On the expenditure side, private consumption rose by 0.8 percent in the first quarter, the same as in the preceding quarter and government spending advanced faster (1.8 percent vs 1.5 percent), while gross fixed capital formation softened (0.8 percent vs 1.4 percent in Q4). Meantime, net external demand contributed negatively to growth, as exports of goods and services tumbled (-3.3 percent vs 2.3 percent in Q4), and imports contracted further (-2.5 percent vs -1.9 percent).
On the production side, the agriculture sector rebounded sharply (10.1 percent vs -7.8 percent in Q4). At the same time, non-agriculture fell for the first time since the second quarter 2011, with the industrial sub-sector shrinking (-1.7 percent vs 2.2 percent in Q4), in particular mining and quarrying (-1.9 percent vs 2 percent in Q4); manufacturing (-1.9 percent vs 2 percent) and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (-2.4 percent vs 2.1 percent). Meanwhile, the service sector continued to grow (0.9 percent vs 2.5 percent), namely construction (1.7 percent vs 0.1 percent); accommodation & food services (1.9 percent vs 4 percent); education (1.9 percent vs 2 percent); and health & social work (1.5 percent vs 2.1 percent).
Year-on-year, the economy grew an annual 2.8 percent in the first quarter, also missing consensus of a 3 percent expansion and following 3.7 percent growth in the fourth quarter.
For 2019, the government revised down GDP growth forecast to a range of 3.3 to 3.8 percent from an earlier projections of 3.5 to 4.5 percent. It also lowered the export outlook for the year to 2.2 percent from 4.1 percent previously estimated, amid a slowdown in global demand and uncertainty coming from Sino-US trade tension.
In 2018, the Thai economy advanced 4.1 percent, the strongest pace of annual expansion since 2012.