Thai economy expands more than forecast in Q4 on government stimulus

A man buys peanuts from a food vendor on a sidewalk in Bangkok, Thailand, on Feb 1, 2016.
A man buys peanuts from a food vendor on a sidewalk in Bangkok, Thailand, on Feb 1, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Thailand's economy grew more than analysts estimated in the fourth quarter as the military government's series of stimulus measures started to bear fruit.

Gross domestic product expanded 2.8 per cent in the three months through December from a year earlier, the National Economic and Social Development Board said on Monday (Feb 15). That compares with the 2.6 per cent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 22 analysts. GDP climbed 2.8 per cent in 2015, more than the median forecast of 2.7 per cent in a separate survey.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has accelerated budget spending to help everyone from farmers to small businesses, in an effort to boost local demand amid falling exports. Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said last week monetary policy remains accommodative to assist the recovery.

"The economy continues to be supported by public sector spending," Mr Gundy Cahyadi, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd in Singapore, said before the data release. "That the government is supporting the economy is good news. But it underscores the sluggishness of private demand."

The central bank on Feb 3 kept its policy interest rate unchanged for a sixth straight meeting.