01/21/2021, 10.00
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World Bank: Pandemic created 1.5 million new poor in Thailand

Figure jumped from 3.7 million in 2019 to 5.2 million last year. In percentage terms, from 6.2% to 8.8% of the total population. In the first half of 2020, at least 340,000 people lost their jobs. The economy records a decline of 6.5%, with estimates of recovery of 4% in 2021.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Due to the new coronavirus pandemic, in 2020 in Thailand at least 1.5 million citizens - out of a total of about 70 million - have fallen into poverty. This is what emerges from a study published by World Bank (WB) experts, according to which in 2019 the total number of poor people was 3.7 million which increased to 5.2 million last year.

WB expert for Thailand However, Kiatipong Ariyapruchya foresees a slight improvement for 2021, with a forecast turnaround with the data on poverty set at five million. The growth of new employees and a rebound in the economy, with again positive indices, would favour the improvement.

In percentage terms, the figure for poverty - below $ 5.50 per day as established by the parameters of the World Bank - in 2020 reached 8.8% of the population, an increase compared to 6.2% in 2019 Forecasts for this year indicate a reduction to 8.4%. “The outbreak - says Kiatipong - affected the Thai labour market significantly, particularly during the first half of last year, which led to higher unemployment and more underemployed workers. This reduced the income of Thais," he said.”.

In the first half of 2020, at least 340,000 people lost their jobs; others saw the hours reduced by three hours for women and two for men. In the private sector, wages fell by 1.6%, especially in the agricultural world. The situation began to improve in the third quarter, with a good recovery in employment although working hours have not yet returned to full capacity.

According to the study “Restoring Incomes; Recovering Jobs "of the World Bank published yesterday, the Thai economy is recording a decline of 6.5% for 2020, with recovery estimates of up to 4% for the current year. For scholars, it will be essential to support the labour market and promote employment to achieve growth objectives.

At best, experts predict an increase of around 4% of GDP in 2021. If new lockdowns are needed to contain the spread of Covid-19, then the figure for GDP growth should settle around 2.4% . Finally, in the event that the vaccination campaign proceeds quickly and 50% of the population will be immunized by the second half of 2021, there will be a recovery in tourism (a leading sector of the national economy) with a possible increase in GDP up to 4, 7% for 2022.

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