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Growth screeches to halt in Q3, worst since 2014

Growth screeches to halt in Q3, worst since 2014

The country’s economy surprisingly stalled in the third quarter, as exports and tourism softened, and the state planning agency showed less optimism on growth for all of 2018.

Gross domestic product showed no growth in the third quarter from the second, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said.

That was the worst result since the first quarter of 2014, when the economy shrank 0.4%, and compared with a Reuters poll forecast of 0.6% growth. All the economists polled expected some growth.

On an annual basis, third-quarter expansion was 3.3%, compared with the poll’s 4.2% projection, and the second quarter’s 4.6%.

The planning agency on Monday downgraded its 2018 GDP growth forecast to 4.2% instead of the previous 4.2-4.7% range. It now expects exports to rise 7.2% this year, rather than 10.0%.

For 2019, it expects GDP growth of 3.5-4.5%.

Capital Economics said Thai growth “is unlikely to rebound much over the coming year.” Its forecast for 2019 is 3.5%.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which is heavily reliant on external demand, earlier this year saw a pick-up in growth, although exports have slowed and tourism took a hit after a boat accident in July killed 47 Chinese visitors.