Thai economy contracts 1.8 percent in first quarter, 1st shrinkage in 6 years

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2020 09:12 PM

Thai economy contracts 1.8 percent in first quarter, 1st shrinkage in 6 years 1
Supermarket workers wear protective face shields and masks at a shopping mall that is getting ready to reopen amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bangkok, Thailand May 14, 2020. Jorge Silva, Reuters

BANGKOK - Thailand's economy shrank 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Monday, marking the first contraction in six years.

The National Economic and Social Development Council said that COVID-19 dealt a severe blow to tourism, one of the main sources of the country's income.

Thosaporn Sirisumphand, the council's secretary general, said the economy could shrink by even more in the second quarter due to the effect of the lockdown imposed in March.

However, he added that the situation is expected to recover in the third quarter as some businesses have already reopened.

The state planning agency projected 2020 gross domestic product to contract 5.0 to 6.0 percent, down from its earlier forecast of 1.5 to 2.5 percent growth.

It also revised growth in the last quarter of 2019 to 1.5 percent on the year, down from the 1.6 percent announced in February.

Meanwhile, the country's health authorities on Monday reported three new confirmed COVID-19 infections and no new deaths, bringing the national tally to 3,031 cases including 56 fatalities.