Holiday spending to rise as oil prices drop


BANGKOK: Festive spending is expected to increase this year from 2017, with a decline in oil prices helping raise the purchasing power of Thais during the New Year season, according to a university survey.

Thanavath Phonvichai, vice-president for research at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), said spending by Thais is forecast to grow 2.5% this year to B135.27 billion.

Of the total, Bangkok residents are expected to spend B62.2bn, with people in the provinces spending B73.1bn.

Some B97.1bn is projected to be spent on tourism, with B38.2bn set aside for goods purchases, parties and merit-making.

“Spending during the New Year period can help drive the country’s economic growth in the first quarter of next year,” Mr Thanavath said.

He said the university expects the long-awaited general election to boost economic growth next year, with an estimated B30-50bn to be circulated during the election.

The UTCC is maintaining an economic growth forecast of 4.2% this year, which could be the first time in six years that economic growth exceeds 4%.

Mr Thanavath said the university predicted that the economy will stay on course, with strong growth next year of 4.3-4.5%.

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) reported in November that the country’s GDP showed no growth in the third quarter from the second on a seasonally adjusted basis, after growing 0.9% in the second quarter and 2% in the first quarter.

On an annual basis, growth was 3.3% from July to September, easing from the second quarter’s 4.6% and revised 4.9% growth in the first quarter, the highest in five years.

For the first nine months, the economy grew by 4.3% over the same period last year.

Weak economic performance in the third quarter prompted the state planning agency to downgrade the 2018 GDP growth forecast to 4.2% from the previous 4.2-4.7% range. Exports are expected to rise 7.2% this year, rather than 10%.

For 2019, the NESDB expects GDP growth of 3.5-4.5%.

Mr Thanavath said risk factors that need a close watch include the deepening trade war between the US and China, the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes and the Brexit deal.

He also expressed concern about the possibility of farm prices dropping in line with global oil prices.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on December 26, 2018 by Bangkok Post

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