King Bhumibol’s legacy: Thailand’s economy goes stronger

Three weeks after the death of the beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand is still a country in mourning and it will be so for at least the next year. For the Thai people, the loss of their revered monarch symbolised the biggest shock the Kingdom suffered in the past 70 years. But while the people are in mourning, life still goes on, and the legacy of His Majesty the King endures. While some analysts envisioned though months for Thailand’s economy, the figures in the field present a different, solid reality.

Following the death of the King, Thailand’s market remained stable. The Finance Ministry has said that the growth is predicted to stay at the 3,3% rate, although the country was affected by a wave of lower consumption. But that, experts say, is normal: Thailand mourns, and people from all walks of life were affected by the loss of their much loved monarch.

“Thailand is grieving. Thailand is going through a very important transition. But I am confident that Thais and Thailand will come out of this stronger, fitter and more competitive, said Mr. Darren Buckley, countrz manager at Citi Thailand, in an interview with Bangkok Post reporters.

Thai people light candles outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, as some thousands of Thai mourners thronged Saturday to the palace complex where the body of King Bhumibol Adulyadej is being kept, as the government said a regent would be the caretaker of the monarchy until the crown prince takes over following his father's death. (Wason Wanichakorn)

In the weeks that followed the death of the King, low consumption was matched by higher than expected exports and the market remained stable thanks to domestic ctock purchases, although foreign investors sold off half a billion US dollars in stock value. The balance and the high prospects for the economic future of Thailand is another legacy His Majesty King Bhumibol left with his people.

“(…) it really is quite remarkable how under his reign, the King was able to steer and to navigate through very difficult times to bring such a high level of relative stability and prosperity to Thailand. And that’s a remarkable legacy. It’s a legacy that will live on long into the future,” added Mr. Buckley for the Bangkok Post.

And the numbers support this legacy and its effect on the Kingdom’s economy. Citi Thailand has predicted an economic growth of 3,3% in 2016 and an increase to 3,8% in 2017. The measures taken by the Government helped the projection: investments in infrastructure and fiscal stimulus has aimed to encourage medium and long term growth, while the initiatives taken in innovation and digital areas will surely make Thailand an attractive country for outside investors in the future.

“Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, representing the government, says that this is a time for unity. Absolutely it’s the time for unity. It’s a great opportunity to bring all Thais together to respect the legacy of His Majesty, to think about his achievements, to think about the morality that he brought to the Kingdom, to think about the way he chose to guide and lead a path,” concluded Mr. Buckley.

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