BOT says outbreak must be tackled or economy will suffer and re-opening will be postponed

Thailand’s economic growth in the first quarter will likely contract from the previous quarter and when compared to the same period last year due to the resurgence of local Covid-19 infections, said the central bank on Friday.

The economy has been in a tailspin since the end of last year due to the resurgence of Covid-19 and the country must take into account its impact, said Chayawadee Chai-Anant, Senior Director at the Economic and Policy Department.

The priority now was to tackle the outbreak including the recent clusters in Bangkok which will put pressure on gross domestic product growth, said Chayawadee.

There were many uncertainties ahead including Covid-19 vaccines efficiency and variants of the virus, she added.

In the worst-case scenario, Thailand would delay its reopening to 2022 due to the ongoing outbreak, said the Monetary Stability department. This would adversely impact the tourism sector and have a knock-on effect on the rest of the economy.

If the virus mutated so that the current vaccines do not work anymore and the global supply chain were to be disrupted, the bank said the country’s reopening could be delayed even further to 2023.

The latest GDP projection from the central bank in March is 3 per cent growth, down from 3.2 per cent in December.

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