Thai Feb consumption up but investment down: central bank

[BANGKOK] Thailand's private consumption inched up but investment slipped in February, central bank data showed on Thursday, suggesting the economy is still struggling to expand amid weak global demand.

The Bank of Thailand's private consumption index for February rose 0.3 per cent from January, when it fell 1.6 per cent.

Its index for private investment dropped 1.0 per cent last month, after no change in January.

The BOT said exports, which are based on financial settlements, rose 6.2 per cent in February from a year earlier. Shipments, worth about two-thirds of economic output, shrank the past three years .

Earlier customs-cleared annual exports rose 10.3 per cent in February due to unusual items - gold shipments and helicopters brought in earlier for a war exercise.

The central bank is ready to cut interest rates if the global economy slows sharply, assistant governor Jaturong Jantarangs told a briefing.

The central bank has left its policy interest rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent since April 2015.

The central bank last week cut its 2016 economic growth forecast for the third time to 3.1 per cent from 3.5 per cent, with exports falling again, by 2 per cent.

Growth last year was 2.8 per cent, up from 0.8 per cent in 2014.


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