Thailand retained its position within the world’s top 50 economies


From the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2016” survey, Thailand successfully retained its world economy ranking within top 50 economies. It ranks 49th of 189 countries in term of ease of doing business.

Thailand’s economic growth engines and Thailand export

  • From ASEAN news, as a destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), Thailand provides attractive incentives and accommodative policies for foreign investors. 
  • Over the decades, Thailand export with major trading partners also expanded largely and would possibly continue to grow in the long term in the light of economic policy reforms, ASEAN Economic Community and advantage of exemption of taxes and tariffs on Thailand export as part of TPP and RCEP. 
  • The economic integration of ASEAN news shed high hopes for Thailand export as ASEAN is one of its major trading partners.
  • Despite the negative investor sentiment and foreign diplomacy, the military government carried out economic reforms by issuing out many stimulus packages and infrastructure investment. This gradually improved investment sentiment, boosted spending and strengthened Thailand export.

Thailand export growth 

Thailand export grew substantially over the decades. 

  • According to Bank of Thailand (BOT), Thailand export values increased by 93.2% between 2005 and 2015 to reach $214.38bn, peaking at $229.11bn in 2012, and dropped to $214.38 in 2015, due to decreasing commodities prices.
  • Whereas, imports increased by 71.4% over the same decade, peaking at $250.41bn in 2013 and ending 2015 at $202.65bn.

Thailand as FDI destination 

  • In 2013, 30.6% of Thailand FDI went to the metallurgy and machinery industry, remaining went to electronics (25.3%), services (18.9%), and paper and chemical goods (15%). 
  • FDI growth can be attributed to the Board of Investment (BOI)’s changes to the Investment Promotion Law of 1977, mainly on investment incentives. 
  • International Trade and major trading partners for Thailand export
  • Thailand recently has seen significant increase in international trade and Thailand export in recent years, according to ASEAN news, both within the ASEAN region and with China, the United States and India. 
  • The US, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia were top five exporting markets for Thailand export in 2015. 
  • Thailand export value to the US hit $24.06bn in 2015, with $23.74bn to China, $20.08bn to Japan, $11.83bn
  • to Hong Kong and $10.19bn to Malaysia, according to BOT and ASEAN news.
  • Another major trading partner is the European Union, with Thailand export to the EU increasing by 45.3% between 2005 and 2015 to hit $21.97bn. 
  • Furthermore, despite relatively low trade with India, Thailand export jumped in recent years: imports rose by 105.5% between 2005 and 2015, while Thailand export to India rose by nearly 250%, from $1.53bn to $5.3bn over the same period.
  • With total trading value of $64.81bn in 2015, China is Thailand’s dominant
  • trading partner and major importing market. Thailand imported $41.1bn of Chinese goods in 2015, according to BOT, in comparison to $13.86bn in imports from the United States and Japan, third-largest market for Thailand export.

Behind the World Economy Ranking

  • The World Bank’s survey, Doing Business 2016, considered 11 areas of business life across 189 countries to determine overall world economy ranking in term of ease of doing business. 
  • For a breakdown of world economy ranking, Thailand moved up by eight ranks in the “dealing with construction permits” category to 39th place globally, and maintained in 11th place in the “getting electricity” category, however it dropped by five ranks in the “starting a business” category, to 96th place, and by seven ranks in the “getting credit” category, to 97th place.
Indonesia is expected to introduce new measures to stimulate GDP growth as Jokowi’s second term starts soon – which includes labour, infrastructure and tax reforms.
Due to economic slowdown and strengthening baht, Bank of Thailand had cut its benchmark interest rate to 1.5%. Thailand economy forecasts Thai GDP to grow by 3.3%.
The digital economy in ASEAN is expanding faster than predicted, with the e-commerce market value to exceed Google’s forecasted US$200 billion by 2025.
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