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Thailand posted impressive economic growth in the first half of 2017, proving those predicting an economic slump after Q1 wrong in the process.
During the first three months of 2017, the county saw the quickest rise in key economic figures in the last four years, and official figures released showed that Q1 of this year posted the best results since Q2 of 2016. Although there has been a noticeable decline in spending by the Thai government over the first quarter, an increase in investments, exports and private consumption has served to counterbalance the economic effects.
Tourism and Manufacturing
One of the country’s biggest money makers is the tourism industry, generating approximately 1.64 trillion baht in 2016 (which equates to 11% of Thai GDP). There has also been a 9% increase in visitors based on year-on-year tourism figures over 2015 and 2016.
Within the Thai manufacturing sector, recent survey data from the end of April revealed a slight drop in numbers, which have dwindled over the last four months. However, an inflow of new export orders and overall improvements within the global economy has strengthened Thai manufacturing in a global sense.
With employment levels at a three-month low, though, these results are not necessarily viewed as indicators of long term prosperity, and Thai businesses operating in this sector are understandably cautious. The volatile economy, both in Thailand and on a global scale, makes trading in stocks and shares a more difficult task, although some investors will relish the market activity.
Surrounding Countries/Economic Predictions
Despite the recent upturn in Thailand’s economic fortunes, neighbouring Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines are still all indexed as having better economies, scoring at 5.3%, 6.1% and 6.3% respectively.
With this in mind, it has been predicted that the Thai economy will grow by 3.2% over 2017, but better results have been forecasted for 2018, with growth on course to reach 3.3%. This could well work in favour of those currently investing in Thai stocks and shares, as their value could be set to go up in the near future. Alongside the economic gains, the rate of inflation in Thailand is expected to be between 1.5-2.5%, although the lower end of the scale is more likely according to the IMF report.
Clearly the Thai economy has been doing well overall, although the volatile and unpredictable world economy is proving to be a tough obstacle to overcome. If its tourism industry continues its pattern of growth this year, however, it could more than make up for the manufacturing industry’s lesser results, and propel the country towards greater economic growth overall.