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Thailand’s economy facing bleakest prediction in Asia

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Andreas Brücker on Unsplash

“The Bank of Thailand predicts that its gross domestic product will shrink by more than 8% this year.”

While Thailand appears to have been successful in suppressing the Covid-19 virus, a report in The Bangkok Post today says the outlook for the country’s economy is far from favourable, calling it the worst in Asia.

The Bank of Thailand predictions are the bleakest across Asian countries’ economies. Such a drop would be even worse than the one experienced during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, a senior economist for Thailand at the World Bank, says much of it can be attributed to the plunge in international tourism since the country shut its borders in the early weeks of the Covid crisis.

“Thailand has large exposure as a tourism hub, close to 15% of GDP, and it also has a large exposure of the export-oriented sector. Hence the large shock to GDP.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg is predicting a contraction of 6% for Thailand’s economy, the worst in south-east Asia, with experts expecting it to have a weak recovery of about 4% in 2021. Measures put in place to suppress the spread of the Covid-19 virus. are being seen as a major factor in the economic downturn. The forced shut down of businesses, introduction of a nighttime curfew and state of emergency have had a devastating knock-down effect at a time when investment and consumption were already on a downward trajectory since last year.

With the exception of a limitation on international flights, most restrictions have now been lifted, along with the government introducing various stimulus packages to boost domestic tourism and the overall economy. However, no amount of domestic travel can make up for the devastating loss to the country’s tourism sector, which accounted for a fifth of the overall economy last year.

With airports still closed to almost all international arrivals, foreign tourism is expected to plummet to one-fifth of last year’s figures, at just 8 million. The Thai government is still mulling the introduction of travel bubbles with countries it deems safe from Covid-19, but it’s slow going, with the PM expressing concern over the risk of reintroducing the virus through arrivals from abroad.

Analysts are also saying they don’t foresee a rush of investment any time soon, given the bleak predictions facing the country. Exports appear to be recovering, however, having taken a brief hit during the first two months of the year. The rise in the price of gold is providing a much-needed boost, but exports overall are still feeling the effects of a decrease in demand, in addition to disruptions to the global supply chain.

The strong baht remains an ongoing factor, with the US dollar losing nearly 6% against the baht over the last 3 months, despite multiple interest rate cuts by the Bank of Thailand to try and quell the enthusiasm for the Thai currency. The Central Bank has previously spoken about the negative effect the Thai baht is having on exports and the overall economy, warning that they will take steps to restrain the currency’s climb if necessary.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    robert farrar

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Best wishes friend- Thailand. You will be fine long term- You are special.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Thailand has an big opinion of itself.
    Truth is they were just peasants that got lucky with foreign aid and investment.
    The investment was not to make money from the Thais, but from foreigners.
    Now foreigners cannot enter or leave, the investment will disappear.
    Thailand is becoming poison to any foreigner because of Thai racism and corruption.

  3. Avatar

    Prathet Farang

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 3:46 am

    It’s not Thai, but Thai-Chinese that are the problem, we all know that. They feel threatened by farang, because they know we are better than them.
    That’s why they hate us.

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