By Kitiphong Thaichareon
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s economy may grow by less than 2% this year while exports are likely to contract, mainly from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, a senior central bank official said on Thursday.
The outbreak is hitting Thailand’s lucrative tourism market hard and the country’s exports to China are also affected, Don Nakornthab, senior director of the economic and policy department of the Bank of Thailand, told a business seminar.
“This year, growth of less than 2% is possible,” Don said.
“The first quarter should be the weakest of the year, with growth highly likely to be below 1%,” he said.
The central bank said previously its 2.8% growth forecast for this year would be missed. It reviews economic projections next month.
For the final quarter of 2019, annual growth was estimated at 2.0-2.2%, he added.
Official 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) data is due on…