Thai Economy grew 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter
Thailand’s economy grew faster in the fourth quarter, up 3.7 percent year on year and up from the 3.2 percent in the third quarter. This was up from estimates of 3.6 percent growth in the fourth quarter. The economy grew at 4.1 percent for 2018 compared to 4 percent the previous year. Although exports slowed due to US – China trade concerns and a strong baht, private domestic consumption and investment drove fourth quarter growth. New business registrations also grew, jumping 78 percent year on year in January led by logistics and transport from active investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor. New business registrations hit 7,311 in January 2019, compared to 4,102 in December and 6,965 a year ago in January 2018. The top three sectors for new business registration in January were building and construction which saw 620 new registrations, property with 386 and logistics and transport with 184 in part due to growing online trade.
Gold and jewelry exports are expected to buck the trend and see growth this year with overall gem and jewelry shipments (including gold) will grow by 1-3% this year from last year's US$ 2 billion, which was up 4.7% from 2017. Gem and jewelry exports rank third in the country's total export value after automotive/parts and computers/parts. The industry employs more than 700,000 people and ranks number one in global silver jewelry exports. The country also has a large export market of colored stones to China and is a leading gold jewelry exporter.
Thailand ranked number one for mobile banking users, second for ownership of cryptocurrency, and third in mobile commerce in the Global Digital Report 2019. The report shows that there are 49 million mobile social media users in Thailand, or 71% penetration of mobile users, and 51 million active internet social media users. The country has ] 92 million mobile subscribers, 133% penetration, and 55 million active mobile internet users. Thailand ranked above Sweden and Turkey with internet banking service access at 74 percent and second in cryptocurrency ownership at 9.9 percent. Thailand came in third in mobile commerce with 71 percent of internet users purchasing something with their phone and fifth in overall e-commerce with 80 percent purchasing online through any device. The top five most active social media and messenger platforms for internet users are Facebook (93%), YouTube (91%), Line (84%), Facebook Messenger (72%) and Instagram (65%) and the country's average daily time spent on the internet via any device is 9.11 hours. Thailand has 50 million Facebook users, 13 million on Instagram, 4.7 million on Twitter, and 2.4 million on LinkedIn.