Thailand GDP Grows at Faster Pace in 1Q

By Paul Jackson Features Dow Jones Newswires

Thailand's economy picked up speed in the first three months of 2017, supported by stronger domestic consumption and an improvement in exports.

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Gross domestic product expanded 3.3% from a year earlier in the first quarter, accelerating from the 3.0% pace of the previous quarter, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Thai government's economic planning arm.

Growth also came in faster than a 3.2% forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Economists had highlighted a likely improvement in consumer spending compared with a year earlier, especially on cars. Private consumption rose 3.2% in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.5% in the fourth quarter. Private consumption makes up just under half the Thai economy.

Exports of goods and services, fueled by tech demand and higher commodity prices, also helped support growth, expanding 2.7%, compared with a 1.1% gain in the last three months of 2016. But analysts question whether the gains in exports can continue over the coming quarters as a higher price factor diminishes and as the current tech cycle peaks.

Government spending was weaker than in the previous quarter and private investment continued to fall, sliding 1.1%, suggesting that firms are still cautious about the outlook.

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On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the acceleration in the Thai economy was sharper, with growth at 1.3%, compared with a revised 0.5% expansion in the third quarter. Again, the acceleration was faster than a 1.2% increase forecast by the economists.

Write to Paul Jackson at paul.jackson@wsj.com.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 14, 2017 23:20 ET (03:20 GMT)