Top Thai business groups see GDP growth of up to 3%

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    BANGKOK- Leading business associations in Thailand on Wednesday projected an economic growth of 2.5 percent-3.0 percent this year, as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy faces a global slowdown and volatile exchange rates amid heightened Iran-US tensions.

    Exports, a key driver of growth in Thailand, may not post an increase or could even contract as much as 2 percent this year, according to a joint statement of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Bankers’ Association, and the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade of Thailand.

    “In 2020, the economy still faces several negative factors, such as a global slowdown, with tensions in the Middle East and severe drought adding to the pressure,” Kalin Sarasin, president of the joint business group, told reporters.

    The group is asking the government to speed up spending and prepare measures to tackle drought and to ensure moves in the baht will not affect trade competitiveness, Kalin said.

    For 2019, the group predicted gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 2.5 percent, which would be the weakest in five years, rather than expand 2.7 percent-3.0 percent seen earlier.

    Thailand’s official GDP data for 2019 is due on Feb. 17. – Reuters