Thailand’s economy may expand less than 2% in 2020 and also a high chance for Thai exports to contract, mainly from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, said Senior Director of the Economic and Policy Department of the Bank of Thailand, Don Nakornthab in a business seminar.
Mr. Don expects the first quarter in 2020 to be the weakest of the year to the point that economic growth could be lower than 1% as Thailand’s lucrative sector, tourism, has been affected by fear over COVID-19.
The tourism ministry expects a missing of 5% from tourist arrivals this year which will result in a loss of 250 billion baht, representing 1.5% of Thailand’s GDP.
Citing from the data, Mr. Don asserts that Thailand had 39.8 million tourists in 2019 in which nearly 11 million were Chinese while tourist spending contributed for 11% of GDP.
Thai exports have been forecast to grow 0.5% this year, but due to COVID-19 that stalls shipments to China, the forecast is now turning to contract.
Earlier, the Bank of Thailand forecasted an economic growth by 2.8% this year, but would revise down the forecast as it would be missed. The review for economic projection would be next month. Meanwhile, the annual growth for 2019 is due on Monday, but is estimated to grow between 2.0-2.2%.