Thai finance ministry keeps 2022 GDP outlook despite Omicron

  • 2021 GDP growth seen at 1.2% vs 1.0% seen earlier
  • Tourist arrivals in 2021 beat forecast
  • Maintains 2022 forecast for GDP growth at 4%
  • Export outlook for 2022 trimmed
  • Ready to introduce measures to help recovery

BANGKOK, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Thailand’s finance ministry on Friday maintained its 2022 economic growth forecast at 4.0%, driven by a recovery in domestic spending and tourism, with COVID-19 outbreaks driven by the Omicron variant yet to have a significant impact.

The ministry still forecast the tourism-reliant country to receive 7 million foreign visitors this year, helped by the resumption of a quarantine waiver from Feb. 1, said Pornchai Theeravet, head of the ministry’s fiscal policy office.

“Despite Omicron, there have been widespread vaccinations while Omicron symptoms are mild. So, we are confident that the 7 million figure is appropriate,” he told a briefing.

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So far, about two-thirds of the 72 million people living in the Southeast Asian country have been vaccinated.

The 7 million tourists would be far short of the nearly 40 million visitors during 2019, but a substantial improvement on the 428,000 foreign arrivals in 2021.

That 2021 figure was more than double the number forecast, however, prompting the ministry to raise its 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) estimate to 1.2% growth from 1.0% seen earlier, Pornchai said.

Foreign tourist spending generally accounts for 12% of Thailand’s GDP.

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