Tourism is booming, the current account is in surplus, and the comparatively high yield on local assets is enticing. No wonder the Thai baht has risen by 8% against the US dollar this year. But the currency could soon “fall foul of economic gravity”, says William Pesek on Breakingviews. “Populist pump-priming” and rising global growth are boosting Thailand for now.
But the ruling junta is dragging its feet on infrastructure upgrades while progress on cutting red tape and bank bad-loan ratios (“worse than China’s”) has proved “glacial”. Productivity and foreign investment are therefore suffering.
“The ink in the cartridge that you put into your printer is more expensive [per millilitre] than champagne… Now the French… are fighting back. Under the splendidly named Halte a l’Obsolescence Programmé, it is a criminal offence deliberately to reduce the lifespan of a product to increase the rate of replacement. HP, Canon, Epson and Brother all follow the same business model of cheap hardware and overpriced ink, keeping an iron grip on the price of replacement cartridges and encouraging us to junk printers at the first blocked jet… this strategy is as wasteful as it is infuriating… this French law would be a useful post-Brexit import.”
Neil Collins, Financial Times