BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy grew less than expected in the third quarter owing to still-weak exports, officials said Monday, as the government pushes a stimulus programme that includes cash handouts worth about $14 billion.
The kingdom has endured a period of sluggish growth, with investor confidence knocked despite a new government taking office and ending months of political uncertainty.
The National Economic and Social Development Council said gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent on-year in July-September, well off the 2.2 percent tipped by the NESDC and slower than the previous three months.
“The increase is lower due to the decline of exports, and the export figure has been lower in three consecutive quarters this year,” NESDC secretary-general Danucha Pichayanan said.
The council said it now expected the economy to grow at the low end of a forecast 2.5-3.0 percent this year. It expanded 1.9 percent in the first nine months.
However local consumption and investment were on a better footing, Danucha said.
New prime minister and former businessman Srettha Thavisin has promised a range of stimulus measures to spur the economy.
Among them is a plan to give everyone over 16 a handout of almost $300 in a bid to kickstart buying in the country.
He has also embarked on numerous foreign trips, seeking to attract much-needed fresh investment in the kingdom.
Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry had struggled to recover after the pandemic, but numbers are slowly rebounding.