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publication July 4, 2019

Thailand Economic Monitor July 2019: Harnessing Fintech for Financial Inclusion

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Thailand growth began to moderate in early 2019 in the context of intensifying risks.

  • The Thai economy is projected to expand by 3.5 percent in 2019 and by 3.6 percent in 2020.
  • Growth slowed to 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019, falling below 3 percent for the first time since mid-2015.
  • A decline in public investment compounded the negative impact of external headwinds on the Thai economy, but private investment has remained buoyant.
  • Solid private consumption continues to drive growth on the demand side.
  • Policy continuity and the implementation of planned public investments will be vital to sustain growth. 
  • The government’s fiscal and monetary policy stances are expected to remain accommodative, and Thailand’s macroeconomic fundamentals are strong.

This edition of the Thailand Economic Monitor highlights the importance of harnessing financial technology (fintech) for financial inclusion.

  • Fintech is transforming financial services and experiencing explosive growth in emerging markets.
  • Thailand’s nascent fintech subsector is rapidly evolving.
  • But the sector’s potential to support financial inclusion remains largely untapped.
  • The expansion of digital financial services could help alleviate rising levels of income inequality and support shared prosperity.
  • This Thailand Economic Monitor provides five policy measures to help leverage the full potential of fintech to support financial inclusion in Thailand:
    • Lifting barriers to firms seeking to enter the financial sector
    • Encouraging collaboration between traditional banks and fintech firms
    • Improving coordination among regulators for example on regulatory sandboxes
    • Encouraging public-private and private-private collaboration
    • Supporting initiatives such as incubators and early-stage seed funding vehicles, as well as providing matching grants to help a fintech firms to take off in Thailand.