July 31, 2020 / 9:34 AM / 10 days ago

Thailand second quarter economy likely shrank by record 12%-13% year-on-year: central bank

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s economy may have shrank by 12%-13% in the second quarter from a year earlier due to the impacts of the coronavirous pandemic, the central bank said on Friday, in what could be a record contraction.

However, the economy had improved in June from the previous month following the easing of a lockdown to curb the spread, which has battered tourism and domestic activity.

“The economy should have bottomed out. The second quarter probably shrank the deepest in history,” Don Nakornthab, a director at the Bank of Thailand (BOT), told a briefing.

“At this point, we still look at a double-digit contraction, possibly minus 12%-13%,” he said.

Thailand registered a record economic contraction of 12.5% in the second quarter of 1998, during the Asian financial crisis.

Don said official gross domestic product (GDP) data for April-June, which is due on Aug. 17, might be better than the BOT’s estimates given the latest improved economic indicators.

“If the actual data is better than expected, there is a chance that the BOT will revise up its estimates when it reviews them in September,” he said.

The BOT has forecast Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will contract by a record 8.1% this year.

In June, private consumption rose 6% from the previous month while investment increased 5.7%.

Exports, a key driver of growth, dropped 24.6% in June from a year earlier, after May’s 23.6% decline.

Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Ed Davies and Martin Petty

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