Thailand trims GDP forecasts for 2021/22 as COVID hits tourism earnings

June 30, 2021

BANGKOK -- The Bank of Thailand, Thailand's central bank, is now forecasting 2021 and 2022 GDP growth at 1.8% and 3.9% respectively, compared with 3% and 4.7%

previously, crystallising its earlier warning that shortfalls in tourist arrivals and vaccinations could depress GDP growth.

The top range of the previous forecasts had assumed 100 million vaccine doses by end-2021, with 1.2 million visitors in 2021 and 15 milllion in 2022. The bottom end of the forecasts had assumed 65 million vaccine doses by end2021, with 0.8 million visitors in 2021 and 8 million in 2022.

In a research paper commenting on the bank's latest forecast, ANZ Bank said the Bank of Thailand had not provided any updated assumptions on vaccinations but had lowered its estimates of visitor arrivals to 0.7 million in 2021 Visitors in 2022 were estimated at 8 million.

ANZ said the Bank of Thailand's 2021 export forecast had been upgraded to 17.1% from 10% previously. ANZ said Thailand's current account was forecast to record a deficit of USD1.5 billlion "presumably on the back of depressed tourism earnings and higher commodity prices".

"Nonetheless," it said, "considering that the deficit was already at USD3.84 billion in the first four months of the year, the odds are for an improvement in the second half.  (ATI).