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Thailand's Economy Expands Most In 5 Years


Thailand's economy expanded at the fastest pace in five years in the first quarter on exports, consumption and investment, the National Economic and Social Development Board said Monday.

Gross domestic product grew 4.8 percent year-on-year, faster than the 4 percent growth seen in the fourth quarter of 2017. This was the fastest expansion logged since the first quarter of 2013, when GDP advanced 5.4 percent. The annual rate was forecast to remain unchanged at 4 percent.

On a quarterly basis, GDP growth improved to 2 percent from 0.5 percent a quarter ago.

The NESDB said the faster growth was driven mainly by a slight acceleration of private consumption expenditure and a favorable expansion of external demand in addition to a recovery of both private and public investment.

Private consumption climbed 3.6 percent after rising 3.4 percent. Similarly, growth in government spending moved up to 1.9 percent from 0.2 percent.

Gross fixed capital formation advanced 3.4 percent versus 0.3 percent rise in the fourth quarter.

For the external sector, exports and imports of goods and services rose 6 percent and 9 percent respectively.

The government raised its growth projection to 4.2-4.7 percent for 2018, citing support from exports, consumption and investment.

Krystal Tan, an economist at Capital Economics, said the main risk to the outlook is the uncertain political situation.

Headline inflation is seen in the range of 0.7-1.7 percent this year and the current account surplus at around 8.4 percent of GDP.

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