Thailand to Boost Per Capita Income Near $10,000 in Five Years

THAILAND aims to lift the average per capita income by about a third in five years by tailoring its economic and social policies to generate more wealth, even as it battles near record household debt and high cost of living.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy wants to lift per capita income to $9,300 in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2026 from $7,097 in 2021, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council.

The government will boost productivity and competitiveness in manufacturing and service sectors under the 13th national economic and social development plan that will be rolled out from Oct. 1, council’s Secretary-General Danucha Pichayanan said on Friday.

While Thailand almost quadrupled per capita income since the Asian financial crisis in late 1990s, the hit from pandemic has seen household debt balloon to almost 90% of its gross domestic product. The country is also facing a sticky inflation and slump in the currency that’s threatening an uneven economic recovery, the slowest in Southeast Asia.

“The five-year plan is not carved in stone,” Danucha said. “The situation now is so hard to predict. The plan can be changed if there are unexpected events.”

The national plan will rely more on local economy to ensure sustainable growth amid fast-changing environment including geopolitical risks, climate changes as well as digital transformation, Danucha said. Thailand also has to contend with a dwindling labor force as almost 20% of its population is 60 years or older.

Other key points from the plan include:

  • A target to lower greenhouse gas emission by no less than 20%
  • To reduce inequality in income and other social aspects between people at the top and at the bottom of the economy
  • To boost the nation’s capability to cope with changes and risks such as climate change, pandemic and cyber threat