Thailand\'s economic expansion unexpectedly slowed last quarter after the earthquake in Japan disrupted trade and as faltering recoveries in the United States and Europe cloud the outlook for global growth. Gross domestic product rose 2.6 per cent in the three months through June from a year earlier, after climbing a revised 3.2 per cent in the previous quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board said in Bangkok yesterday. The median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 3.6 per cent gain. Thailand joins Asian neighbours from Malaysia to Taiwan in reporting an easing in growth as a weakening global economy threatens to crimp demand for exports. At the same time, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is poised to fulfill spending pledges that lifted her to victory in July\'s general election, policies that may cushion expansion while stoking inflation. \"It\'s definitely worse than forecast, but understandable given the supply-chain disruption after the Japanese earthquake and the slowdown of major economies in the second quarter,\" said Nalin Chutchotitham, a market analyst at Kasikornbank Pcl. \"The GDP growth figure shouldn\'t affect the Bank of Thailand\'s desire to hike rates to curb inflation expectations.\"