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Thai economy improves in February as restrictions ease

Thai economy improves in February as restrictions ease

FILE PHOTO: Cargo ships are pictured near the port in Bangkok, Thailand, Mar 25, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

BANGKOK: Thailand's economy improved in February after a moderate slowdown the previous month, owing to an easing of coronavirus curbs and a resumption of a quarantine waiver for foreign tourists, the central bank said on Monday (Feb 28).

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is likely to push up inflation and cause global financial volatility but Thailand's external stability remains good, Chayawadee Chai-Anant, a senior Bank of Thailand (BOT) director, told a news conference.

The impact of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been within estimates, while the momentum of a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter could help the economy grow more than the 3.4 per cent earlier forecast for this year, she said.

The BOT will update its forecast at its policy meeting next month.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy expanded 1.6per cent last year, returning to growth in the final quarter of the year, after a 6.2 per cent contraction in 2020.

Thailand resumed its quarantine waiver this month after a brief suspension imposed amid uncertainty about the severity of the Omicron variant, which slowed economic activity in January.

In January, private consumption dropped 0.4 per cent from the previous month and private investment fell 0.7 per cent, the BOT said in a statement.

Exports, a key driver of growth, rose a much slower pace of 7.9per cent in January from a year earlier, with imports up 18.4per cent year-on-year, giving a trade surplus of $0.6 billion.

Thailand recorded a current account deficit of US$2.2 billion in January after a deficit of US$1.4 billion in December.

Source: Reuters/fh

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