The second-largest economy in South-east Asia and the 34th-largest worldwide, Thailand had a GDP of $366bn and a per capita income of $5168 in 2012. Over the past decade, the economy has expanded at an average rate of 4.3%. Since 2008, however, there have been large economic swings that have been exacerbated by seasonal changes. As a major exporter, Thailand is exposed to fluctuations in global demand, and weak growth in its key export markets of the EU, the US, and Japan has been a constraint in recent years. Exports contracted by 4% year-on-year by November 2013. With household debt increasing dramatically, the central bank has raised concerns over the pace of loan growth. Over the longer term, the economy will need to boost higher value-added production to drive growth and ensure it is spread more evenly among the population. Political stability will be key to sustaining strong tourism performance and to the public investment that is so crucial for Thailand to achieve its longer-term growth potential.
This chapter contains interviews with Kittiratt Na Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and Kan Trakulhoon, President and CEO, SCG.