Thai growth slows in third quarter
THAILAND’S economic growth slowed in the third quarter with the nation plunged into mourning following the death of its long-serving King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
High household debt, weakening exports, slumping foreign investment and low consumer confidence have cramped growth in what for years was the region’s flagship economy.
A military junta seized power in 2014 vowing to end years of political instability and kickstart the lacklustre economy.
Thailand’s growth has since picked up slightly, mainly off the back of ramped-up government spending and tourist arrivals, but it remains comparatively low compared with its neighbours.
The National Economic and Social Development Board said yesterday the economy grew 3.2 percent on-year in July-September, missing estimates and also down from 3.5pc in the previous quarter.
Seasonally adjusted quarter-onquarter growth was 0.6pc, down from a revised 0.7pc in the three months prior.
King Bhumibol’s death on October 13 after a seven-decade reign has left politically divided Thailand without a rare pillar of unity.
The arch-royalist generals ordered an initial month-long mourning period where entertainment and festivities were halted or told to tone down. The official mourning period will last a full year.
Analysts said the king’s death would likely hit growth, particularly in the country’s entertainment sector, while political uncertainty remains an issue.
“Although calm has prevailed since the death of the king last month, the political situation remains highly uncertain, and this will continue to hang over the outlook for private investment,” Krystal Tan, at Capital Economics, said in a briefing note.
King Bhumibol’s named successor, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has yet to attain his father’s popularity or unifying status.
Thailand’s parliament, the body that proclaims any new king, is expected to meet at the beginning of December, raising expectations that Prince Vajiralongkorn’s proclamation is imminent. –