Thailand's economy expanded at a slower pace at the end of 2017 but the full-year growth was the fastest in five years.
Gross domestic product grew 4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, slower than the 4.3 percent expansion posted in the third quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board reported Monday. The rate was expected to remain at 4.3 percent.
Quarter-on-quarter, growth halved to 0.5 percent from 1 percent in the previous quarter.
On the production-side, farm output contracted 1.3 percent, while non-farm production advanced 4.6 percent. The service sector growth was driven by tourism.
On the expenditure side, private consumption growth improved to 3.5 percent from 3.4 percent a quarter ago. Government expenditure and gross fixed capital formation increased only slightly by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
An expansion of gross fixed capital formation was contributed mainly to a 2.4 percent rise in private investment whereas public investment dropped 6.0 percent.
For the external sector, exports and imports of goods and services grew by 7.4 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.
In the whole year of 2017, the economy logged an annual growth of 3.9 percent, which was the fastest since 2012.
The economy is forecast to expand in the range of 3.6-4.6 percent this year largely underpinned by global growth, government spending and public investment.
Krystal Tan, an economist at Capital Economics, said growth is to remain robust over the coming quarters, supported by accommodative fiscal and monetary policies. The big risk to the outlook is the uncertain political situation.
The headline inflation is forecast to be in the range of 0.9 - 1.9 percent and the current account will register a surplus of 7.8 percent of GDP, NESDB said.