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Thai economy shrinks, pandemic to blame

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Thailand Public Relations Department

The Thai economy is shrinking. A lot. So much that it’s close to hitting as low as it did in the 1998 financial crisis. Some say the coronavirus pandemic is to blame.

For the second quarter, the Thai economy shrank by 12.2%, the National Economic Social Development Council says. That’s just a few decimal points away from a low in the financial crisis, according to the council’s secretary general Thosaporn Sirisumphand.

“It is the most severe contraction since the second quarter of the 1998 Asian financial crisis, when GDP had sunk by 12.5%.”

The Nation reports the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on the drop in GDP in Thailand as well as many countries around the world. They say China and Vietnam are the few that experienced growth.

The Thai economy is expected to shrink by 7.5% for the full year, but that’s if there’s not a second wave of the coronavirus, the Nation says. Sirisumphand says the economy has improved with the recent reopening of businesses.

While a second outbreak is a potential threat to the economy, Thailand’s domestic political protests and the trade war between the United States and China could also impact the Thai economy.

“Should the country face political turmoil, it would worsen the economic downturn.”

Siriumphand warns that many could lose their jobs if the economy does not improve. The Nation says the unemployment rate rose 1.95% in the second quarter with 745,000 people unemployed. Many are looking for jobs. Just earlier this week, thousands of job seekers crowded Bangkok hotel to file an application.

“Should the economy not get better, then 1.76 million workers would be laid off, but if the economy improves, they will be able to keep their jobs.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    They best start making some trade deals with major economies around the world to export products and import skills, training, capacity building and investment. Scrap the layers of pointless bureaucracy that ultimately constrains the country from growing.

  2. Avatar

    harry1

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    what with the strong baht damaging exports,tourist revenue now decimated and the faithful longterm stayer gone,and no insight when this virus will be contained worldwide.the powers that be need to open up its residential market for oversea investor and allow freehold ownership with residency rights.there are 100 of thousand of long termers looking to buy abroad especially in a virus free country.until this becomes a reality thailand can be waiting for years for the return of tourism

    • Avatar

      gabby

      Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 4:01 am

      I agree with harry1. The strong Thai Baht is definitely damaging exports as well as the tourist industry. It is also jeopardizing foreigner’s real estate investment. Many foreigners have already bought condos in various parts of Thailand. They would love to stay for longer periods at a time and spend their hard earned money in the country. There are an enormous number of projects presently being built nationwide. These condos and luxury real estate projects are aimed at buyers who would like to spend more than just a month or two in Thailand. The visa restriction should be eased for long termers who already own real estate in Thailand and those who are planning to buy in the future. It’s money out the window if the authorities do not pay proper attention to long termers.

  3. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I think (pandemic partly to blame) would be a more accurate statement.

  4. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    What about an overreaction of the government closing down a country for a disease non lethal for most people (below 60 and without pre-conditions)? Sweden has got the correct reaction…

  5. Avatar

    gabby

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 3:57 am

    I agree with harry1. The strong Thai Baht is definitely damaging exports as well as the tourist industry. It is also jeopardizing foreigner’s real estate investment. Many foreigners have already bought condos in various parts of Thailand. They would love to stay for longer periods at a time and spend their hard earned money in the country. There are an enormous number of projects presently being built nationwide. These condos and luxury real estate projects are aimed at buyers who would like to spend more than just a month or two in Thailand. The visa restriction should be eased for long termers who already own real estate in Thailand and those who are planning to buy in the future. It’s money out the window if the authorities do not pay proper attention to long termers.

  6. Avatar

    Davidnicholls

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    If Thailand does not open by Christmas it will be finished as people will travel to other countries it’s sad but true thai people will suffer not the government

  7. Avatar

    james

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Shrank by 12.2%?

    So no different to most other economies in the world then.

    I see the ex-pats are at it again with their comments sounding more important than they are, I doubt the few hundred thousand of them who are here contribute much to the economy, it is the 30 million tourists per year who spend 5000 baht a day who contribute 17% to the Thai economy, not the ex-pats scraping along on their low pensions and rented condos.

    Once tourism bounces back then the 12.2% loss will be gone.

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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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