The Bank of Thailand (BoT) slashed again Thailand’s economic growth forecast for 2021 for the second time this year targeting a mere 1 to 2% growth, depending mainly on the procurement and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The central bank’s previous estimate of GDP’s growth was set at 3% before the beginning of the third wave of Covid-19 in April, but it now includes three different scenarios targeting between 1 and 2% growth depending on the country’s vaccination drive.
For the base scenario, the bank predicts a GDP growth of 2%, assuming that vaccine procurement and distribution reaches 100 million doses this year and leads to herd immunity in the first quarter of 2022.
Worst case scenario could drag down Thailand’s growth to 1%
But if the vaccine rollout sinks down to only 60+ millions, than Thailand’s growth could tank to only 1%, leaving the country with less than a million tourist.
Last week the Finance Ministry has also reduced its 2021 economic growth forecast for a second time to 2.3% from 2.8% growth, after a third wave of coronavirus infections struck Thailand this month, slashing its forecast for the number of foreign tourists to only 2 million this year from 5 million it had predicted three months ago.
Business leaders are now openly criticising Thailand’s slow pace in vaccination compared with its Southeast Asian neighbours. A recent assessment by The Economist placed Thailand 124th out of 154 countries in the percentage of adults who had received the first dose of a vaccine.
William Heinecke, founder and chairman of Minor International, a major hotel and restaurant operator in Thailand said “We will lose tourism trade to Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore because they have more efficient vaccination programs.” according to a Nikkei report.
Thailand is now lagging behind many countries in vaccine procurement, including most of ASEAN.
“The Thai government has no excuses as other countries have bet on many vaccine brands and are now proving they can manage risks much better than Thailand,”Pipat Luengnaruemitchai, chief economist at Kiatnakin Phatra Securities
“This suggests the government has failed in crisis management by depending too much on one vaccine brand, AstraZeneca, and one production plant in Thailand,” said Pipat Luengnaruemitchai, chief economist at Kiatnakin Phatra Securities to ThaiPBS.
This view is now increasingly shared by many other personalities in Thailand, like Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, former leader of disbanded Future Forward Party, who was charged with lese-majesté when he openly criticized the government over vaccine supplies on his Facebook account.
Social media up in arms
As Thailand struggles to contain a third wave of the pandemic, discontent is now getting bolder on social media: a group called Mor Mai Thon (“Doctors won’t tolerate this”) has started an online campaign demanding the dismissal of Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul , leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, a key member of the ruling coalition.
The hashtag #ย้ายประเทศกันเถอะ (Let’s move countries) trended on Twitter and other social media to point out how Thailand has been surpassed by regional neighbours in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Thai Facebook page “Move, Let’s Move Our Hips” โยกย้ายมาส่ายสะโพกโยกย้าย (renamed from “Let’s Emigrate” #ย้ายประเทศกันเถอะ) has already reached 1 million membership, giving advice to young Thais who wish to leave and work abroad.
Thailand relaxes COVID-19 measures to help revive economy
During the past couple weeks, new infection cases have been down from roughly 20,000 daily cases to 17,000 -19,000. Moreover, the number of daily discharges is exceeding infections, which has led to the conclusion that the situation is improving.
Thailand relaxed more virus related social curbs on September 1st, in dozens of cities including Bangkok, in a move that may indicate that the country’s economy, hit hard by COVID-19 will soon revive, lead by the export sector and sound financial fundamentals.(more…)
Southeast Asia to relinquish its lead over Latin America says Moody’s
While the emerging economies of Southeast Asia have outperformed their counterparts in Latin America for most of the past two decades, their lead will slide in the next few quarters as Southeast Asian governments clamp down to fight the pandemic’s lingering second and third waves.
The Delta surge is casting larger clouds over the global recovery and emerging markets are in the thick of it. Despite the ebbing of the coronavirus variant in India, where it first emerged, its spread in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East has steepened the road to recovery in these regions.(more…)
Thailand Approves Package to Attract Wealthy Foreigners and Professionals
Thailand’s Cabinet has approved an economic stimulus and investment promotion package aimed at attracting wealthy foreigners and highly skilled professionals...
The Role of Telemedicine Today: During and Beyond the COVID-19
Lockdowns, quarantine periods, and hospitals fast filling to the brink needed the medical community to come up with solutions fast....
Malaysia, Thailand banks to join the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework
Banking institutions from Thailand and Malaysia are invited to join the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework and indicate their interest to...
Climate Change Could Force 49 Million People to Migrate in East Asia and the Pacific
Out-migration hotspots in agricultural areas of central Thailand and Myanmar coincide with areas expected to see declines in both water...
Thailand BOI Approves Measures to Support Carbon Reduction
greenhouse gas emission as well as an enhanced scheme for electric vehicles and measures to mitigate Covid-19 impacts and support...