Bangkok, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- Thailand’s economy shrank 6.1 percent in 2020, its largest contraction in two decades amid a halt in tourism and exports caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data released by the government on Monday.
Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 4.2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of last year but grew by 1.3 percent over the previous quarter, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council said.
This is the third time in recent decades that Thailand’s economy has contracted.
It shrank by 0.9 percent in 2009 following the global financial crisis and plummeted by 7.6 percent in 1998 after the economic crisis that struck several Asian countries the previous year.
Export of services, which includes spending by tourists in the country, fell by 60 percent year-on-year in 2020 after declining by almost 75 percent in the last quarter, due to the closure of the country’s borders.
Meanwhile, export of goods decreased by 5.8 percent owing to a drop in global demand.
However, the fall in the country’s GDP in 2020 is lower than that forecast by the Bank of Thailand, the central bank, which had predicted a decline of 8.1 percent.
Restrictions imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus also affected private consumption, which declined by one percent despite stimulus packages by the government.
The government lowered the economic growth forecast for 2021 to between 2.5 and 3.5 percent, one point lower than that announced in November.
Although Covid-19 cases in the Asian country have risen significantly following an outbreak in December, the government appears to have the situation under control.
Thailand has recorded a total of 24,406 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 80 deaths. EFE-EPA