The Thai economy in the third quarter of 2018 expanded 3.3 percent YoY, which is the lowest recorded growth rate of this year and also lower than the market expectation of 4.1-percent growth due mainly to external economic factors. Meanwhile, there were positive signals in domestic consumption, including household spending and private investment.
KResearch estimates that the Thai economy over the remainder of this year may resume growth of not lower than 4.0 percent with the help of economic stimulus measures, both ongoing and now under consideration. The measures that are now in effect are those aimed at providing assistance for low-income earners and farmers. Furthermore, exports and tourism that had seen their growth momentum interrupted somewhat during the third quarter will likely be stronger although not as active as in the first half-year. Our initial estimation is that full-year growth may be somewhere around the lower level of our forecast range of 4.3-4.8 percent.
Thailand's reliance on external economic factors has become more volatile to the point that it will become a serious challenge for the Thai economy in 2019. However, the general election scheduled for next year is expected to create a more positive investment environment, while the EEC infrastructure projects for which the bidding will be completed early next year will inject large funding into the economic system in the latter half of 2019.