Thailand's Economy
Thailand :: Economy

Agriculture: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans

Industries: tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts
The southern islands of Phuket, Krabi, Ko Phi Phi and Ko Samui -- famous for their sandy beaches and coral reefs -- are favourite tourist destinations.

Asian elephants have been domesticated for thousands of years. The powerful beasts have been employed to carry humans on their backs, to wage war and to move heavy objects, such as felled trees. However, when Thailand imposed on ban on logging in January 1989, the elephants and their handlers called "mahouts" lost their means of livelihood ... now they work in the tourism industry.

National Geographic Video: Elephant Wedding
Exports: textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances

Imports: machinery and parts, petroleum, iron and steel, chemicals, vehicles and parts, jewelry, fish preparations, electrical appliances, fertilizers and pesticides

Currency: baht (THB)

Exchange rates: baht per US dollar - 37.882 (2006)

Overview: With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and pro-investment policies, Thailand appears to have fully recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. The country was one of East Asia's best performers from 2002-04. Boosted by increased consumption and strong export growth, the Thai economy grew 6.9% in 2003 and 6.1% in 2004 despite a sluggish global economy. Bangkok has pursued preferential trade agreements with a variety of partners in an effort to boost exports and to maintain high growth.

In late December 2004, a major tsunami took 8,500 lives in Thailand and caused massive destruction of property in the southern provinces of Krabi, Phangnga, and Phuket. In 2006, investment stagnated as investors, spooked by the THAKSIN administration's political problems, stayed on the sidelines. The military coup in September brought in a new economic team led by the former central bank governor. In December, the Thai Board of Investment reported the value of investment applications from January to November had declined by 27% year-on-year. On the positive side, exports have performed at record levels, rising nearly 17% in 2006. Export-oriented manufacturing - in particular automobile production - and farm output are driving these gains.

Source: World Factbook, updated August 2007