Eternal optimists, Thais are able to weather whatever challenges that come their way.
2016 was without a doubt a year of surprises, shock and sadness. During this whirlwind year, we experienced nationalism and “Brexit”, we discovered the divided politics of the United States and we saw the emergence of Trump as victor. On a local level, Thailand is still grieving from the loss of its dear King Bhumibol Adulyadej; and uncertainty about Thailand’s economic outlook is looming.
Thailand’s economy is heavily dependent on exports and with the unpredictability of global politics and the global economy flatlining, it would seem the country should gear up for a rough ride ahead.[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]
While this may seem like the inevitable reality of the situation, Thais remain eternal optimists. While this may contradict conventional wisdom, the local business community views 2017 as another year of opportunity!
Thailand has a lot of positive macro-economic factors working in its favour, the biggest being its strategic geographical location in the heart of Southeast Asia. Interestingly, while economies of Europe and the US have been going “sideways”, several Asian countries have reported positive growth!
On the property-level, while coastal cities may still experience tough market conditions, the Bangkok property market still benefits from strong fundamentals.
Firstly, the Thai government is dedicated to improving the country’s competitiveness and is investing into large-scale infrastructure projects to boost the capital’s productivity; this stimulus should help boost the macro-economic fundamentals of the capital and country through 2017.
Secondly, the local Thai buyers are dominant players in the off-plan and resale market and they are seemingly undeterred by global events, especially for well-located and well-developed projects.
While economies are usually analyzed and evaluated using statistics and figures such as GDP and National Debt, it is important to remember the individual constituents of this economy. The direction of an economy is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and hard work of its people. As the saying goes, “the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts”.
Thai people are incredibly resilient and entrepreneurial; in the past, this has earned the country the name of “Teflon Thailand”. This nickname is here to stay. Bring on 2017!
PIERRE LEUNG is the Managing Director of Fresh Property, a boutique property agency in Bangkok.