Thai economy seen growing 4% next year, says Finance Minister

BANGKOK, Dec 21 (Reuters): Thailand's economy is expected to expand 4% in 2022 after only 1% growth predicted for this year, helped by domestic consumption and exports, the finance minister said on Tuesday.

Public spending will remain a key driver of growth next year, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a news conference. The ministry planned to sell 30 billion baht ($891 million) of government savings bonds in January, he added.

Meanwhile, Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved another package of measures to boost consumption and support an economy still struggling with the collapse of its vital tourism sector.

The measures include a tax deduction of 30,000 baht ($889) for shoppers, an extension of the existing co-payment scheme and a cut in property transfer fees, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana told a news conference after the meeting.

On another note, domestic car sales in Thailand fell 3.2% in November from a year after a 13% fall in the previous month, thanks to the country's broader reopening and government support measures, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said on Tuesday.

The South-East Asian country reopened to more vaccinated foreign visitors last month following an easing of coronavirus restrictions.

In November, car sales were 71,716 vehicles, the highest in eight months, and 668,520 cars in January-November. The FTI expects its full-year sales target of 750,000 to be achieved.

In 2022, the FTI forecast domestic sales of 800,000 to 850,000 cars, and car exports of 900,000 to 950,000 units.

"But we also have to look at the Covid-19 situation and how severe a microchip shortage will be," Surapong Paisitpattanapong, a spokesperson for FTI's automotive industry division told a briefing.

Thailand is a regional vehicle production and export base for the world's top carmakers, including Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi. The industry accounts for about 10% of Thailand's gross domestic product and manufacturing jobs.

In November, car exports jumped 32.6% to 98,829 units, also the highest in eight months, having benefited from a global recovery, Surapong said.

Car exports in January-November were 857,887, already exceeding a target of 850,000 cars, he added. - Reuters

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Thailand , Economy , Rising , Expected , Better , 2022


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