Business group cuts economic growth projection amid third Covid wave

Thailand’s private sector cut the country’s economic growth projection on Wednesday due to the severe fallout from the latest Covid-19 pandemic beyond expected, pinning hopes on the mass inoculation programme.

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) adjusted its estimate of the gross domestic product growth this year to a range of 0.5-2 per cent, down from the earlier estimate of 1.5-3 per cent.

“The Thai economy is facing significant risks from the latest Covid-19 widespread infections which has impacted public spending, even though global economic recovery is set to benefit exports,” said the industry chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree.

The JSCCIB revised up its 2021 exports outlook to grow 5-7 per cent from 4-6 per cent.

“From now until the fourth quarter, it will be a difficult time for the private sector if the outbreak is still uncontrollable,” Supant warned. Plans to speed up Covid-19 vaccines distribution were the only way to revive the economy, he said.

A clear vaccine policy coupled with encouraging people to get the shots will be key for the country to achieve herd immunity, he added.

The JSCCIB urged the government to launch economic stimulus quickly in June to mitigate household burdens, especially for those working in the tourism sector.

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