It is surprising that so many people still think of Thailand as a third world country or country that is lagging far behind the west. According to The World Bank “Thailand has been one of the widely cited development success stories, with sustained strong growth and impressive poverty reduction, particularly in the 1980s. However, average growth has slowed to 3.5 percent over 2005-2015. The government has embarked on an ambitious reform program to raise Thailand’s long-term growth path and achieve high-income status.”
It comes as no surprise that growth has slowed to percentage terms in recent years as this is the case with all economies that are experiencing growth. Indeed The World Bank is still predicting growth of between 2.9% and 3.3% between 2016 and 2018. For a country that had previously relied so heavily on the export of rice to survive it is clearly evident that exports in other areas are also increasing. This is goods such as electronics as well as a healthy automobile sector, not to mention the growing tourist industry.
You don’t have to travel too far to see that Thailand is thriving. The capital Bangkok is awash with large multinational companies and the financial centre of the capital has a rapidly improving reputation that has the potential to challenge some of the other major economies in Asia. The price of real estate reflects demand with prices rising annually in central locations.
Tourist centres such as Pattaya, Hua HIn and Phuket are seeing a huge influx of visitors from other parts of Asia – predominantly China but with a significant number coming from South Korea and South East Asia. These cities have a rapidly growing network of top international hotels and again real estate in the areas in demand is hard to come by, further stoking prices.
Perhaps one of the biggest indicators or the strength of the Thai economy is the strength of the Thai Baht. The Baht has continued to gain strength against other major currencies but exports have still remained strong whilst imports have become cheaper allowing companies to expand further. This growing confidence can only have a positive effect on the overall economy and previously underdeveloped areas of the country are now seeing money and resources trickle through.
In the volatile world of investments, Thailand appears to be a good bet with continuing growth, a strengthening currency and a relatively stable stock market. Property prices in many areas are also increasing which is again a reflection of consumer confidence.