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Economy still expanding, says BoT report

The report, “The Economic and Monetary Conditions for December and the fourth quarter of 2017”, said that merchandise exports and tourism sectors gained further traction, consistent with the continued improvement in external demand.

The continued expansion in external trade helped boost export-related manufacturing production. Private consumption continued to improve. However, private investment remained at the same level relative to last month, while public spending contracted particularly in capital spending.

On the stability front, headline inflation decelerated due mainly to the deceleration of energy and fresh food prices. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from last month. The current account posted a surplus as supported by improvements in export value and the tourism sector.

Details of the economic conditions are as follows:

The value of merchandise exports continued to expand in all major export destinations and most product groups, with growth of 9.3 per cent compared to the same period last year, or 10.0 per cent when excluding gold. The expansion was on the back of (1) continued improvement in external demand for products such as rice, rubber products, telecommunication equipments, electronic parts, and automotive and parts; (2) continued increase in crude oil price contributed to the increase in export of petroleum-related products; and (3) increase in exports from industries which recently expanded their production capacity such as hard disk drives (HDD).

Steady-improved export trends also contributed to the growth of export-related manufacturing production, especially automotive, rubber products and petrochemical products.

The number of foreign tourist arrivals registered a 15.5 per cent annual growth and continued to expand for almost all nationalities. In particular, the number of Chinese tourists substantially expanded, partly from the low-base effect from the government’s regulation on illegal tour operators in the same period last year.

An uptrend in the number of Russian tourists was also recorded, following the recovery of Russia’s economy. After seasonal adjustment, the number of foreign tourist arrivals increased by 3.2 per cent from the previous month, mainly from Chinese and Malaysian tourists.

Private consumption indicators expanded at a slower pace due to decelerated spending in the services sector. Meanwhile, spending on non-durable and semi-durable goods contracted, partly from the high base effect from last year’s government stimulus measures, particularly the tax deductions for spending on goods and services.

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