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Thailand’s Finance Ministry Expects 3.6% Economic Growth this Year



BANGKOK – Thailand’s Finance Ministry said on Thursday that the economy is expected to grow 3.6% this year, up from 3.2% last year, boosted by increased demand for Thai exports and government expenditure.

Spokesman Krisda Chinavicharana said exports were growing faster than expected due to the improving economies of trading partners.

Government spending continued to be a major driver of the economy, he said. The  government increased its fiscal expenditure by 190 billion baht in 2017, up from 2.73 trillion baht, and was investing in mega- infrastructure projects.

Private investment would gradually increase as interest rates remained low. Farmers were earning more money due to increases in global commodity prices and farm yields. Consequently private consumption was expanding, Mr Krisda said.

The economy remained stable, with headline inflation expected to run at 1.4% this year based on the increasing price of crude oil. The country should post a current account surplus of US$39 billion this year, equivalent to 9.2% of gross domestic product, he said.

Mr Krisda said risk factors included the economic situations of trading partners, fluctuations of money markets, uncertainty in the international economic policies of the United States, European politics, and international conflict.

Meanwhile, The Stock Exchange of Thailand main index went down 1.29 points, or 0.08%, to close at 1,566.18 points at the end of trading session this morning. The trade value was 14.35 billion baht, with 3.43 billion shares traded.

The SET50 index ended at 995.18 points, down 1.75 points, or 0.18%, with a total trade value of 7.14 billion baht.

The MAI index went up 2.18 points, or 0.38%, to close at 576.26 points, with total transaction value of 824.44 million baht.

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