the central bank left its key rate at a record low of 0.50% since May 2020.

Takit Chartredsak, an economist at Asia Plus Securities, said interest rates are expected to remain unchanged through 2022 to support the economic recovery.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Kitifong Thicharon and Satavasin Staporncharnachai; Editing by Sri Navaratnam

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