Thailand’s economic growth quickens in Q1 as tourism rebounds

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Thailand’s economy expanded faster than expected in the first quarter, official data showed on Monday, helped by a rebound in private consumption and tourism. Thailand’s state planning agency reiterated its economic growth outlook for 2023, as the country waits for the formation of a new government after the opposition secured a stunning election victory on Sunday.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew 2.7% in the January-March period from a year earlier, data from the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) showed. On a quarterly basis, GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in the March quarter, versus a forecast of 1.7%.

That compared with a 1.1% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2022, which was revised from a 1.5% drop. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected gross domestic product (GDP) to expand 2.3% year-on-year in January-March after increasing 1.4% in the previous three months.

The NESDC kept its 2023 GDP growth forecast unchanged at between 2.7% and 3.7%. Last year’s growth was 2.6%. It also kept its forecast for 2023 foreign tourist arrivals at 28 million. Tourism typically accounts for 11-12% of GDP.

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