Chiang Mai Economic Report by the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce

CityNews – The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce says the economy is growing.

On January 30th, the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce held a press conference to report on last year’s economy.

“The tourism industry in 2018 Q4 increased from the previous quarter. However, consumption, investment and government payout decreased due to the strict loaning policies of the banks,” stated Somchai Thongkumkoon, the Vice Chairman of the CMCC. He continued to point out that Chiang Mai needs to adjust in face of vastly decreasing numbers of Chinese tour groups. They do say, however, that the number of free independent travellers (FIT) will increase. Last year, Chiang Mai welcomed over 10 million tourists, a 10% growth from 2017. The majority of tourists remain Thai, at 7.5 million with the remaining 3.2 million coming from abroad.

As for the agricultural sector, longan production has increased over 5%. “Pork was short in the market in the last quarter of 2018 and this year will start with a high demand for pork,” said Somchai. He forecasted that the agricultural industry will grow by 3.5% this year. The core inflation rate in 2018 Q4 decreased to 0.4% compared to the previous quarter while the headline inflation is at the same rate. The umemployment rate sits at between 0.3-0.7% which is under the average which is at 1%.

Wiphawan Woraputtipong, the chairman of the CMCC pointed out this year’s challenges, which will include reactions to the US-China trade agreements, along with the fluctuation of the world finance, as well as prices of agriculture products that are underrated which will have an effect of the household debt and purchasing power. The election will also play an important role in this year’s economic forecast. “I believe that this year the overall economic situation will be better,” said Wiphawan.