Thai economy contracts 4.9 pc in Q2

BANGKOK: Thailand's economy shrank by 4.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter but is showing signs of recovery from the global slowdown, official figures showed Monday.

It was the third consecutive quarter in which gross domestic product (GDP) dropped, although it was an improvement on the 7.1 fall in the first three months of 2009, the National Economic and Social Development Board said.

"The Thai economy has passed the bottom point. There are signs of recovery in the second quarter in terms of jobless figures, government investment and private constructions," said the board's secretary general, Ampon Kittiampon.

But Ampon told reporters that the economy will continue to contract in the third quarter before finally moving into positive territory in the last three months of the year.

"The economy in the second half of the year will improve, even though the GDP in the third quarter will shrink due to the limited global economic recovery, which will affect Thai exports," he said.

The board also revised its growth forecast for 2009 to between minus 3.0 and 3.5 percent, from its previous estimate of minus 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

The agency predicted exports would fall 16.3 percent while imports would shrink by 24.2 percent, with the trade surplus at 14.0 billion dollars and inflation forecast at minus 0.5 percent to minus one percent.