Economy overview: After hopes raised by the world’s highest economic growth rates – averaging almost 9% annually in 1985-95 – increased speculative pressure on the Thai currency in 1997 led to a crisis that exposed the weakness of the financial sector and forced the government to let go baht course. Long artificially buoyed at 25 baht to the dollar, the baht bottomed out at 56 baht to the dollar in January 1998, and the economy lost 10.2% that year. In 1999, the Thai economy began to recover and grew by 4.2%, about the same level of growth was maintained in 2000, mainly due to the growth of exports (by 20% in 2000). A weak financial sector and slow pace of corporate debt restructuring, together with lower demand in foreign markets, could lead to slower growth in 2001. See topb2bwebsites.com to know more about Thailand in 2004.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $413 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 4.2% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $6,700 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 13%; industry: 40%; services: 47% (1999 est.).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 12.5% (1998 est.).
Percentage distribution of family income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: 2.5%; 10% of the wealthiest families: 37.1% (1992).
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 2.1% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 32.6 million people (1997 est.).
Employment structure: agriculture 54%, industry 15%, services 31% (1996 est.).
Unemployment rate: 3.7% (2000 est.).
Budget: revenues: $19 billion; expenditures: $21 billion, including capital investment – NA (2000 est.).
Spheres of economy: tourism; the production of textiles and clothing, the processing of agricultural products, the production of beverages, tobacco, cement, the jewelry industry; production of electrical household appliances and components, production of computers and components, integrated circuits, furniture, plastic products; the world’s second largest producer of tungsten and the third largest producer of tin.
Growth in industrial production: 3% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 89.431 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 91.17%; hydropower: 3.81%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 5.02% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 83.991 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 200 million kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 1.02 billion kWh (1999)
Agricultural products: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans.
Exports: $68.2 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Export items: computers and components, textiles, microcircuits, rice.
Export partners: USA 22%, Japan 14%, Singapore 9%, Hong Kong 5%, Netherlands 4%, UK 4%, Malaysia 4% (1999).
Import: $61.8 billion (free on board, 2000 est.).
Imports: means of production, raw materials and semi-finished products, consumer goods, fuel.
Import partners: Japan 26%, USA 14%, Singapore 6%, Malaysia 5%, Taiwan 5% (1999).
External debt: $90 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid recipient: $131.5 million (1998 est.)
Donor of economic aid:
Currency code: TNV.
Exchange rate: THB/USD – 43.078 (January 2001), 40.112 (2000), 37.814 (1999), 41.359 (1998), 31.364 (1997), 25.343 (1996).
Fiscal year: October 1-September 30.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 5.4 million (1998).
Mobile cell phones: 2.3 million (1998).
Telephone system: the public telephone network is quite satisfactory, but due to the economic downturn, there is not enough investment for technological renewal; government communications are provided by a multi-channel cable and microwave radio relay network; internal: microwave radio relay and multi-channel cable network; an internal satellite system is being developed; international: satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 204, FM – 334, shortwave – 6 (1999).
Radio receivers: 13.96 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 5 (all in Bangkok; and 131 repeaters) (1997).
Televisions: 15.19 million (1997)
Internet Country Code: th
Internet Service Providers: 15 (2000).
Number of users: 1 million (2000).
Transport Railways: total: 3,940 km; narrow gauge: 3,940 km (1,000 m gauge) (99 km dual gauge).
Roads: total: 64,600 km; coated: 62,985 km; unpaved: 1,615 km (1996 est.).
Waterways: 4,000 km of main waterways; 3,701 km are navigable for vessels with a draft of up to 0.9 m all year round; numerous shallow waterways suitable only for small boats,
Pipelines: for petroleum products – 67 km; for natural gas – 350 km.
Ports and harbors: Bangkok, Laemchabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, Siracha, Songkhla.
Merchant navy: in total: 294 ships (of 1,000 tons displacement or more) with a total displacement of 1,845,972 gross register tons / 2,923,914 long tons of gross tonnage; different types of ships: bulk carriers – 36, cargo ships – 133, chemical tankers -3, combination carriers – 1, container ships – 14, liquefied gas tankers – 20, multipurpose heavy cargo ships – 3, passenger ships -1, oil tankers -61, refrigerated ships -13, ferries – 2, coastal passenger ships – 2, specialized tankers – 5 (2000 est.).
Airports: 110 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 59; over 3,047 m: 6; from 2438 to 3047 m: 11; from 1524 to 2437 m:21; from 914 to 1523 m:17; less than 914 m: 4 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 51; from 1524 to 2437 m:1; from 914 to 1,523 m: 16; less than 914 m: 34 (2000 est.). Helipads: 2 (2000 est.).
Arms of the Armed Forces: Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (including the Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force, Paramilitary Forces.
Enlistment age: 18 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 17,717,268 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: men aged 15 to 49: 10,646,818 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 567,659 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $1.775 billion (2000)
Military spending as part of GDP: 1.4% (2000).
International issues International disputes: part of the border with Laos is not defined; part of the border with Cambodia is not defined; border skirmishes with Myanmar occur sporadically over border disputes with Shan rebels operating in the border region.
Illicit drugs: minor producer of opium, heroin and marijuana; trafficking of heroin from Myanmar and Laos to the international drug market; the implementation of the program of destruction of crops has led to a reduction in the area of cultivation of cannabis and the partial displacement of this production in neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has declined due to eradication efforts; in addition, the country is a center for laundering drug proceeds; small production of amphetamines for regional consumption; domestic consumption of methamphetamines is on the rise.