Think tank cuts Thailand’s 2021 growth forecast as COVID-19 infections surge


Thailand’s Kasikorn Research Center, a think tank, has lowered its forecast for the country’s economic growth this year to 1 percent from a previous estimate of 1.8 percent as a prolonged wave of the outbreak dampened growth outlook.

Due to limitations of the Thai public health system, more stringent COVID-19 containment measures have been implemented, which would further affect the business sector and employment and in turn the purchasing power and confidence of consumers, the research center said.

The emergence of new COVID-19 variants and rapid increases in infections in many countries, including Thailand, have led the research center to cut its 2021 forecast for the number of international tourist arrivals to between 250,000 and 650,000, from a prior projection of up to 1.2 million.

On Monday, Thailand reported 15,376 new COVID-19 cases, a record daily tally for the second day in a row, taking the total number of infections to 512,678. Cumulative deaths rose to 4,146, up by 87 during the last 24 hours.

The worsening situation has been overwhelming the country’s medical system and prompted the government to tighten restrictions, including the closure of shopping centers, a night-time curfew and curbing travels in worst-hit regions.

If the pandemic persists, the research center expected the Thai government to introduce additional relief measures to boost economic growth.

The research center said the global economy is set to recover faster than expected, which would lift Thailand’s exports. It projected the country’s exports to grow 11.5 percent from one year earlier in 2021.

Thailand’s economy plunged 6.1 percent year on year in 2020, its worst performance in more than two decades.