The region’s second largest market, Thailand, expanded by 5.2% in the fourth quarter after declining by almost 15% in the first nine months of the year. Buyers rushed into the market in the final months of the year ahead of scheduled increases in excise taxes on key models. The industry remains downbeat about the market’s growth prospects this year, however, reflecting the sluggish domestic economy and the recent tax increases.
Myanmese and Thai militaries are moving in opposite directions. Until they both yield to civilian politicians, Asia will be performing below its potential, to the detriment of the world and especially to the people of both countries. In Thailand, previously Asia’s tiger-cub economy, the military rulers seem determined to show the incompetence of armed forces in running a modern economy.