BMI View: We forecast a positive consumer outlook in 2017 and an acceleration in consumer demand from2016. This will be facilitated by low unemployment and steady but low inflation. Spending will be capped bythe need for households to pay down high debt loads and by uncertainty surrounding the outlook for wagegrowth.
The combination of a strong first-quarter growth figure, reduced risks of a global trade slowdown and thestrong likelihood of continued political stability in the near term has caused us to revise up Thailand's 2017real GDP growth forecast to 3.4% from 3.0% previously. The economy is in somewhat of a sweet spot, withgradual economic improvements, supported by the domestic infrastructure spending drive, helping to keeppolitical risks in check, which is in turn supporting economic growth. We expect continued growth inprivate consumption as a result, accelerating from 3.1% in 2016 to 3.8% in 2017.