BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy has not been good for a long time, with growth deteriorating as it faces structural problems, the finance minister said on Wednesday (Jul 10).

The government was working to lift economic growth to 3 per cent this year from current projections of about 2.5 per cent, Pichai Chunhavajira told a business seminar, adding growth was low compared with rates of close to 6 per cent in the past.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy expanded 1.9 per cent last year, lagging regional peers, as it faced weak exports and high household debt and borrowing costs. Average economic growth was 1.73 per cent over the past decade.

Pichai said tourism would help drive the economy, as at least 35 million foreign tourist arrivals were expected this year. In 2019, before the pandemic, there was a record of nearly 40 million visitors.

He also said current household debt at more than 90 per cent of gross domestic product needed to be urgently tackled amid rising bad loans.

Pichai said he was hoping the central bank would relax loan-to-value regulations for mortgages to support the property sector.


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