SINGAPORE – Recent protests in Thailand will be a “double whammy” for development in the country, which has already been hit by the Kovid-11 epidemic, analysts say.
Moreover, Chullongkorn University professor Thitinan Pongs Nasudhirk told CNBC on Friday that protesters would not leave until they saw “new” Thailand.
On Thursday, the Thai government declared a state of emergency, as hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in central Bangkok this week. They camped outside the prime minister’s office, and intercepted the royal motorcar, according to Royro. They have little demand – the main issues being the reform of the monarchy, the new constitution and the removal of Prime Minister Pruth Chan-ocha.
“Rising political temperatures in Thailand following the declaration of a state of emergency in Bangkok will be a major blow to the already crippled economy under the influence of the epidemic,” Mizuho Bank market economist Lavanya Venkateswara wrote in a note.
Mizuho Bank has lowered its 2020 GDP growth forecast for the Southeast Asian country from -6.3% to -7.5%.
“This time, the social unrest caused by the Kovid-19 epidemic has been exacerbated by long-term political divisions,” Venkateswara said. These include poor private sector spending on investment and consumption and low tourist arrivals. The Thai economy relies heavily on tourism for development.
On the protest, P te investor Mark Mobius told CNBC on Friday: “It’s a serious situation, there’s no question about it, mainly because tourism is so important to Thailand and if you have unrest, tourism doesn’t come and you get a real problem. Is. “
Mizuho’s Venkateswara said the state of emergency would increase political uncertainty – and as it is happening during the epidemic – it would prove to be a “double-digit” growth this year, and in the mid-term, Mizuho’s Venkateswara said.
Pulangsudhirk of Chulalongkorn University described the situation as “impossible”: “We have never seen such protesters before. They have taken to the streets in disgrace, in defiance, in the face of emergency orders.”
He joined CNBC. “They seem very determined to me. They’re not leaving until they see a new kind of Thailand,” he told Street Sign.
He added that the Thai economy has “stalled”, the government has remained “low-level” and mismanaged the economy.
Thai protesters salute three fingers during an anti-government protest at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 13, 2020.
Nourphoto | Getty Images
This week’s protests were followed by anti-government protests last month after the courts banned the loudest party opposing the prime minister’s government.
Demonstrations came to a halt when measures were taken to curb the spread of the epidemic – but they resumed in July. Pro-democracy activists argue that the monarchy is too close to the military, and a Reuters report says this undermines democracy.
Referring to his demand for a reformed monarchy, Mizuho told Venkateswara that it was “unimaginable even a year ago” – but that changed when the coronavirus erupted. Thailand’s Lease Majesty laws prohibit insulting the monarchy or defaming the king, and it is one of the strictest in the world. Those who break the law could face up to 15 years in prison.
He added, “Even the otherwise sacred Thai monarchy could not have survived the economic strain of the epidemic.”
– CNBC’s Yeni Lee contributed to this report.