Thailand’s Economy Shrinks Sharpest Since Asian Financial Crisis

Thailand’s economy saw its biggest annual contraction in 22 years and a record fall in the April to June period as the coronavirus pandemic and restriction measures hit tourism, exports and domestic activity, prompting an outlook downgrade.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism and exports, shrank by 12.2 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the worst contraction since the Asian financial crisis in 1998, data from the state planning agency showed.

While Thailand has lifted most lockdown restrictions after seeing no local transmission of the coronavirus for over two months, its economy continues to suffer from an ongoing ban on incoming passenger flights and tepid global demand.

The number of foreign visitors fell to zero between April and June. The planning agency expects only 6.7 million foreign tourists to visit Thailand this year, down 83 percent from last year’s record 39.8 million.

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