Thailand’s economy should expand by 8 percent in 2004,
a sharp jump from the 6 percent growth expected this year, Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra said on Monday, September 15th. Thaksin’s upbeat
forecast follows a series of bullish revisions for this year’s growth in
gross domestic product as quarterly economic statistics have been rosier
“We grew 6.2 percent in the first half of the year and
we won’t have any problem to get around 6 percent in the second half,”
Thaksin said. “This will bring economic growth for the whole year to over
6 percent.” He expects the growth momentum to carry into 2004.
“We will make it 8 percent next year,” Thaksin said.
GDP grew a higher-than-expected 5.8 percent year-on-year
in the second quarter of 2003 as rising private investment and strong
exports offset declining tourism revenue and a slight slowdown in consumer
demand due to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the
National Economic and Social Development Board announced earlier Monday.
NESDB, Thailand’s state planning body, raised its 2003
GDP growth forecast to 5.8 percent to 6.2 percent - from 4.5 percent to 5.5
percent previously - citing stronger-than-forecast growth of 6.2 percent in
the first half of the year. Economists had projected full-year growth of 5.7
NESDB also expressed some concerns for next year with
regard to U.S. economic growth and the possible revaluation of the Chinese
yuan. But Thaksin said the Thai economy is largely driven by domestic
factors, so external elements shouldn’t significantly obstruct growth.
“We have a dual-track policy and we already rely a lot on ourselves,” he