The Bank of Thailand (BOT) said this week that it is possible the Thai economy might grow less than 2.0 per cent this year as a result of the tourism sector being so badly hit by the outbreak of COVID-19, as the new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan is now known.
Don Nakornthab, senior director of the BOT’s Economic and Policy Department, expressed the view that the COVID-19 outbreak could see Bt250 billion being wiped from Thailand’s revenue from the tourism sector, based on the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ estimate of a drop of 5 million foreign tourists to Thailand.
If the COVID-19 outbreak is more severe than expected, this year’s Thai gross domestic product (GDP) growth may not reach 2.0 per cent, possibly achieving 1.5 per cent, he said. In the first quarter of this year, Thailand may see economic growth of below 1.0 per cent.
The central bank now forecasts the country’s GDP growth at 2.8 per cent this year.
The Office of Industrial Economics also expects economic growth of 2.8 per cent this year, while the World Bank estimates growth at 2.5 per cent. Kasikorn Research Centre projects at 2.7 per cent and KrungthaiCompass 2.1 per cent.
Apart from the spread of the virus, Thailand has also suffered from drought and a delayed 2020 budget bill.