BANGKOK, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank on Monday said Thailand's economic growth had begun to moderate in early 2019 in light of a weaker global growth.
Thailand's growth rate is projected to fall from 4.1 percent in 2018 to 3.5 percent in 2019, said a report released by the World Bank's Thailand Economic Monitor on Monday.
"Exports contracted by 4 percent in the first quarter of 2019, the first quarterly contraction in three years," said the World Bank report. "Private investment and household consumption continue to grow close to their three-year high, helped by low inflation, increasing employment and rising recurrent fiscal spending."
However, the statement said public investment had weakened as the state's "megaprojects" slowed due to election-related delays.
As a result, the economy's pace of expansion slowed to 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019, falling below 3 percent for the first time since mid-2015, said the report.
The World Bank projects growth to gradually increase from the expected 3.5 percent in 2019 to 3.6 and 3.7 percent in 2020 and 2021, assuming private consumption can be sustained, and public investment accelerates.
Birgit Hansl, World Bank Country Manager for Thailand said, however, that the Thai government's push to build its megaprojects will be vital to sustain growth in the country.
"Increased regional integration and making better use of Thailand's strategic location could support trade in goods and services," said Birgit.
He also said that public doubts on the cohesiveness of the newly established 19-party coalition government will create adverse impact to investor and consumer confidence in public infrastructure projects.
In regards to expansion of fintech in Thailand, Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, World Bank senior economist for Thailand said expansion of digital services to the underserved will bring opportunities to the latter and will reduce level of inequality in the Thai society.
The World Bank report said that 82 percent of Thai adults have their own bank accounts. The report, however, said that quality of digital financial services still need to improve including broadband services.