Money briefs: Thai economic growth picks up pace in 2015

Thai economic growth picks up pace in 2015

BANGKOK • Thailand's economic growth accelerated last year, official figures showed yesterday, after the junta boosted spending to pump up an economy that had wilted amid years of political turmoil.

High household debt, weakening exports, slumping foreign investment and low consumer confidence have stunted growth in what had been South-east Asia's flagship economy for years.

The ruling military has tried to spend its way out of the malaise, especially on farmers who have been hit by slumping global commodity prices and who now face severe drought.

As a result, gross domestic product rose 2.8 per cent last year, according to data from the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, rebounding from 0.8 per cent in 2014, its slowest rate in three years. While state spending will likely continue, analysts have cooled expectations for this year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


Indonesia posts small January trade surplus

JAKARTA • Indonesia posted a small trade surplus last month, confounding expectations for a third monthly deficit, due largely to a slump in imports from persistently weak domestic consumption.

Sliding prices for oil, gas and other commodities have led to a sharp fall in export earnings for South-east Asia's largest economy, and deteriorating global demand could push the central bank to cut rates this week, some economists said.

Exports plunged 20.72 per cent last month to US$10.50 billion (S$14.7 billion), the weakest shipment by value since September 2009 and the 16th straight month of decline. Economists surveyed had expected a 15.40 per cent drop.

Imports fell 17.15 per cent, sharper than economists' estimates of 8.14 per cent, data from the statistics bureau showed. The bureau said imports of raw material and capital goods were down, but consumer goods imports rose.

The government is targeting 5.3 per cent GDP growth this year after the economy grew at its slowest pace since the 2009 financial crisis last year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline 'Money briefs: Thai economic growth picks up pace in 2015'. Print Edition | Subscribe