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Thai finance ministry keeps 2017 GDP growth outlook at 3.6%

Thai finance ministry keeps 2017 GDP growth outlook at 3.6%

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 3.6 percent this year as forecast earlier, although exports are likely to increase more than expected, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry now expects exports to increase 4.7 percent, up from 3.3 percent projected in April, despite a strong baht, Krisada Chinavicharana, head of the ministry’s fiscal policy office, told a news conference.

The economy will be driven by exports and government spending, while private investment in the construction sector is likely to slow down, he said.

Second-quarter economic growth was estimated at 3.4-3.5 percent, he said, after 3.3 percent growth in the first quarter.

The military government has ramped up spending and investment in a bid to lift growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which still lags those of regional peers.

Earlier this month, the central bank raised its 2017 economic growth forecast to 3.5 percent from 3.4 percent, with exports up 5.0 percent, rather than up 2.2 projected earlier.

In 2016, the economy expanded 3.2 percent.