A supermarket in Thailand (Source: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has raised its forecast of Thailand’s economic growth this year to 4.6 percent from an earlier estimate of 4.5 percent after improved export, tourism and crop prices.

It also expects the 40-billion THB spending in the 2019 general elections to spur the economy, according to the Nation. 

Thanavath Phonvichai, Director of UTCC’s Centre for Business and Economic Forecasting, said export and tourism have continued to expand from early this year thanks to a boost in global economy and an increase in the prices of several farm produce, particularly paddy rice, sugar cane and corn. 

Private investment is also showing signs of recovery and public spending has increased, he said. 

According to the UTCC forecast, Thai exports will grow by 8.7 percent and imports will rise by 12.6 percent. The country’s current account is expected to have a surplus of 34.6 billion USD. Headline inflation is predicted at 1.2 percent, while the currency is expected to hover at 31.50 to 33.50 THB per USD.

However, the US-China trade war is predicted to present some risks, along with rising interest rates, emerging markets’ currency crises and local disasters. 

The centre has urged the central bank to maintain the policy rate at 1.5 percent this year as it is sufficient to stimulate the economy.

The Thai economy is projected to grow by 4.5 percent next year.

Earlier, Kasikorn Research Centre revised up its projection for the 2018 economic growth to 4.5 percent from a previous prediction of 4 percent due mainly to expansion in export, tourism, domestic spending.

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Centre and TMB Analytics also delivered similar projections.

Meanwhile, the Fiscal Policy Office anticipated growth at over 4.8 percent in light of higher farm produce prices.-VNA