The Thai economy recorded 3.2 percent growth in 2016, close to our KResearch estimate. Exports gained momentum and, once again, became a major contributor to Thailand's GDP growth amid slowing tourism. Rising state enterprise disbursements brought an upturn to public investment. And although government stimuli helped buoy household spending, last year's high base has narrowed growth down.
During 1Q17, we believe that the economy will continue to expand close to 4Q16's performance at 3.0 percent growth YoY, thanks to exports which should continue to perform well. In addition, other than tourism and public spending, exports will likely have a pivotal role in keeping the economy going after current state stimuli expire, which might cause private spending to become lethargic, while private investment hasn't recovered fully.
We at KResearch are keeping our GDP growth estimate unchanged at 3.3 percent for 2017. This, however, is subject to the actual disbursements of 2017 mid-year budget; if this goes as planned, chances are that the Thai economy will grow close to the upper end of our 3.0-3.6 percent estimate. External risk factors must be monitored, of course.