IN THE near term, Thailand’s economic prospects at the close of 2017 are significantly brighter than at any time during the past several years . . .
BANGKOK — In terms of its economy, Thailand clearly turned a corner in 2017. What remains murkier, however, is whether Thailand as a society has succeeded in turning the page.
With the year coming to a close, the Thai economy was nearing 4.0 per cent growth as exports, the main pillar, came roaring back to life, approaching a record US$236 billion in value.
While that gross domestic product (GDP) rate does not compare to the soaring figures Thailand posted in earlier decades, it is also a far cry from the gloomy forecasts of critics who claimed the unelected Government was not capable of managing the economy.
With fourth quarter GDP coming in at 4.3 per cent – the highest quarterly rate since the first quarter of 2013 – the National Social and Economic Development Board (NESDB), Thailand’s chief planning agency, raised its growth forecast for the year to 3.9 per cent.
Exports and tourism have been driving most of the gains. But investment has also been key.