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Thailand Main Page

 

Thailand's Economy 

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The Thai economy has traditionally relied upon the export of agricultural products as its chief means of support, particularly rice.  This dependence upon one product caused Thailand great variations in prosperity due to the change in world rice prices and fluctuations in harvest amounts.  As a way of controlling this, the Thai government started some programs to help balance or stabilize rice harvests even during periods of drought or scant rainfall.

Many financial institutions in Thailand during 1997 were close to bankruptcy, although Thailand has been considered one of the most prosperous Asian countries, due to attaining bad debts during the successful years of the 1980s and early 1990s.  The Thai currency, the baht, was losing a battle against the US dollar, while investors started losing their confidence in it.  

Things escalated to the point that businesses started failing, which brought up the unemployment rate and it even started affecting other Southeast Asian nations' stock markets and currencies.  Thai did receive help from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to help stabilize their economy and they were open to the changes suggested, such as budget cuts, higher taxes and closing down those financial institutions that weren't stable. 


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Economy - overview:
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2008 - averaging more than 4% per year - as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports - mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry - continue to drive the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand's exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.2%. In 2010, Thailand's economy expanded 7.6%, its fastest pace since 1995, as exports rebounded from their depressed 2009 level. Antigovernment protests during March-May and the country's polarized political situation had - at most - a temporary impact on business and consumer confidence. Although tourism was hit hard during the protests, its quick recovery helped boost consumer confidence to new highs. Moreover, business and investor sentiment remained buoyant as Thailand's stock market grew almost 5% during the three-month period. The economy probably will continue to experience high grow well into 2011.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$580.3 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$539.3 billion (2009 est.)
$551.5 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$312.6 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
-2.2% (2009 est.)
2.5% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$8,100 (2009 est.)
$8,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10.4%
industry: 45.6%
services: 44% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
38.7 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 42.4%
industry: 19.7%
services: 37.9% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate:
1.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
1.5% (2009)
Population below poverty line:
9.6% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 33.7% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
43 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 50
42 (2002)
Investment (gross fixed):
24.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
Budget:
revenues: $56.33 billion
expenditures: $56.87 billion (FY10 est.)
Public debt:
42.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
44.9% of GDP (2009)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
-0.9% (2009 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
1.75% (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 134
1.25% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.1% (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 140
5.96% (31 December 2009)
Stock of narrow money:
$38 billion (31 December 2010 est)
$34.26 billion (31 December 2009 est)
Stock of broad money:
$354.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$309.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$336 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
$292.4 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$138.2 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 35
$102.6 billion (31 December 2008)
$196 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Industries:
tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer
Industrial production growth rate:
14.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Electricity - production:
148.2 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
Electricity - consumption:
134.4 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
Electricity - exports:
846 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - imports:
2.313 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Oil - production:
380,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
Oil - consumption:
356,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
Oil - exports:
269,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
Oil - imports:
1.695 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
Oil - proved reserves:
430 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
Natural gas - production:
28.76 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Natural gas - consumption:
37.31 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
Natural gas - imports:
8.55 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
Natural gas - proved reserves:
342 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
Current account balance:
$12.29 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
$21.86 billion (2009)
Exports:
$191.3 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$151.9 billion (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances
Exports - partners:
US 10.9%, China 10.6%, Japan 10.3%, Hong Kong 6.2%, Australia 5.6%, Malaysia 5%, Singapore 4.97% (2009)
Imports:
$156.9 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$118 billion (2009 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Imports - partners:
Japan 18.7%, China 12.7%, Malaysia 6.4%, US 6.3%, UAE 5%, Singapore 4.3%, South Korea 4.1% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$176.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
$138.4 billion (31 December 2009)
Debt - external:
$82.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
$70.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$117.9 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$109.6 billion (31 December 2009)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$20.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
$18.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
baht per US dollar - 31.663 (2010), 34.286 (2009), 33.37 (2008), 34.52 (2007), 37.882 (2006)
 

 

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