Thailand’s Economic Conditions Tipped to Worsen as Virus Spreads

Thailand’s economic conditions are expected to deteriorate further this year as the nation battles a resurgence in the coronavirus, according to a national survey.

About 52.2% of the respondents in the study undertaken by Bangkok-based National Institute of Development Administration predict the economy will be even worse in 2021 than it was last year, while 14.6% anticipate an improvement.

At the same time, the impact of Covid-19 may be even more deadly than in 2020, according to 48.1% of the respondents. Just 28.8% expect it to be less severe, the institute said in a statement released Sunday.

Thailand is set to impose a new set of restrictions on businesses and gatherings in 28 of its worst-affected provinces from Monday to stem the latest flareup in an outbreak that’s infected more than 3,000 people since the middle of December. Bangkok, a city of more than 10 million people, has already closed businesses including pubs, bars, gyms and other entertainment venues besides shuttering schools until the end of the month.

The central bank at its December policy meeting said gross domestic product probably shrank by 6.6% in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic. At the same gathering, it cut its forecast for this year to growth of 3.2%, from an earlier estimate of 3.6%.

Thailand reported 315 new virus cases on Sunday with 294 of them locally transmitted, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The nation’s total caseload climbed to 7,694 with the capital Bangkok and the provinces of Samut Sakhon and Rayong the major hotspots.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has refrained from re-imposing a national lockdown, saying the nation can contain the recent outbreak. Still, the surge in infections is likely to delay plans to reopen the country to tourism with a nationwide state of emergency remaining in place to allow authorities impose restrictions quickly if deemed necessary.

– Bloomberg

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