Thailand/Economy

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Economy - overview: After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1995 - averaging almost 9% annually - increased speculative pressure on Thailand's currency in 1997 led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the government to float the baht. Long pegged at 25 to the dollar, the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by nearly 10% that same year. Thailand entered a recovery stage in 1999; preliminary estimates are that the economy expanded by about 4% - most forecasters expect similar growth in 2000. Beginning in 1999 the baht stabilized and inflation and interest rates began coming down. The CHUAN government has cooperated closely with the IMF and adhered to its mandated recovery program, including passage of new bankruptcy and foreclosure laws. The regional recovery boosted exports, while fiscal stimulus buoyed domestic demand. While slow progress has been made in recapitalizing the financial sector, tough measures - such as implementing a privatization plan and forcing the private sector to restructure - remain undone.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $388.7 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,400 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 39%
services: 49% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: 12.5% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 37.1% (1992)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.4% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 32.6 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 54%, industry 15%, services 31% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: 4.5% (1998 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $20 billion
expenditures: $23 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

Industries: tourism; textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing, such as jewelry; electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer

Industrial production growth rate: 12.6% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 85 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 91.44%
hydro: 8.56%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 80.293 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - exports: 138 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 700 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans

Exports: $58.5 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: computers and parts, textiles, rice

Exports - partners: US 22.3%, Japan 13.7%, Singapore 8.6%, Hong Kong 5.1%, Netherlands 4.0%, UK 3.9%, Malaysia 3.3%, China 3.2%, Taiwan 3.2%, Germany 2.9% (1998)

Imports: $45 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels

Imports - partners: Japan 23.6%, US 14.0%, Singapore 5.5%, Malaysia 5.1%, Taiwan 5.2%, Germany 4.2%, China 4.2%, South Korea 3.5%, Oman 2.6%, Indonesia 2.1% (1998)

Debt - external: $80 billion (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $1.732 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 baht (B) = 100 satang

Exchange rates: baht (B) per US$1 - 37.349 (January 2000), 37.844 (1999), 41.359 (1998), 31.364 (1997), 25.343 (1996), 24.915 (1995)

Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September