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Thailand needs to whet domestic appetite to sustain growth

Current strong GDP largely due to external factors -- exports and tourism

Chinese tourists pose for photos at Wat Phra Kaeo, a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

BANGKOK -- Thailand's economy in the third quarter marked the sharpest growth under the military regime, buoyed by external factors, but analysts said that for sustainable expansion, domestic consumption and private investment must increase. 

The better-than-expected 4.3% growth in the July-September quarter gave a boost to blue-chip stocks, strengthened the baht and led the government think tank to revise up its economic outlook for this year to 3.9%, from 3.5-4% previously. Securities house Nomura also raised its 2017 outlook to 3.9% from 3.6%. But generally, analysts were not overly excited given that the expansion was largely driven by external growth such as robust exports and record-high tourist arrivals.

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