In the three months to March, private consumption rose 3.2 percent, faster than a 2.5 percent increase in the prior quarter. The rise was partly a result of a strong growth of farming income and a continual rise of non-farming income as well as better consumer confidence. The expansion was mainly boosted by an increase in spending on non-durable goods and durable goods, especially motor vehicle and furniture items. However, expenditure on semi-durable goods and net services decelerated.
Government spending edged up 0.2 percent, slowing from a 1.8 percent rise in the December quarter. The slowdown was in tandem with a decline in the 2017 fiscal year current budget disbursement in the quarter.
Gross fixed capital formation went up by 1.7 percent, compared to a 1.8 percent growth in the final quarter 2016. Public investment increased by 9.7 percent, following a 8.6 percent in Q4. On the contrary, private investment fell 1.1 percent, due to declines in construction, and machinery and equipment.
Exports of goods and services grew by 2.7 percent, accelerating from a 1.1 percent increase in the fourth quarter. Imports of goods and services rose 6.0 percent (3.4 percent in Q4).
On the production side, agriculture sector rose 7.7 percent, much faster than a 3.0 percent expansion in the December quarter. The rise was supported by agriculture, hunting and forestry (8.5 percent from 2.7 percent in Q4) and fishing (0.3 percent from 5.4 percent). Non-agricultural sector expanded by 2.9 percent, compared to a 3.2 percent increase previously. Growth in the sector eased for: manufacturing (1.2 percent from 2.2 percent in Q4), construction (2.8 percent from 6.1 percent), financial intermediation (4.4 percent from 6.7 percent), health and social work (4.1 percent from 4.3 percent) and other community, social and personal services activities (5.6 percent from 7.1 percent). Growth rose at a faster pace for: wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor (5.9 percent from 5.6 percent), hotels and restaurants (5.3 percent from 4.9 percent); transport, storage and communication (5.9 percent from 5.2 percent) and education (0.2 percent from -0.7 percent). In contrast, a decline was seen for: mining and quarrying (-9.3 percent from -4.8 percent) and private households with employed persons (-0.2 percent from -2.4 percent).
For 2017, the Thailand's economic planning agency (NESDB) expected Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy to grow between 3.3 to 3.8 percent, compared to the 3.0 to 4.0 percent range it forecast previously. Exports in the year are projected to rise 3.6 percent, compared to a 2.9 percent increase in an earlier projection.
In 2016, the economy grew by 3.2 percent, faster than an upwardly revised 2.9 percent growth in 2015.