Thai Finance Ministry cuts 2014 GDP forecast to 1 per cent

Thai Finance Ministry cuts 2014 GDP forecast to 1 per cent
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (C) and other officials attend a ceremony celebrating the birthday of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok December 5, 2014.

BANGKOK - Thailand's economy is expected to grow 1 per cent this year and exports should not contract, a senior official from the Finance Ministry said on Monday.

That compares with the ministry's 1.4 per cent economic growth estimate in October and less than 1 per cent which it predicted earlier this month.

For 2015, the ministry predicts growth of around 4 per cent, little changed from a previous estimate of 4.1 per cent, thanks to higher government spending, Kritsada Jinavijarana, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office, told a news conference.

It also expects exports to grow 3.5 per cent next year, after a weak performance in 2014.

On Friday, the central bank lowered its 2014 GDP growth forecast to 0.8 per cent from 1.5 per cent and its 2015 estimate to 4.0 per cent from 4.8 per cent, citing sluggish exports and slow public spending.

The central bank expected exports to contract 0.5 per cent this year, from its previous estimate of no change from 2013. It sees shipments rising just 1 per cent next year.

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