There’s no doubt that a global recession continues to loom large in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, with international trade volumes falling at their fastest pace (by 2.6%) since this pandemic and socio-economic crisis first hit Asia.
Given that the Asia-Pacific region was the first hit by Covid-19, it stands to reason that this area should be one of the most affected economically. To this end, a sharp downturn and eventual recession is now forecast in all ASEAN economies in 2020, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) leaving this charge.
Fortunately, the same report that revealed these forecasts has also offered advice on how countries such as Thailand can recover and restart their economy later in the year. Here are some points to keep in mind:
Rebuilding Thailand’s Economy – Where to Start?
The authorities in Thailand have been quick to react to the crisis, with the Bank of Thailand leading the charge by setting a limited fund of 500 billion Baht in soft loans to all those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Other financial institutions have also offered assistance packages to a total of 11 million clients, with a total credit line of 3.7 trillion baht. Such measures have helped to mitigate the near-term impact of the virus, although it should be noticed that many traders have recorded a subsequent decline in the value of the Baht against a basket of major currencies.
With this in mind, rebuilding the economy in a balanced and sustainable way will represent a huge challenge in Thailand and similar Asian nations. Certainly bold and proactive investments will be required to sustain the region’s physical and economic wellbeing in the longer-term, with the former taking precedence in order to create a healthy workforce.
Overall, increased health spending of around $880 million per year through 2030 could help to lay the foundations for future economic growth, while minimising the chances of a future pandemic wreaking similar havoc.
Rethinking the Status Quo and the Existing Economic Template
From here, the pandemic could also inspire Thai officials to rethink their existing economic growth plan. This is particularly true when it comes to sustainability, as Thailand and similar nations have failed to build their economies on the back of environmentally-friendly measures.
Make no mistake; Asia and the Pacific are not on track to achieve any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, after regressing on a number of eco goals.
Aside from this, the Thai authorities should also direct their overall investment wisely, initially by targeting key economic markets and engines that will prove central to medium and long-term growth.
More specifically, financial services and (of course) tourism should receive the greatest levels of focus and investment, as this approach will deliver optimal levels of employment and increase the amounts being reinvested into the economy.
Ultimately, there’s no single way of restarting Thailand’s economy post Covid-19. However, a proactive outlook and a multifaceted approach can help to drive a modest and sustainable recovery over time.