|Capital and Intermediate goods|
Formerly known as Siam, Thailand is a developing country composed of 76 provinces, located at the center of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula, with a size approximately 513,120 km². As the 21st most populous country, it has over 68 million people, and Bangkok is its capital. Thailand shares its borders with Myanmar and Laos at the North, Laos and Cambodia at the East, and Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia at the South.
Thailand became a democratic country after the "democratic revolution" in 1932, led by Westernized bureaucrats and a tradition-oriented military. Its culture is deeply influenced by Theravada Buddhist (95%), which plays a key role in people's day-to-day life.
Thailand has an emerging economy with an annual GDP growth rate of 3.9% (2018). It is known for its great food, martial arts, beaches, and many temples, also many well-known islands, while majority of its people work in the agriculture sector. Thai cuisine blends sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter tastes deliciously with most meat and seafood.
Thailand's financial system has four main institutional categories: the banking sector, the capital market, specialized financial institutions and non-financial intermediaries. The first two categories are essential in maintaining its financial system while the specialized financial institutions provide funding for specific developmental purposes, by following the government policy and the last supplements the others.
The Banking sector is the primacy of its financial system. Bank of Thailand is its national central bank and focuses on strengthening its financial system to serve its economy through fundamental technological improvements. Financial Sector Master Plan has been proposed for a structural reform, in order to improve its economic situation to become healthier.
In 2018, according to the World Bank, Thailand had a GDP of 16.316 trillion baht (USD 504.9 billion), the 8th largest economy of Asia. Listed with the lowest unemployment rate worldwide by 1 percent in the first season of 2014, most of its population are employed in the agricultural sector or on other vulnerable employment.
As the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, Thailand's economy is expected to have 3.8% growth in 2019.
|Agriculture||Rice, coconuts, shrimp, corn, rubber, soybeans, sugarcane and tapioca|
|Manufacture||Automobiles, Electronics, Energy.|
|Services (Including financial)||52.4% (2012 estimate)|
|PTT||Oil & Gas|
|Siam Cement Group||Conglomerates|
|Thai Oil||Oil & Gas|
|Central Group||Retail, Hospitality|
|Kasikornbank||Banking, Financial services|
|Capital and Intermediate goods|
Modern Thailand capital market emerged in two phases. First, the privately-owned Bangkok Stock Exchange operated from 1962 to the early 1970s. National Economic and Social Development Plan (1967-1971) is the second phase which established the Securities Exchange of Thailand to support its industrialization and economic development.
The stock exchange market began in July 1962, when a private group created an established stock exchange as a limited partnership. This group later became a limited company and changed its name to "Bangkok Stock Exchange Co., Ltd" (BSE) in 1963. Despite its well-intended foundation, the BSE was insufficiently active with a turnover of 160 million baht in 1968, an all-time low of only 26 million baht in 1972, and finally stopped operations in early 1970s.
Later, the concept of an orderly supported securities market in Thailand attracted considerable attention. The National Economic and Social Development Plan introduced a plan for the endowment of such a market, with suitable facilities and methods for security trading. In May 1974, legislation established the Securities Exchange of Thailand (SET). In April 1975, the Securities Exchange of Thailand officially started trading, and changed its name to "The Stock Exchange of Thailand" (SET) later.
The SET has achieved the establishment of fully computerized trading since April 1991, through the Automated System for the Stock Exchange of Thailand (ASSET), which supports trading to become efficient, equitable, and fluid. As an enhancement to the SET index, it also provides industry group indices and sectoral indices. Both types of indices are calculated from the prices of common stocks sharing the same fundamentals which identify with each industry group and sector respectively, which include the SET Index, SET50 Index and SET100 Index. An all-time high of 1,789 was reached in January 1994. Thailand uses Platform Trading computerized software that automatically create and execute orders. Broker members must be granted permission from the SET before using this strategy and providing program trading services to clients.
As of 31st Jan 2015, the stock exchange had 584 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of 15,030 billion baht or 460 billion USD, accounted for 97.9% of its Nominal GDP in Dec. 2018. Some of the most valuable stocks includes:
Economic Crisis: On 14th May and 15th May 1997, the Thai baht was hit by massive speculative attacks. Lacking foreign reserve support, the USD-Baht currency peg witnessed the deterioration of Thai currency. Severe changes in the financial markets forced the government to set up a drastic devaluation in Baht. Many institutions collapsed or were taken over without any new source of capital. Baht depreciated quickly and lost more than half of its value.
The stock market dropped by 75%. The largest finance company Finance One also collapsed. On 11th August 1997, the IMF sent a rescue package to Thailand of more than $17 billion. It was constrained to certain conditions such as enacting laws relative to bankruptcy procedures and building powerful regulation frameworks of banks and other financial institutions. By the end of 2001, Thailand's economy had been recovering with the effect of increment of tax revenues.
Political Crisis: There was political instability in Thailand during the year 2013-2014. People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) organized an anti-government protest which took place between November 2013 and May 2014. PDRC was a political pressure group led by former Democrat Party parliamentary representative (MP) Suthep Thaugsuban. The protest eventually resulted in the removal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the establishment of the military junta. On 21st January 2014, a 60-day state of emergency was declared. The government was provided with the authority to invoke curfews, censor the media, disperse gatherings, use military force to secure order, detain suspects without charge, ban political gatherings of more than five persons, and declare parts of the country inaccessible.
On 24th January 2014, the Thai Constitutional Court declared that the postponement of the 2nd February election date was the right of its members. At the time of the decision, the original reprieve bill proposal that triggered the first round of protests in late-2013 was no longer up for consideration. Meanwhile, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce) was selected as a caretaker prime minister in place of Yingluck.
On the evening of 22nd May 2014, the army formally staged a revolution against the caretaker government and formed a junta called National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) to govern the country. On 21st August 2014, army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha was appointed prime minister by a legislature which he had handpicked.
August 2008 to March 2010: Thousands of Thaksin opponents, known as the Yellow Shirts, took over the prime minister's office compound and stayed for three months. They later took over Bangkok's two airports for a week, halting air travel. In September, Samak was removed from office after a court rules payment for an appearance on a TV cooking show which constituted a conflict of interest. The parliament selected Somchai Wongsawat Thaksin's brother-in-law as his successor. In October, the Supreme Court sentenced self-exiled Thaksin to two years in prison because of corruption. In December, the protests came to an end. The court realized that Somchai's party was guilty of electoral fraud and later dissolved it. Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva was elected prime minister. In March 2010, Abhisit was successfully knocked out by Pro-Thaksin Red Shirts' street protests.
Thailand has a long history:
Rattanakosin Period (1782 - Present): A new ruler King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke transferred the capital to Bangkok and established the Grand Palace. After this, the rulers applied social and economic reforms to restore relationships with surrounding provinces,
Slavery was abolished by 1925, and educational reforms had been introduced. Thailand was named "Siam" by Mongkut Rex Siamensium until 24th June 1939, when its name was changed to Thailand officially. In 1939 Thailand became a democratic government.
Little evidence remains of the culture that existed in Thailand before the middle of the 1st millennium AD. Homo erectus fossils in Thailand's northern province of Lampang date back at least 500,000 years, and the country's most important archaeological site in Ban Chiang, outside Udon Thani, provides evidence of one of the world's oldest agrarian societies. It is believed that Mekong River Valley and Khorat Plateau were inhabited as far back as 10,000 years ago by farmers and bronze workers. Cave paintings in Pha Taem National Park near Ubon Ratchathani date back to 3000 years ago.
Nanchao Period (650 - 1250 AD): After founding a Thai kingdom in Southern China, the Thai people migrated further to the south where they settled on the Central Plain under the rule of the Khmer Empire. Independent Thai State of Sukhothai was discovered during approximately 1238 AD.
Sukhothai Period (1238 - 1378 AD): The Golden Era of Thai history. 13th Century was a time when the Thais became a powerful force in sovereignty and formed an ideal state governed by kind rulers. However, the more powerful Ayutthaya asserted itself over Sukhothai in 1350.
Ayutthaya Period (1350 - 1767 AD): Reverting to Khmer principles, Ayutthaya gained more power over its sovereigns which saw conflict between neighboring principalities. After diplomatic relations began in the 17th Century, the Burmese invaded in 1767, capturing Ayutthaya.
Thon Buri Period (1767 - 1772 AD): Ayutthaya's capital was transferred to a site closer to the sea, fearing another attack, and to facilitate defense, procurement and foreign trade. A new capital was established in Thon Buri, and the rulers were tough. However, the kingdom disintegrated quickly due to a lack of authority.
Baht is the official currency of Thailand, which equals to 100 satang. The currency issuance is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand. The Baht used to be pegged to the U.S. dollar but has been floating since 1997, after the economic crises.
According to Bloomberg (Business News), Baht has been the best performing currency in emerging Asia since 2018. According to SWIFT, as of January 2019, Baht is ranked as the 10th most frequently used world payment currency.
History of Thai currency traces back to the evolution of medium of exchange used in Thailand before the 1st century.
Ancient beads, seeds, bracelets, and pebbles used as mediums of exchange in the early days around 200 - 300 BC have been discovered in Thailand, including old Roman copper coins dating back to 270 BC. During the 1st-7th Centuries, metallic coins of the Funan Kingdom in Indochina made their appearance in Thailand, followed by the Dvaravati coins during the 7th- 11th centuries.
From 1956 until 1973, the baht was pegged to the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 20.8 baht = one dollar and at 20 baht = 1 dollar until 1978. A strengthening US economy caused Thailand to re-peg its currency at 25 to the dollar from 1984 until 2 July 1997, when the country was affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The baht was floated and halved in value, reaching its lowest rate of 56 to the dollar in January 1998. It has since risen to about 30 per dollar.
Sandalwood flower coins, or Dok Jan coins, from the Sri Vijaya Kingdom in Southeast Asia were introduced in this region in 8th-13th centuries. Cowrie shells and baked clay coins were in use from the pre-Sukhothai era until the reign of King Rama IV, after which they stopped circulation.
Pot Duang, or bullet money, first appeared during the Sukhothai period, as hand-made coins. Metal strips were bent and folded into spheres very much like a bullet, and hence the currency was named as bullet money.
Since the 14th-19th centuries, coins from the Lanna Kingdom in northern Thailand embossed with various designs were also in circulation. Around the same period during the 15th - 19th centuries, Lanchang, the kingdom in northeastern Thailand introduced silver and copper money in long and narrow boat shapes.
The most profound changes in the history of Thai currency occurred during the Rattanakosin era during the reign of King Rama IV and King Rama V. Standardized factory minted coins, and banknotes were officially issued. During the reign of King Ram IV, when foreign trade and diplomatic relations were expanding, paper money, in the form of royal promissory notes, was issued in 1853. During the reign of King Rama IV, money was denominated in satang, tho, phi, padueng, and baht. Later, banknotes were issued by the foreign banks to facilitate trade clearance.
During the reign of King Rama V and King Chulalongkorn, coinage was streamlined. The numerous denominations of 1,5, 10, 40, 80, 100, 400 and 800 baht were introduced.
Today, the currencies have been reorganized to 25,50 satang coins, 1, 2, 5, 10-baht coins and 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000-baht notes.
Bank of Thailand introduced a series of exchange controls on 19th December 2006, resulting in a major change between offshore and onshore exchange rates, with a difference of 10% between most markets. Restrictions remained on 3rd March 2006, and there is no noticeable difference between offshore and onshore exchange rates today.
|National Song||"Phleng Chat Thail"|
|Currency||Thai baht (THB)|
|GDP||$1164.93 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||2.8 percent|
|GDP Per Capita||$16887.65(PPP)|
14% Thai Chinese
Monarch- Maha Vajiralongkorn
Prime Minister- Prayut Chan-o-cha
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||42.2 percent of GDP|
|Import||$223 Billion (2013)|
|Export||$229.10 Billion (2013)|
|Unemployment Rate||0.6 percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|