Thailand flag Thailand: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, and with an upper-middle income status, serves as an economic anchor for its developing neighbour countries. The country's economy appears resilient and, according to IMF, is expected to advance at a moderate pace in a post-COVID-19 context, despite domestic political uncertainty. Public investment is projected to remain a key driver, increasing over the next few years, in line with the government’s infrastructure plans to attract private investment and a continued improvement of the tourism sector. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country registered negative GDP growth for the first time since 1998, going from +2.3% in 2019 to -6.1% in 2020. In 2021, the GDP growth rate reached an estimated +1.0%. According to the IMF's latest forecast, GDP growth is expected to reach 4.5% in 2022 subject to the post-pandemic global economy recovery (IMF, October 2021).

Inflation went negative to an estimated  -0.8% in 2020 but reached 0,9% in 2021 and is projected to increase to 1.3% in 2022 and 1.1% in 2023 (IMF, October 2021). The general government balance fell to -4.0% of GDP in 2021 and is projected to come back to -0.4% in 2022. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic public debt increased to 58% in 2021 from 49.6% in 2020 and is estimated to approach nearly 60% in 2022. The National Strategic Plan (2017-2036) places the emphasis on improving the business environment, boosting the country's competitiveness and long-term economic performance through the development of rail, road, airport, and electricity infrastructures.

In 2022, the country’s most immediate challenge remains related to the economic, social and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate remained very low in 2021 (1.5%) and is projected to maintain itself at 1% in the next two years (IMF, October 2021). Thailand's official unemployment rate is among the lowest in the world due to low birth rate, lack of social insurance and informal sector employing the bulk of workforce (street vendors, motorbike taxis and self-employed).

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 544.21501.71e546.22585.59617.04
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.3-6.1e1.34.14.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 7,816e7,188e7,8098,3568,792
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) 1.2-1.8e-4.0-0.4-0.4
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 41.049.6e58.059.560.0
Inflation Rate (%) 0.7-0.8e1.23.52.8
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 1.0e2.0e1.51.01.0
Current Account (billions USD) 38.2117.60e-2.6612.3517.27
Current Account (in % of GDP) 7.03.5e-0.52.12.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Thailand Baht (THB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 47.6643.6843.1138.7540.12

Source: World Bank, 2015

 

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Latest Update: June 2022

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