Thailand’s Fourth-Quarter GDP Contracts 4.2% Y/Y, Less Than Expected

FILE PHOTO: People visit shopping center to celebrate New Year Eve during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

BANGKOK ⸺ Thailand’s economy shrank less than expected in the final quarter of the year as domestic activity and exports recovered after coronavirus curbs were eased, but a travel ban imposed since April has kept most foreign visitors away.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy contracted 4.2% in the December quarter from a year earlier, data from the National Economic and Social Development Council showed on Monday, versus a forecast 5.4% drop in a Reuters poll.

On a quarterly basis, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in the December quarter, better than the 0.8% growth forecast by economists.

In July-September, GDP declined 6.4% from a year earlier but grew a revised 6.2% against the prior quarter.

In 2020, the economy contracted 6.1%, the sharpest fall since 1998, and compared with analysts’ forecast of a 6.4% drop.

The agency now predicts GDP will expand 2.5-3.5% this year, having previously forecast growth of 3.5-4.5%, after a fresh COVID-19 outbreak hit the economy in December.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Kitiphong Thaichareon and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Jacqueline Wong; Reuters

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