DAVOS Jan 31 Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Saturday his country's economy is probably technically in recession, but he hopes fiscal stimulus measures will keep growth positive for the year as a whole.
The economy would probably continue to shrink in the first three months of 2009, after contracting between 2 or 3 percent in the last quarter of 2008, Abhisit told journalists at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.
"We believe that negative growth will carry over to the first quarter of this year. I guess this makes us technically in recession," he said, noting that Thai tourism and exports had been hit hard in recent months by the global slowdown.
He said stimulus measures the government has passed should start to take effect from March, so the rest of the year should be better, although Thailand might seek external help to take further steps if the economy does not pick up.
"We hope that the second and third quarter will be an improvement on the first and we still aim for the whole year to keep growth in positive territory, or at least not in negative territory," he said.
For full coverage, blogs and TV from Davos go to www.reuters.com/davos (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Simon Jessop)