Thailand's economic recovery boosted by China's impetus: Thai economist

Xinhua, July 22, 2023

This aerial photo taken on Dec. 29, 2021 shows the Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone located at the east coast of Thailand. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

Thailand's economy is on the path to recovery in 2023, and China's role as a significant driver is evident, a Thai economist said.

China's economic growth and the deepening of cooperation between China and Thailand in industries contribute to maintaining the recovery momentum of the Thai economy and help Thailand mitigate the risks posed by factors such as slowing global economic growth, Kirida Bhaopichitr, director for the Economic Intelligence Service of the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Kirida noted factors such as slowing global economic growth, increased uncertainty in the U.S. economy, geopolitical risks, fluctuation of the Thai baht exchange rate, and natural disasters all exert pressure on Thailand's exports. It is expected that Thailand's exports will continue to contract in the foreseeable future.

Kirida stressed China's importance as a significant trading partner, a major source of foreign direct investment, and a significant contributor to tourist arrivals for both Thailand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China's economic growth will significantly contribute to Thailand's economic expansion, he added.

Chinese tourists visit the Grand Palace scenic spot in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 7, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

According to the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), investment promotion applications in the first half of 2023 have seen a remarkable 70 percent increase year-on-year, with China being the largest source of FDI applications with total investment pledges of 61.5 billion baht for 132 projects, mostly in electronics parts manufacturing.

Chinese investments drive the growth of industries such as electrical vehicles and parts, electronics and information technology (IT) in Thailand, Kirida said.

Private consumption has exhibited consistent growth, supported by a recovering labor market, leading to improved consumer confidence across all occupational groups, said the Thai economist.

As the mainstay industry of Thailand, the tourism sector has recently shown a sustained recovery trend, with the number of foreign tourists, including Chinese tourists, surpassing expectations and providing a strong impetus for Thailand's economic recovery, Kirida said.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand reveals that from Jan. 1 to May 18, Chinese tourists traveling in Thailand surpassed 1 million people, an increase of 98 percent year-on-year. (1 Thai baht equals 0.029 U.S. dollar)