Thailand flag Thailand: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, and with an upper-middle income status, serves as an economic anchor for its developing neighbour countries. The country's economy appears resilient and, according to the IMF, growth was estimated at 2.7% in 2023, slightly higher than 2.6% one year earlier, as the contraction in investment and goods exports caused by the slowdown in external demand partially offset the robust private consumption growth following the tourism recovery. The growth projection for 2024 stands at 3.2%, buoyed by enhancements in external demand and sustained robust growth in private consumption, followed by 3.1% in 2022 (IMF).

Concerning public finances, the IMF anticipates that the general government deficit will rise to 1% of GDP in 2024, up from an estimated 0.3% in 2023. This increase is attributed to heightened expenditure, accommodating initiatives like the digital cash handout scheme and other measures endorsed by coalition parties during the election campaign. These expenditures are expected to outstrip steady revenue collection as growth strengthens. In 2025, the IMF projects a modest increase in the fiscal deficit to 1.2%, mainly driven by sustained social and capital spending. The debt-to-GDP ratio increased to 61.4% last year, from 60.5% in 2022, and is expected to follow an upward trend in 2024 (62.9%). Thailand's robust external position continues to be a fundamental strength, offering a substantial buffer against tightened global financial conditions and geopolitical risks. In 2023, headline inflation reached 1.5%, benefiting from ongoing efforts to maintain low energy prices and enhancements in global supply chains. As growth strengthens in 2024, headline inflation is anticipated to experience a slight uptick to 1.6%.

The unemployment rate remained very low in 2023 (1.2%) and is projected to stay around 1% over the forecast horizon (IMF). Thailand's official unemployment rate is among the lowest in the world due to the low birth rate, lack of social insurance and informal sector employing the bulk of the workforce (street vendors, motorbike taxis and self-employed). The country’s average GDP per capita (PPP) was estimated at USD 20,672 in 2023 by the World Bank. Thailand has made the most progress in ASEAN on eradicating poverty in recent years, with the poverty ratio standing at 6.3% of the population (Asian Development Bank, latest data available).

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 495.65514.95548.89573.39605.76
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 7,0737,3377,8128,1538,608
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.1-1.6-2.1-2.0-1.8
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 60.562.464.565.565.8
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -15.746.579.0611.4312.93
Current Account (in % of GDP) -

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Thailand Baht (THB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 47.6643.6843.1138.7540.12

Source: World Bank, 2015


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Latest Update: July 2024