Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol

BANGKOK-Thailand's economic activity continued its gradual pace of recovery in September with public spending and exports playing a prominent role in supporting growth, the Bank of Thailand said Monday.

The Thai central bank said that the country's private consumption index went up 2.5% in September from a year ago and inched up 0.1% compared to the previous month as non-farm income stayed flat and consumer confidence weakened slightly.

Meanwhile, Thailand's private investment index shrank 0.1% compared with a year ago, but rose 0.8% from the earlier month, while real estate demand softened, the bank said.

"In comparison to the preceding month, investment edged up somewhat in the manufacturing sector as reflected by imported capital goods of export-oriented industries," said the Bank of Thailand in a statement. "Despite continuing public investment and the resulted private investment crowding-in, the real estate market decelerated as demand softened after government stimulus measures had ended."

Thailand registered another month of trade surplus of $3.7 billion after September exports and imports grew 3.5% and 1.7%, respectively, from a year earlier. As a result, the country's current account surplus stood at $2.9 billion in September, up from $2.7 billion in the previous month.

The number of tourist arrivals to the country rose 18.3% to 2.4 million in September compared with the same month last year, when arrivals were relatively low, the bank said. But compared with August, tourist arrivals dropped 2.1% as Chinese travelers reduced after the government clamped down on certain kinds of cheap package tours.

TiscoFinancial Group said in a note that exports' return to growth in the three months ending in September is a key turning point for the Thai economy, since the sector accounts for around two-thirds of gross domestic product. These earnings should help cushion any slowdown in the tourism sector and domestic consumption as the country mourns for late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away last month, the Thai brokerage said.

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October 31, 2016 05:12 ET (09:12 GMT)

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