BANGKOK: Thailand's economy could grow 3 per cent to 4 per cent this year, less than earlier forecast, following its biggest coronavirus outbreak yet, while the key interest rate should remain low to support domestic activity, the finance minister told Reuters on Thursday (Jan 21).
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy will be helped by government stimulus measures while the spread should be contained by March and the country would start giving vaccines next month, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said in an interview.
"If the outbreak is contained, the impact may not be much," he said. "Growth of 3 per cent to 4 per cent should be satisfactory," he added.
The economy is also expected to grow in the first quarter from a year earlier, Arkhom said.
On Tuesday, the government approved additional stimulus worth US$7 billion to ease the outbreak impact, which Arkhom said could lift growth by 0.5 to 0.6 percentage point this year.
The ministry in October forecast economic growth of 4.5 per cent in 2021 with exports up 6 per cent. It is due to give new projections next week.