S&P keeps Thailand’s BBB+ rating
The government has welcomed the decision by Standard & Poor (S&P) Global Ratings to maintain Thailand’s sovereign credit rating at BBB+ and rate the kingdom’s economy as having a stable outlook.
Published on Monday, the positive credit rating and economic outlook were awarded to Thailand for its strong finance and foreign currency parameters, despite the global economic doldrums caused by Covid-19.
S&P expects the economy will grow 1.1% this year and a further 3.6% annually until 2024, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, citing the report.
Thailand retains strong public finance despite a budget deficit caused by the government’s decision to incur more public debt in order to finance its pandemic relief and economic revival policies, he said.
Continuous growth over the next three years is projected by taking into account gradual improvements in export and tourism sectors, while the country is taking measures to contain the outbreak and successfully roll out a mass vaccination programme, he added.
The economy is expected to return to its pre-pandemic state by 2023, thanks to the government’s continuous support to investors and progress in its national reform strategies. These include the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor scheme and various transport infrastructure projects, the spokesman said.
The country’s external finance is also viewed in the S&P report as being strong, given its positive current account balance and foreign reserves and good external liquidity, he noted.
“The economic outlook of Thailand by S&P has reflected the truth that the Prayut Chano-cha government is now on the right track in its efforts to revive the economy and boost confidence among local and foreign investors about the future of Thailand’s economy,” he said.
S&P expects Thailand to be able to raise revenues and lower budget deficits later when its economy has recovered from the pandemic, said Patricia Mongkhonvanit, director-general of the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO).
Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, meanwhile, said the government looks set to achieve 5% economic growth next year.
Local consumption propelled by economic stimulus plans including the co-payment project and Rao Thiew Duay Kan tourism promotion programme will, along with ongoing transport infrastructure projects, contribute greatly to growth, he said.
Construction of a double-track train project to connect key provinces with Laos is expected to conclude within two and a half years, he added.
Meanwhile, confidence among foreign investors is returning, given the volume of investment privileges requested, he said. Even though these privileges take time to bear fruit, the increasing requests bode well for the future, he added.
Consumers are also more upbeat and less hesitant to spend, he noted.