World Bank lowers Thai growth forecast
The World Bank has downgraded its economic growth forecast for Thailand this year to 1% from its earlier forecast of 2.2%, said its senior economist for Thailand Kiatipong Ariyapruchya.
He added that the Thai economy is now expected to return to its pre-pandemic level in 2023, later than the previous forecast of 2022.
The tourism sector is unlikely to recover this year and is expected to see around 160,000 foreign tourists before rising to 1.7 million next year, when the economy is forecast to grow 3.6%, Mr Kiatipong said in the bank’s online East Asia and Pacific economic update briefing yesterday.
According to the World Bank, the East Asia and Pacific region’s recovery has been undermined by the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant, prolonging the distress for firms and households, slowing economic growth and increasing inequality.
Economic activity began to slow down in the second quarter of this year, and growth forecasts have been downgraded for most countries in the region, according to the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Fall 2021 Economic Update.
While China’s economy is projected to expand by 8.5%, the rest of the region is forecast to grow at 2.5%, nearly 2 percentage points less than the forecast made in April 2021.
Employment rates and workforce participation have dropped, and as many as 24 million people will not be able to escape poverty in 2021.
The report estimates that most countries in the region, including Indonesia and the Philippines, will be able to vaccinate more than 60% of their populations by the first half of 2022. While that would not eliminate infections, it would significantly reduce mortality, allowing a resumption of economic activity.
However, the region will need to make a serious effort on four fronts to deal with long Covid: addressing vaccine hesitancy and limitations in distribution capacity to prevent plateauing coverage; enhancing testing, tracing and isolation to control infections; increasing regional production of vaccines to reduce dependence on imported supplies; and strengthening health systems to deal with the prolonged presence of the disease.