Thailand GDP contracts 0.6 percent in Q1 amid political turmoil

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Bangkok, Thailand (4E) – Thailand’s economy slid into contraction territory for the first time since late 2011 as tourism, investment and domestic spending suffered due to the political turmoil, raising concerns of recession.

In the first quarter, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 0.6 percent from a year ago, offsetting the revised 0.6 percent gain in the final quarter of 2013, according to data by the National Economic and Social Development Board released Monday.

Monday’s result marks the first contraction since the last three months of 2011, when the GDP of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy fell 8.9 percent.

The Thai economy contracted 2.1 percent on quarter, compared with the revised 0.1 percent growth in the earlier period.

Household spending fell 3 percent from a year-ago quarter, but slightly slower than the 4.1 percent decline recorded in the previous three months. Higher inflation and unemployment rates, along with political unrest hurt consumer confidence.

Total investment dropped 9.8 percent compared with the previous quarter’s 11.4 percent decline. Within that category, public investment slid 19.3 percent and private investment fell 7.3 percent.

Net exports of goods and services surged by 28.8 percent, versus a 25.6 percent gain in the previous quarter. Imports of goods were down 12 percent.

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