Thailand: Ministry eyes steps to spur spending

The Finance Ministry is considering new measures to encourage spending in a bid to maintain the Thai economic recovery, according to Pornchai Thiraveja, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).

He said the ministry will consult the FPO on the possible measures soon. Mr Pornchai added that he expects other ministries to unveil their own measures to encourage consumer spending later this year.

Since 2020 the government has launched a number of packages to ease the burden of the pandemic, ranging from cash handouts to tax measures.

The FPO reviews its forecast of the economic outlook every three months, and the next round is due soon. According to its latest projection, the Thai economy is expected to expand by 3-3.5% this year, and by 4% in 2023.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast that the Thai economy will continue its post-pandemic recovery with expansion of 2.8% this year and 3.7% in 2023.

Last week Corinne Delechat, division chief in the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department and mission chief for Thailand, said that the IMF forecast of 2.8% Thai GDP growth in 2022 has been unchanged since July. Private consumption and tourist arrivals are expected to remain strong for the rest of the year, although external demand is expected to weaken.


The IMF’s Thai growth projection for 2023 has fallen by 0.3 percentage points to 3.7%, which Ms Delechat said was due to lower expectations for external demand from trading partners.

Mr Pornchai said that Thailand’s reopening and the return of foreign tourists have played a key role in reviving the economy. The country expects 8-10 million tourist arrivals this year, with higher numbers forecast for 2023.

He added that Thailand has sufficient fiscal space to handle global economic uncertainties if the world goes into recession next year.

As of August, Thailand’s public debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 60.7%, with a ceiling of 70%. The country’s GDP is currently at 16.9 trillion baht.