Export growth forecast raised to 10% by NESDB
FORECAST growth in exports has been raised to 10 per cent for this year by a government think tank, which is sticking with an estimate for national economic expansion of 4.2-4.7 per cent.
The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) drew encouragement from yet another strong showing for overseas shipments in the second quarter of this year.
The economy expanded 4.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year, benefiting from increased spending by the public and private sectors, Thosaporn Sirisumphand, secretary-general of NESDB, |said.
Total investment increased 3.6 per cent year on year and public investment expanded 4.9 per cent year on year in the second quarter. Exports, a key driver of the economy, climbed 12.3 per cent year on year for the quarter.
In the first half of this year, the economy expanded 4.8 per cent year on year.
While the NESDB kept its 2018 forecast for GDP growth unchanged, it raised its estimate for expansion in exports from an earlier view of 8.9 per cent, citing an improvement in the economies of the country’s trading partners.
Southern region boost
At a mobile Cabinet meeting to cover Ranong and Chumphon provinces today, Thosaporn said that two areas targeted for a Southern economic development plan will be Ranong-Chumphon |and Surat Thani-Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Ranong’s port will be a focus for development in the Ranong-Chumphon area for a trade linkage to India and Sri Lanka, while a double-track railway will be developed to link the area with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) on the hopes for the two provinces to become a logistics hub in the future, he said.
In regards to tourism, the Eastern side, the Gulf of Thailand from Petchburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan to Surat Thani’s Samui Island, and the Western side, covering the Andaman Sea with Phuket and Ranong, will be set for safer travel during the monsoon season.
In another area, covering Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, both provinces’ agricultural produces such as oil palm and fruit will be improved in quality and added value, as well as being processed into new products, Thosaporn said. A centre for academic excellence will be established with support from educational institutes.
He said that the Southern border provinces will still be a centre for Halal foods and the Sadao checkpoint will come under focus for more trade and investment.