Economy - overview: After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1995 - averaging almost 9% annually - increased speculative pressure on Thailand's currency in 1997 led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the government to float the baht. Long pegged at 25 to the dollar, the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by nearly 10% that same year. Thailand entered a recovery stage in 1999; preliminary estimates are that the economy expanded by about 4% - most forecasters expect similar growth in 2000. Beginning in 1999 the baht stabilized and inflation and interest rates began coming down. The CHUAN government has cooperated closely with the IMF and adhered to its mandated recovery program, including passage of new bankruptcy and foreclosure laws. The regional recovery boosted exports, while fiscal stimulus buoyed domestic demand. While slow progress has been made in recapitalizing the financial sector, tough measures - such as implementing a privatization plan and forcing the private sector to restructure - remain undone.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of April 17, 2000
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