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Thailand’s January Exports Buoy Gradual Economic Recovery

Thailand’s economy continued its gradual pace of recovery in January, with public expenditure and export growth strengthening but weakness in other indicators, according to the monthly report from the Bank of Thailand.

The Thai central bank said Tuesday that the country’s private consumption index rose 1.3% in January from a year earlier but slipped 1.5% from the previous month.

“Private consumption weakened after the expiry of government stimulus packages at the end of last year, reflecting that an earlier acceleration of private spending was partly an intertemporal shift in consumption especially for consumer goods,” the central bank said in a statement.

At the same time, the Thai private investment index fell 1.4% year-over-year and 0.2% month-over-month in January, the bank’s report showed.

On a more positive note, the country registered a trade surplus of $1.89 billion in January, as exports grew 8.5% and imports expanded 11.3%.

The bank said the growth in exports was consistent with a continued expansion in the production of several export-related products, as the Manufacturing Production Index edged up 1.3% in January from last year.

Also, Thailand enjoyed another month of current account surplus, posting a $5.0 billion surplus in January.

The tourism industry, which accounts for more than 10% of gross domestic product, continued to recover. In January, the number of foreign arrivals totaled 3.19 million, up 6.5% from a year earlier and a 6.9% from the preceding month.

“Chinese tourist [arrivals] reverted to positive-growth territory… partly thanks to measures on concession and exemption of visa fees and the Chinese New Year this year,” said the central bank.

Overall, local economic recovery has remained on a steady path, with the main growth drivers being government expenditure and exports, the Bank of Thailand said.

“Government spending continued to expand and be a key engine of growth,” the central bank said. “Current spending expanded, especially education spending whose disbursement was partly delayed from the previous month. Capital spending grew at a slower pace than last month after having accelerated previously.”
Source: Dow Jones

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