11 July 2024

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is confident that Thailand’s economy for the year 2018 would grow between 4-4.2 percent, citing several economic indicators which have shown sign of improvements.

In his address at the “Krungthai Next -Thailand Economic Challenges 2019” forum today, he said that the 2018 economic growth rate would depend on the economic performance of December, noting that if budget disbursements were smooth and timely, the growth rate could achieve 4.2 percent because of the recovery of tourism business in the fourth quarter and investments in the EEC zone have exceeded target.

However, he said the farm sector with falling prices of farm products was an area that both the commerce and agriculture ministries must work harder to improve the situation.

Looking into the future, Dr Somkid said that Thailand would face three challenges – the first being the uncertainty and gloomy outlook from factors which are beyond Thailand’s control but will anyhow have impacts on the country, citing the unpredictability of US President Donald Trump.

US policies under President Trump are unprecedented and for US interests only, said the deputy prime minister, adding that he could not judge whether the policies are right or wrong but they help improve the US economy, create more jobs and boost the growth rate.

The US-China trade war has substantial impacts on exports from Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong and disrupt global stock markets among others.

The second challenge is the high opportunities provided by the fact that Thailand has become the hub of investments from China and Japan, said Somkid, adding that if Thailand can draw up a master plan to link with CLMV, the entire region will stand to benefit although Thailand will face fierce competition from Vietnam and Malaysia.

Domestically, he said Thailand must adapt itself, implementing reforms and utilizing technologies in all sectors of the society.

The last challenge is the election and political uncertainty.  He said that it is about time for all political stakeholders to stop fighting among themselves and to join forces for the good of the country.

He said if politicians cannot think by themselves about what is good for the country, they should better not become politicians in the first place.