Thailand is struggling to find a balance between epidemic control and economic protection

Xinhua news agency, Bangkok, January 24: Thailand is struggling to find a balance between controlling the epidemic and ensuring the balance of the economy. The new COVID-19 outbreak of Thailand, the new bright Asian army of Xinhua news agency, has made the local economy one disaster after another. Analysts believe that the Thai government is struggling to find a balance between epidemic prevention and economic recovery, and the process of economic recovery is facing major challenges. In the last ten days of December 2020, large-scale infection incidents occurred in the seafood market of samoshakong Prefecture and the casino of Rayong Prefecture in Thailand respectively, which led to the second wave of epidemic outbreak in Thailand and affected many places in the country, including the capital Bangkok. Thailand’s Kaitai Research Center initially estimated that the second wave of the epidemic will cause about 45 billion baht (1 US dollar about 30 baht) losses to the Thai economy within one month. However, the Thai government has not taken nationwide compulsory blockade measures as it did last year. Instead, it has implemented policies and dynamic control according to the severity and development trend of the epidemic. Tang Zhimin, director of the China ASEAN Research Center at Thailand’s Zhengda School of management, said: “the Thai government has learned from the experience and lessons of the first wave of the epidemic in order to maintain a balance between controlling the epidemic and protecting the economy.” In order to control the epidemic, the Thai government has decided to implement strict control measures for 28 government level administrative regions, including Bangkok, for a period of one month from January 4, including restricting business hours, closing high-risk places, online teaching, home office of civil servants and speeding up the investigation of risk groups. In addition, the Thai government plans to raise more than THB 1.9 trillion to stimulate the economy by reducing government spending and lending to financial institutions. The funds will be used for medical and health expenses, subsidies to farmers and businesses, financial market stabilization, preferential loans, etc. Tourism is a pillar industry in Thailand. COVID-19’s global spread led to a sharp decline in the number of foreign tourists to Thailand. Affected by this, the Bank of Thailand recently lowered its economic growth forecast for 2021 to 3.2% from the previous 3.6%. In order to support the tourism industry, the Thai government recently launched a plan called “Thai people travel to Thailand”. The project, with a budget of 22.4 billion baht, aims to encourage domestic tourism through government subsidies for hotel and air ticket prices. The monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Thailand believes that the economy of Thailand will be affected by a new round of epidemic in the short term, and the future recovery process will depend on the situation of foreign tourists to Thailand, the development of the labor market and other factors. Thailand’s economic growth rate in 2019 will be 2.4%, ranking lower among ASEAN countries. Tang Chi Min said covid-19 Thailand’s economic weakness has been revealed before the new crown epidemic. The epidemic is more dramatic. “From the macro-economic practice of various countries, monetary and fiscal policies currently play a limited role in expanding the aggregate demand of the real economy. The government should focus on the supply side structural adjustment through policy combination.” Tang said China’s China one belt, one road, one China ASEAN Free Trade Area and the regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement and other frameworks to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China are very important to Thailand. He said that Thailand can deepen cooperation with China in e-commerce, 5g, artificial intelligence and other aspects, and seize the opportunity to promote economic transformation.

(editor in charge: Ma Changyan)

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