Veerathai Santiprabhob: Thai economy - the current state and the way forward

Keynote address by Dr Veerathai Santiprabhob, Governor of the Bank of Thailand, at the Nomura Investment Forum Asia 2018, Singapore, 5 June 2018.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
06 June 2018

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good morning to you all.

I would like to thank Nomura for inviting me here to share my thoughts on the current state and outlook of the Thai economy.

For today’s talk, I have two main agendas. First, I will talk about the current state of the Thai economy where I will discuss recent developments and its prospect ahead. Second, I will talk about Bank of Thailand’s roles to help transform the Thai economy into one with greater productivity, better economic prospect, and more inclusivity.

As many of you know, the Thai economy has weathered several storms over the past few years. On the external front, changes in the political landscape and macroeconomic policies of major economies have brought about not only financial market volatility throughout the region but also greater uncertainty to global trade. On the domestic front, Thailand experienced major droughts and floods that affected agricultural prices and output, and most significantly the passing of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol a year and a half ago that caused the greatest grief and sorrow among all Thais. Yet the Thai economy stood firm and was able to continue expanding steadily, thanks to both sound economic fundamentals and a well-diversified economy which underpinned Thailand’s resilience against shocks. In 2017, the Thai economy recovered markedly and achieved an annual GDP growth of 3.9 percent. Merchandise exports grew 9.7 percent in USD terms, highest in the past 6 years, and was one of the main drivers of growth. The tourism sector continued to perform well, with the number of tourists reaching new highs of over 35 million. The economy is expected to continue a strong momentum this year, with GDP growth in 2/10 the first quarter registering an impressive rate of 4.8 % year on year, the highest in 5 years, with private investment growth recording a 3-year high.