One of the most fundamental changes to the Thailand economy in recent years has been its re-categorization. Economically speaking, the World Bank
upgraded the nation's income categorization from 'lower middle' income to 'upper middle', in 2011. There have been significant political challenges for the far eastern country, nevertheless the Thais have made significant progress in other areas, particularly social issues. But it is in managing its economy that Thailand has proved itself to be a vibrant, forward-looking country amongst the rapidly developing Asian world. It has enjoyed a long spell of sustained fiscal growth, coupled with impressive attempts to tackle poverty.
Even as long ago as the 10 years culminating in 1995, Thailand proved to be one of the world's swiftest growing economies, with an average annual growth rate of up to 9%. While the so-called Asian crisis of 1997-8 dealt a body blow to financial markets right across the Pacific rim, Thailand's economy was quick to rally and take off again. By the earlier part of this decade its growth had reached 5% again.
The inexorable progress of the Thai economy was tempered in 2009 for a number of reasons. Firstly, there was an overall dip in global finances – the crash that had repercussions throughout the developed world, and which are still being felt today in many quarters. Secondly, the same year saw much political uncertainty in the far eastern kingdom. Two years later the entire region was beset with devastating floods that caused millions of dollars worth of damage. However, the Thai people are nothing if not resilient, and by 2013 the economy has shown signs of having recovered strongly.
Growth is now occurring at a rate that is close to the levels that were experienced prior to 2009's global banking crisis. Despite political strife and disastrous weather, the GDP has bounced back from the 2012 figure of 6.4%, with economic analysts predicting continual blooming to nearer 5.0% during the current financial year.
One of the most pleasing side-effects of Thailand's prosperity has been that levels of poverty have fallen consistently since the late 1980's. In fact, during the last decade, poverty in Thailand has fallen from a 42.6% figure recorded in 2000 to around 13% in 2011. In Thailand, this is an issue which mainly blights rural communities, with nearly 90% of those affected living outside the main towns and cities.
(Original unmodified image source from Shubert Ciencia