Thailand 1998Thailand

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Thailand - Introduction 1998
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Background: A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century; it was known as Siam until 1939. Thailand is the only southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II Thailand became a US ally following the conflict.

Thailand - Geography 1998
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Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E

Map referenceSoutheast Asia

Total: 514,000 km²
Land: 511,770 km²
Water: 2,230 km²
Comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

Land boundaries
Total: 4,863 km
Border countries: (4) Burma 1,800 km; , Cambodia 803 km; , Laos 1,754 km; , Malaysia 506 km

Coastline: 3,219 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September; dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March; southern isthmus always hot and humid

Terrain: central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

Extremes lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
Extremes highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

Natural resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 34%
Permanent crops: 6%
Permanent pastures: 2%
Forests and woodland: 26%
Other: 32% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 44,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Note: controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

Thailand - People 1998
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Population: 60,037,366 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 0.97% (1998 est.)

Noun: Thai (singular and plural)
Adjective: Thai

Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Languages: Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects

Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 24% (male 7,440,863; female 7,169,837)
15-64 years: 70% (male 20,605,197; female 21,210,697)
65 years and over: 6% (male 1,596,267; female 2,014,505) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.97% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 16.76 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 7.11 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
International agreements party to: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
International agreements signed but not ratified: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 30.82 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 69 years
Male: 65.35 years
Female: 72.83 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.84 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93.8%
Male: 96%
Female: 91.6% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Thailand - Government 1998
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Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
Conventional short form: Thailand

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Bangkok

Administrative divisions: 76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural; Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon

Dependent areas

Independence: 1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

National holiday: Birthday of His Majesty the King, 5 December (1927)

Constitution: new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October 1997

Legal system: based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946): ead of
Government: Prime Minister CHUAN Likphai (since 15 November 1997)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers
Note: there is also a Privy Council
Elections: none; the king is a constitutional monarch; prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following a national election for the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that can organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (a 270-member appointed body; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (393 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: House of Representatives_last held 17 November 1996 (next must be held by 17 November 2000, but may be held earlier)
Election results: House of Representatives_percent of vote by party_NA; seats by party - NAP 125, DP 123, NDP 52, TNP 39, SAP 20, TCP 18, SP 8, LDP 4, MP 2, other 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Sandika), judges appointed by the king

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador NIT Phibunsongkhram
In the us chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,007
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 944-3,600
In the us fax: [1] (202) 944-3,611
In the us consulates general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador William H. ITOH
From the us embassy: 120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok
From the us mailing address: APO AP 96,546
From the us telephone: [66] (2) 205-4,000
From the us fax: [66] (2) 254-2,990
From the us consulates general: Chiang Mai

Flag descriptionflag of Thailand: five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Thailand - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: In 1997/98, the Thai economy is in a deep recession as a result of the severe financial problems facing many Thai firms, particularly banks and finance companies. In the early 1990s, Thailand liberalized financial inflows; banks and other firms borrowed in dollars and did not hedge their positions because there was no perceived exchange rate risk. These funds financed a property boom that began to taper off in the mid-1990s. In addition, export growth - previously a key driver of the Thai economy_collapsed in 1996, resulting in growing doubts that the Bank of Thailand could maintain the baht's peg to the dollar. The Bank mounted an expensive defense of the exchange rate that nearly depleted foreign exchange reserves, then decided to float the exchange rate, triggering a sharp increase in foreign liabilities that cash-strapped Thai firms were already having trouble repaying. In August 1997, the government headed by Prime Minister CHAWALIT signed an agreement with the IMF for access to a $14 billion facility to supplement foreign exchange reserves and restore financial market stability. CHAWALIT resigned in November 1997, however, under pressure for lacking a coherent approach to managing the IMF program and the financial crisis. Democratic Party leader CHUAN Likphai formed a seven-party coalition government and closely adhered to the IMF program, tentatively reestablishing financial stability by February 1998. An economic turnaround requires rescheduling the large short-term foreign liabilities of Thai firms, restoring high rates of export growth to finance foreign liabilities, and extensively recapitalizing the banking system.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: -0.4% (1997 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 10%
Industry: 28.7%
Services: 61.3% (1997)

Agriculture products: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans

Industries: tourism; textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing, such as jewelry; electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer

Industrial production growth rate: -15% (1997 est.)

Labor force
Total: 32.6 million (1997 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 54%
By occupation industry: 15%
By occupation services(includinggovernment): 31% (1996 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 3.5%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $24 billion
Expenditures: $25 billion, including capital expenditures of $8 billion (FY96/97)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 October_30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: total value:$51.6 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
Commodoties: manufactures 82%, agricultural products and fisheries 14% (1997)
Partners: US 19.6%, Japan 14.9%, Singapore 11%, Hong Kong 5.7%, Malaysia 4.3%, UK 3.7% (1997)

Imports: total value:$73.5 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodoties: capital goods 50%, consumer goods 10.2%, fuels 8.7% (1997)
Partners: Japan 25.6%, US 13.9%, Singapore 5%, Taiwan 4.6%, Germany 4.5%, Malaysia 4.1% (1997)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $90 billion (1997)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: baht (B) per US$1_53.812 (January 1998), 31.364 (1997), 25.343 (1996), 24.915 (1995), 25.150 (1994), 25.319 (1993)

Thailand - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 77.5 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,295 kWh (1995)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Thailand - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: service to general public adequate, but investments in technological upgrades reduced by recession; bulk of service to government activities provided by multichannel cable and microwave radio relay network
Domestic: microwave radio relay and multichannel cable; domestic satellite system being developed
International: satellite earth stations_2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Thailand - Military 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $4 billion (FY95/96)
Percent of gdp: 2.5% (FY94/95)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Thailand - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 106 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 55
With paved runways over 3047 m: 6
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 9
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 16
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 20
With paved runways under 914 m: 4 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 51
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 15
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 34 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 55
Over 3047 m: 6
2438 to 3047 m: 9
15-24 to 2437 m: 16
914 to 1523 m: 20
Under 914 m: 4 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 51
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 15
Under 914 m: 34 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 3 (1997 est.)

Pipelines: petroleum products 67 km; natural gas 350 km

Total: 4,623 km
Narrow gauge: 4,623 km 1.000-m gauge (99 km double track)


Waterways: 3,999 km principal waterways; 3,701 km with navigable depths of 0.9 m or more throughout the year; numerous minor waterways navigable by shallow-draft native craft

Merchant marine
Total: 304 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,997,060 GRT/3,270,988 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 48, cargo 145, chemical tanker 7, container 9, liquefied gas tanker 13, multi-function large load carrier 3, oil tanker 62, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 11, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 2 (1997 est.)

Ports and terminals

Thailand - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: parts of the border with Laos are indefinite; maritime boundary with Vietnam resolved, August 1997; parts of border with Cambodia are indefinite; maritime boundary with Cambodia not clearly defined

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; major illicit transit point for heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; role in amphetamine production for regional consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamines and heroin

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