[BANGKOK] Thailand's economy expanded 0.9 per cent in the first quarter from the previous three months, more than expected, as higher government spending and tourism boosted activity.
Economists in a Reuters poll had expected gross domestic product (GDP) in January-March to grow 0.6 per cent, compared with 0.8 per cent growth in the final quarter of 2015 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
On an annual basis, growth in the first quarter was 3.2 per cent, the national planning agency said on Monday, above the 2.8 per cent median forecast in the Reuters poll, and compared with 2.8 per cent in the final quarter of 2015.
The National Economic and Social Development Board also said the economy will likely grow 3.0-3.5 per cent this year, compared with a range of 2.8-3.8 per cent it forecast three months ago. Growth last year was 2.8 per cent.
The agency now expects exports to contract 1.7 per cent this year, rather than rise 1.2 per cent as forecast earlier.
Since seizing power in May 2014, Thailand's military government has struggled to revive Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy as exports and domestic demand have remained stubbornly sluggish.