Business leaders paint gloomy outlook for Thai economy
Thailand’s economy will contact between 5%-8% in 2020, predicted the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Despite the easing of lockdown measures introduced to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the weak purchasing power of households and businesses saw most economic indicators in the country decline in May and June.
On June 15, Thailand had lifted a nationwide curfew that had lasted for more two months, and on July 1, pubs and bars reopened with restrictions.
Thailand will also gradually allow foreign travelers to enter the country in order to boost one of the key pillars of the country’s economy. While Thai businesses are likely to welcome these measures, the road to recovery appears to be a long one.
Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said, “The economy is not good yet and job losses will increase. Although business started to reopen, there is no income yet.”
Earlier this year, Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council had warned that 8.4 million people in the country are at risk of losing their jobs, particularly those in the tourism industry.
Tourism contributes about 18% of Thailand’s GDP, of which 12% or two trillion baht (UDS$66 billion) is contributed by international tourists.
To mitigate the impact of a sluggish tourism industry, the Thai Commerce of Chamber has been pushing the Thai government to participate in Asia-Pacific free trade agreement talks to boost the economy.
Thailand is considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), despite domestic opposition claiming that participation in CPTPP will have a detrimental effect on Thailand’s farm and healthcare sectors.