World Bank raises GDP forecast to 4.1 percent
The World Bank expects the Thai economy to grow 4.1 percent this year, reaching 4 percent for the first time since 2012, raising it from the 3.6 percent it predicted for 2018 last year. The World Bank cited rapid export growth and structural reforms as the main drivers behind the changed prediction. The Asian Development Bank predicts the GDP for 2018 to reach 4 percent this year and 4.1 percent next year due to increasing public and private investment and rising domestic consumption. Public investment should reach 900 bill baht in 2018 as the government implements major infrastructure projects including double-track railways, extending mass rapid transit lines and expanding highways with most of the big ticket projects implemented this year and next year. Last month the Bank of Thailand raised its prediction to 4.1 percent from 3.9 percent and the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) raised its growth forecast to 4.2 percent in January, up from its earlier predicted rate of 3.8 percent.
The director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce reported that their latest survey of Thai consumer behavior found that 81.5 percent plan to spend more than last year during this Songkran holiday and expected spending is predicted to reach a 13 year high of over 132 billion baht, a 3.5 percent rise from last year. Domestic tourism alone will contribute to almost 4 billion baht while foreign tourism will generate as much as 76.84 billion baht, an 11% increase; mainly from Japanese, Korean and Chinese visitors. The director cited the longer holiday period which is allowing for people to travel and spend more.
Selling prices for new condos on the outskirts of Bangkok in areas serviced by BTS lines grew faster than in Bangkok in the first quarter, in part due to a drop in supply of condo supply. Selling prices for new condos grew 7.6 percent in Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, the first time they outstripped Bangkok, which saw 6.7 percent growth in selling prices, since the Real Estate Information Center started reporting in 2012. Prices for new houses also grew faster in the provinces than in Bangkok, up 3.9 percent while new house prices in Bangkok grew 3.3 percent. The Southern Extension of the BTS Line past Bearing Station is expected to be fully opened by the end of the year.