Q3 GDP grows 4.3% y-o-y, best since 2013
Thailand's economy expanded by the most in 4.5 years in July-September on an annual basis, though the quarterly pace slowed, indicating monetary policy will likely remain loose to support still-sluggish domestic demand.
Exports and tourism have lifted growth for Southeast Asia's second largest economy this year, though it still lags that of peers. The Thai rate has reflected soft domestic demand and delays in the start of big infrastructure projects.
On an annual basis, the economy expanded 4.3% in the third quarter, the best pace for any period since the first quarter of 2013. That number beat the Reuters poll median of 3.8% and was also above its highest forecast. In April-June, annual growth was a revised 3.8%.
On a quarterly basis, Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) grew a seasonally adjusted 1.0% in the July-September quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said on Monday.
That was faster than the 0.75% forecast in the Reuters poll. Growth for April-June was revised up to 1.4% from 1.3%.
Capital Economics said it expects the Thai economy "to remain in good health" and exports "should continue to do well".
The planning agency revised its 2017 economic growth forecast to 3.9% from 3.5-4.0% projected earlier, with exports up 8.6%. It predicts 2018 economic growth at 3.6-4.6%, with exports rising 5.0%.
Despite the baht being at its strongest in more than two years, Thailand's exports have recovered in 2017, benefiting from a strong tech cycle. Exports in the third quarter jumped 12.5% from a year earlier.
Shipments rose just 0.5% in 2016 after three years of contraction
The central bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.50% since April 2015. It next reviews policy on Dec. 20, at the year's final meeting.
Most economists expect no policy change well into 2018, as inflation is benign.