The economy has already bottomed out and should head up steadily in the remaining months, driven mainly by rising private investment, increasing tourism arrivals and incomes, and the “digital economy” policy, which will help promote business, according to the Board of Trade of Thailand and Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Sales of life insurance policies grew 13-14 per cent year on year in the first quarter, while sales of non-life insurance were up 7-8 per cent, reflecting more investment by companies to build factories.
Despite the slowdown in exports, shipments from Bangkok Port expanded by 6.07 per cent and from Laem Chabang Port by 7.5e per cent in the first quarter, showing more trade with many markets, especially the United States and CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).
Isara said that with the brighter business outlook, the economy should show strength throughout next year.
Under the government’s digital economy policy, more companies would be promoted to expand in both the domestic and international markets, he said.
Vichai Bencharongkul, chairman of the Board of Trade’s Creative Digital Economy Committee, said that after more investment in telecommunications businesses, more sales in the industry and more services, the information and communications technology sector is expected to grow by 10 per cent a year and could reach Bt1.5 trillion this year.
The ICT sector was worth Bt1.2 trillion in 2013, accounting for 10 per cent of gross domestic product.
The Board of Trade has supported the government’s plan to invest more in expanding Internet broadband access to every household, to adopt technology for distance learning and to promote the growth of e-commerce.
For every 10-per-cent expansion in Internet broadband, GDP will grow by 1.3 per cent, the organisation believes. For every 10-per-cent growth of mobile phones, GDP will grow by 0.7 per cent.