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Inequality likely after economic recovery – Bank of Thailand governor

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: MGR Online

It’s expected to take at least 2 years for Thailand’s economy to recover, but once it does, inequality is likely to become a top concern, according to the Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput.

“It is expected to take at least two years before the Thai economy returns to its pre-pandemic levels in terms of GDP… Even when the economy is fully recovered, things are unlikely to be the same. There is a risk that more inequality in the country will be seen.”

While some large corporations survived the lockdown, many small businesses took a beating. Businesses in the tourism industry were hit the hardest from the lack of international tourists, causing a number of tour operators and hotels to close. With the rise in unemployment, household debts could also spike.

Thousands more students applied for financial aid this year, expanding the education gap between the rich and the poor. The Equitable Education Fund says the rise is because many families cannot afford to education costs due to financial stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sethaput says the Bank of Thailand is looking into measures to revive the economy, focusing on debt restructuring, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

The government has been trying restart foreign tourism – which accounted for 11 to 12% of Thailand’s GDP – after a 7 month ban due to the coronavirus. Last year, foreigners each stayed an average 9 days in Thailand, spending about 50,000 baht during their trip. To make up for the lost revenue, Sethaput says foreign travelers would each need to stay an average of 20 days in Thailand and each spend 200,000 baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jonathan Hugo

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    An end to quarantine, and a much weaker baht will be required to encourage tourists back in any numbers. Thailand had become too expensive even before COVID killed tourism.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      2 years sounds like very whish full thinking to recover from this mess!
      Best he goes on that thai flight round the major temples and asks for a bit of divine help.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm

        The “mess” isn’t something Thailand can be held responsible for, nor is it really something Thailand can do much about. It simply is what it is, as a result of Covid-19 and its impact world-wide, and the best Thailand or anyone else can do is make the best of the situation.

    • Avatar

      David Barker

      Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 1:25 am

      Couldn’t agree more.And who knows what will happen to the property market as well.
      Seems Thai gov prepared to torch everything against this grossly overinflated virus

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    An interesting stat from the original article:

    “While petrochemical, electronics and automobile industry exports account for 49% of the country’s total exports, employment across the three industries accounts for just 4% of total jobs.”

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Loss of trust and reputation will haunt Thailand for years.
    All the foreigners that were locked out will think again before committed financially in Thailand now. Foreigners will shun dealing with Thais now.
    The Thais made some ridiculous bans in relationship to the tiny threat of the virus.
    Why, could they not let foreigners leave through the airports?
    Why did they ban transit through the airports?
    Why did they not let travellers out across the borders? The countries across the borders were open at the time.
    Why impose a curfew?
    Why have an alcohol ban.
    Why ban people from walking on a beach!?
    Why will the Thai government not have a general election, yet provinces elections are allowed?
    Thailand has lost the confidence of the tourists, and any that consider investing in Thailand.
    The national airline owe billions of baht in refunds to passengers for cancelled flights, yet still fly!
    The world has seen the real face of Thailand now . . .

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 8:15 pm

      Inevitably, the usual tripe.

      “All the foreigners that were locked out will think again before committed financially in Thailand now. Foreigners will shun dealing with Thais now.”

      They were “locked out” everywhere in Asean and, off and on, pretty well everywhere else. Rather absurd to single out one country for no apparent reason.

      “The Thais made some ridiculous bans in relationship to the tiny threat of the virus.”

      See above.

      “Why did they ban transit through the airports?”

      See above.

      “Why did they not let travellers out across the borders? The countries across the borders were open at the time.”

      They did. No-one was “locked-in” who was able to leave via land borders.

      “Why impose a curfew?”

      See above.

      “Why have an alcohol ban.”

      See above. It was brief (briefer than some others) and, combined with the curfew, reduced movement psarticularly of anyone trying to get home DUI before the curfew (road accidents / deaths were also noticeably reduced).

      “Why ban people from walking on a beach!?”

      See above. At that stage transmission was unclear.

      “Why will the Thai government not have a general election, yet provinces elections are allowed?”

      A rather different issue, but provincial elections are due, a general election isn’t.

      “Thailand has lost the confidence of the tourists, and any that consider investing in Thailand.”

      In your view, although your own “investment” wasn’t sufficient to remain.

      “The national airline owe billions of baht in refunds to passengers for cancelled flights, yet still fly!”

      So your solution would be for it to NOT fly??? … and, the point in that would be what, exactly, at the mopment?

      “The world has seen the real face of Thailand now . . .”

      ….. agreed, and that of plenty of other countries. Some, like Thailand, have something to be proud of with their reaction to Covid-19 – others rather less so.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 10:43 am

        I know you are expert at arguing black is white, but this latest effort deserves a Booker prize.
        Claptrap from beginning to end.
        You use the same excuse you used defending a copper taking a bribe.
        It is because he is badly paid. No Thai is ever to blame with you are they?
        I write Thailand locked people out of Thailand. You write they were locked out of everywhere else in ASIAN. Wrong. Wrong. wrong. They were NOT. Always an excuse for the Thais.
        Anyway I am not going to bother going through all your feeble excuses for the Thais.
        My flight was cancelled leaving Thailand, because the Thais would not let the airlines fly.
        At my destination, they were allowing flights in. But the Thais would not let airlines to fly out.
        I saw them closing bars, and my visa was ending. I fled across the border two days before the Thais closed the border. In Cambodia everything was open and has been ever since.
        Cambodia has not had one death through this virus.
        Cambodia has had no curfew.
        No alcohol ban.
        No ban on walking on the beach.
        Does that not show that all these restrictions Thailand imposed were unjustified?
        Thais as a race love bans. It makes them feel important. For instance they are desperate for tourists, but they will only allow 1200 visitors in a month! Why? It is due to the Thai mentality of control, and self importance.
        When Thailand closed the border, they would not let people leave. Cambodia’s border was still open for a long time.
        They are just peasant fishermen and farmers who got lucky with foreign tourism and investment.
        But their stupidity is killing the golden goose.

  4. Avatar

    Manu

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    “with the weather, sometimes it is sunny, sometimes it is raning, sometimes…”. Dear Governor (and TheThaiger), if it is continuously to state the obvious, what’s the point?? For sure this is no news…

    The dear bank of Thailand Governor said : “Even when the economy is fully recovered, things are unlikely to be the same. There is a risk that more inequality in the country will be seen.” A visionary, I tell you!! Considering that Thailand has already (post-covid) one of the worse record on inequality between riches and poors, the future is not looking very bright (yeap, I am a visionary too!).

  5. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Covid has shown total absurdity of Thai immigration laws: people, who own property in Thailand cannot come back even with quarantine. Who would want to invest in Thailand if you cannot get permanent residenship?

    • Avatar

      David Barker

      Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 1:35 am

      I can’t understand why if you own a property you can’t return and isolate there for the required period then contribute to the economy
      Mind you if you aren’t allowed to even walk on a beach after isolation what chance have you got with these officious people.
      It’s the old story once they have your money you can go whistle.

  6. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 5:41 am

    The reason Thai should be not flying is because they are insolvent and can not come close to covering their liabilities.
    Thailand does not have bankruptcy protection laws like the us and even if they did Thai should not qualify because there is not even a slim theoretical mathematical chance they could come back from where they are financially.
    The company should have been wound up several years ago.

    Private limited companies compete against Thai on many routes.
    How would you feel if you were a share holder or employee of such a company?

    The next issue is you have ground and flight crews who are facing financial ruin.I will not expand on that aspect any further.

    I do not have as personal axe to grind with Thai, quite the opposite.

    I have many good friends in and ex Thai going back to the 1980’s

    I do not have a single bad word to say about any of the staff and hope for the best for them all in the future.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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