Thailand’s economy posted the strongest growth in five years in 2017. (Photo: The Straits Times)

Bangkok (VNA)
– Thailand’s economy posted the strongest growth in five years in 2017 and is expected to maintain the outlook this year, driven robust exports and tourism.

Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew an inflation-adjusted 3.9 percent in 2017, up from 3.3 percent from the previous year, marking its fastest expansion since 2012, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

The economy looks set to grow faster this year with GDP forecast to expand by 3.6-4.6 percent. A steady recovery in exports and large government infrastructure projects, including the expansions of ports and roads as part of a 45 billion project for a new special economic zone on the east coast of the country, are expected to support growth in 2018.

In addition, private investment, which grew by a just 1.7 percent in 2017, will rise at a faster pace of around 3.7 percent this year.

Accounting for over 10 percent of the national economy, tourism sector is expected to post a growth of 8 percent in revenue. Last year, the country earned a record revenue of 53 billion USD by servicing 35 million visitors.

Although economic growth last year was the highest since the military government took power in 2014, experts said that the Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy still lags most of its regional peers, many of which are growing by more than 5 percent annually. Domestic factors, particularly private investment and consumption, remained weak. Meanwhile, political instability is billed as a risk for the country’s economy. - VNA