This article appeared in the July 2023 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia

This article is part of Forbes’ Thailand’s richest 2023 coverage.See full list here.

A rapid recovery in tourism is expected to boost GDP growth in 2023, although inflation and the war in Ukraine dampened Thailand’s post-pandemic momentum last year. The country’s tourism ministry estimates that the number of international visitors has nearly tripled to 30 million from a year ago, but arrivals are expected to fall below 2019 levels. GDP growth in 2022 was relatively sluggish at 2.6%, but is expected to expand by 3.6% this year and 3.8% in 2024.

Tourism-led retail sales growth and forecasts of higher consumer spending in Thailand are also expected to improve the economic outlook. However, rising household debt, which reached 87% of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2022, remains a concern, prompting the Bank of Thailand to announce the need to reduce debt levels below 80% in February to reduce financial risks. It suggests. Thailand has one of the highest household debt-to-GDP ratios in Asia (third behind South Korea and Hong Kong), according to Bank for International Settlements data. In welcome news, inflation is expected to ease this year as food and energy prices stabilize following a sharp rise in the cost of living in 2022.

Political uncertainty after Thailand’s recent general election (where the Thai opposition won the most seats in the House of Representatives) weighed on Thai stocks, making the country’s stock market one of the worst-performing Asian exchanges so far this year. became one. Thai voters and global investors are calling for a stable new government and clear economic policies, including debt restructuring measures for sustainable growth.

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