Thai growth slows in third quar­ter

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

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. –

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