Thailand Economy

By: EconomyWatch Content   Date: 31 March 2010

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Thailand is located in the heart of Southeast Asia. With a surface area of approximately 513,000 sq km, Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world in terms of total area. Thailand was also the 21st most populous country, with approximately 64 million people as of December 31, 2008. Of the total population, roughly 2.2 million legal and illegal migrants reside in Thailand.

Thailand Economy: The Story So Far

Thailand experienced the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1995, following which it saw a contraction in economy by 1.9% in 1997. The year uncovered weaknesses in the financial sector and forced the then Prime Minister, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, to float the currency. The country is considered a newly industrialized country, with tourism and exports contributing significantly to the Thai economy.

Thailand's economy started to recover, expanding by 4.2% in 1999 and 4.4% in 2000, primarily as a result of exports. Although the growth weakened to 2.2% in 2001, due to a slowdown in the global economy, strong growth in Asia, a relatively weak baht and increasing domestic spending put the nation back on the path to recovery in the subsequent years.

Thailand Economy: Statistics

Thailand is classified as the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Despite this, Thailand ranks midway in terms of wealth spread in the region, since it is the fourth richest nation, based on GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia.

Thailand's recovery from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998 was primarily dependent on exports, among various other factors.

Thailand’s GDP (purchasing power parity):

  • $541.2 billion (2007)

  • $555.3 billion (2008 estimate)

  • $539.7 billion (2009 estimate) 

The following data maps the performance of various sectors of the GDP as of 2008:

  • Agriculture: 12.3%

  • Industry: 44%

  • Services: 43.7% 

Of about 64 million people (as on December 31, 2008), the labor force stood at 38.24 million in 2009 and was employed in the three main sectors in the following manner as of 2008:

  • Agriculture: 42.4%

  • Industry: 19.7%

  • Services: 37.9%

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