1. Market Research
Country Report Thailand August 2017

Country Report Thailand August 2017

  • August 2017
  • ID: 1698122
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun will focus on insulating his position from any future erosion of power. Nonetheless, the monarch's prominent place in Thai society will slowly diminish in coming years.
  • The risk of major clashes between Thailand's rival political camps has faded following public approval of a new constitution in a referendum held in August 2016. Criticism of the junta by political parties will continue, however.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the next election to be held in 2019 at the earliest. The timing of the vote will be partly contingent on when the junta completes the drafting of "organic laws" for the new constitution.
  • The government's top policy priority will be to strengthen economic growth by boosting public investment (especially in large infrastructure projects), expediting foreign-investment approvals and stimulating consumer demand.
  • Real GDP growth will average 3% a year in 2017-21. Despite diminished political uncertainty, private investment will be below par as prospects for both domestic and external demand remain underwhelming.
  • The current account will remain in the black in the forecast period, aided by tourism revenue, but the size of the surplus will trend downwards as a percentage of GDP in the initial years owing to external headwinds.


  • On July 19th a criminal court in the capital, Bangkok, found 62 people guilty of crimes related to the trafficking of ethnic-minority Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Malaysia via Thailand. The convicted included a high-ranking military officer and a former mayor from the southern province of Songkhla.
  • The military government invoked the constitution on July 4th to delay the implementation of a labour law for 180 days, after tens of thousands of migrant workers had left the country in response to the stricter enforcement of legislation against undocumented and illegal migrant labour.
  • On July 11th the cabinet approved the purchase of eight supersonic T-50 trainer jet aircraft worth Bt8.8bn (US$260m) from South Korea. It came after the army chief, General Chalermchai Sitthisart, announced in late June that the US had approved an order for four Black Hawk military helicopters.
  • According to data from the Office of Industrial Economics, the manufacturing production index rose by 1.4% year on year in non-seasonally adjusted terms in May, the strongest outturn since January. This compares with a decline of 1.8% in April.

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