Thailand economy performing better than expected according to government report

Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri stated that Thailand’s economic situation was better than predicted earlier. The Government’s continued measures to cushion the economy have resulted in a favourable financial position.

Anucha quoted a report by the Ministry of Finance that the Thai economy would contract by 7 percent in 2020. This contraction is lower than the 7.2-8.2 percent forecast previously.

He said that Thailand’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 list had edged up six places. It had risen from 27th to 21st this year from 190 countries surveyed. In the ranking, Thailand’s score also increased, representing the highest over the past six years.

The increase, he said, showed that the Thai economic structure was adjusting to accommodate higher-value manufacturing, as a result of the Government’s efforts to focus on the use of the digital system and to improve various rules and regulations that help enhance the country’s competitiveness.

Fitch Ratings affirmed a stable outlook.

Mr Anucha said that Fitch Ratings recently affirmed Thailand’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at “BBB+” with a stable outlook. Strong public and external finance are supporting Thailand’s ratings. These have provided buffers to respond to the economic shock and market volatility associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Fitch expects Thailand’s general government debt ratio to stabilise over the medium term in light of a record of prudent fiscal management, reinforced by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2018. However, the trajectory remains sensitive to growth assumptions. It also expects Thailand’s external finances to remain a core credit strength and buffer against external volatility.

Mixed reactions from the public on the economy

Public sentiments were less than rosy. People that SEA-BP spoke with had mixed reactions. Street vendor, Ms Banchum Saetang, complained about the lack of buyers. She partly blamed the lacklustre economy on pandemic and the protest situation. Grab driver by the nickname of “Dam” mentioned that although there is some recovery, it’s not like before. There are fewer customers than before, as fewer people are going out. He has had to switch to doing food delivery during specific periods of the day to make up for the loss of income.

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