% annual growth rate:
|1981 – 2020||11.86%||8.38%|
|1981 – 1990||19.67%||12.81%|
|1991 - 2000||13.13%||8.54%|
|2001 - 2010||7.71%||7.92%|
|2011 - 2020||6.95%||4.26%|
Sources: M3 from Bank of Thailand website and nominal GDP from IMF, as at July 2021
The medium-term relationship between money and nominal GDP growth in Thailand, 1981-2020
Five-year moving averages of annual % changes, with 1983 being the start of the first five-year period
Comment on monetary trends in Thailand
Thailand opened up to international trade in the 19th century. Until recently, its main export was rice but now the industrial sector is nearly five times bigger than the agricultural. The Thai economy is very export-orientated and it has grown to become the second largest in south east Asia after Indonesia. The country was badly affected by the financial crisis which hit a number of Asian nations in 1997 and suffered from a recession. Since then, however, it has returned to growth without suffering from anything like as high a level of inflation as other developing economies. After a short-lived peak in the aftermath of the 1997 crisis, growth in consumer prices has stayed below 10% ever since. Indeed, the country suffered a bout of deflation during the Great Recession of 2007-9 and again in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Central Bank of Thailand was established in 1942. It is entirely state-owned. Its roles includes the formulation of monetary policy and the promotion of monetary stability. Since 2000, the bank has operated a fairly flexible - and successful - inflation targeting strategy and the current target is for inflation to remain within a band of 1% and 3%. It also acts as lender of last resort for the country's commercial banking sector.
In May 2020, the Bank of Thailand responded to the coronavirus pandemic by cutting interest rates to a record low of 0.5%. The economy contracted by 6.1% during the year, with the important tourist sector being particularly hard hit. Until April 2021, there had been relatively few cases on the virus in Thailand itself, but in common with a number of other Asian countries, the situation has deteriorated in recent months and only modest growth can be expected this year.