Thailand 3rd most competitive country in ASEAN
Thailand was ranked the third most competitive country in terms of economic and government performance in South East Asia and the 27th most competitive in the world by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) Secretary-General said the Swiss institute this year evaluated the economic competitiveness of 63 countries and ranked Thailand 27th, one position higher than last year.
The evaluation took into consideration economic indicators, government efficiency, private sector efficiency, and the condition of the country’s infrastructure. Companies operating in Thailand indicated that the country’s macroeconomics have improved and expressed confidence in state services and Thai laws, which contribute to the ease of doing business. Singapore was the most competitive country in ASEAN followed by Malaysia. IMD data suggests that Thailand must push for more foreign investment, while improving access to capital and infrastructure quality.
Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Phitsanulok, Nan, Loei, Phetchabun, Buri Ram, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi, Trat, Chantaburi, Chaiyaphum, Surin, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Sa Kaeo, Rayong, Ranong Trang, Chumphon and Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Satun and Phattalung are the twelve “second tier” provinces that the government will be promoting in next year’s Diversity Amazing tourism campaign, highlighting their unique cultures, handicrafts and natural beauties. The government promoted the “Twelve Cities You Don’t Want to Miss” in 2015 and the cities included in the list saw a 20 percent increase in visitors during the year increasing tourism revenues by 11 percent. The original twelve cities were Lampang, Phetchabun, Nan, Buri Ram, Loei, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi, Trat, Chantaburi, Trang, Chumphon and Nakhon Sri Thammarat. Ubon Ratchathani has also seen growth in tourism and is now linked by air with Chiang Mai as well as Hat Yai and Surat Thani. The province saw a 4.5 percent increase in tourists in the first quarter of the year. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports predicts the province will receive 3 million visitors this year.
Kasikorn Bank (KBank) has increased its GDP growth estimate for this year to 3.4 percent due to the growing export sector and increasing revenue of the agricultural sector. This is up from the previously predicted 3.3 percent as the bank sees the expanding export sector, which is expected to grow by 3.8 percent and increasing agricultural revenue caused by this year’s higher agricultural production as positive factors for growth. The bank predicts that the baht will remain at 34.20 baht to the US dollar before depreciating to 34.50 baht by the end of the year, the bank also predicts that the Bank of Thailand will maintain the policy interest rate at 1.5 percent until the end of the year.