Forecasts for Thai economic growth this year have been widely slashed to less than 2%, some much lower, reflecting growing gloom about the trajectory of an economy battling the third wave of COVID-19 and resulting lockdowns and social distancing measures.
The good news is the rollout of vaccines and fresh economic stimulus plans as well as a modest recovery in trade and total investment in the first quarter. But pandemic-related risks persist amid the slow pace and relatively low rate of vaccinations – which continue to weigh on consumer confidence and consumption.
Despite new momentum towards reopening Thailand’s borders, virus-related concerns will continue to keep the number of foreign tourists below earlier projections, possibly as low as 250,000 to 500,000 international visitors this year.
What is the way forward for Thailand, and how strong is the case for a radical overhaul of economic and development policies?
Some, including the United Nations’ ESCAP and the World Bank have urged more attention to improving access to health care and social protection, closing the digital divide, improving education and strengthening climate and clean energy actions.
Such measures, they argue, would lead to lower poverty rates, reduced income inequality, lower carbon emissions and better air quality. But could they also rebuild investor confidence in Thailand, which last year sank to a new low?
Join us online or in the clubhouse (strictly limited numbers) to hear our speakers:
–Dr Pavida Pananond, Professor of International Business, Thammasat Business School, Thammasat University
–Dr Kirida Bhaopichitr, Director of research, Thailand Development Research Institute
–Khun Burin Adulwattana, Chief economist, Bangkok Bank,
–Dr Manop Udomkerdmongkol, Economist, Office of United Nations Resident Coordinator, Thailand
-Moderator: Gwen Robinson, past president, FCCT
The event will be broadcasted live on FCCT Facebook page.
Some participants will join the meeting online. Booking is required to be part of the live audience in the club, which will be strictly limited to 12 people maximum in order to conform with current social distancing requirements. Admission is free.