Thailand is part of the Indochinese peninsula, to the Isthmus of Kra, which marks the transition to the Malay Peninsula. The country extends on about 805 km from east to west and 1770 km from north to south.
In the centre, there is a vast plain, the alluvial plain of the Chao Phraya, the biggest Thai river. This is the densest region in terms of population and the richest from the agricultural point of view.
Bangkok is located near the fertile delta of the Maenam Chao Phraya (Mae Nam - แม่ น้ำ - literally mother-water (water of life mother), means River in Thai). All around this basin rise mountain ranges. The massive that run along the Burmese border have the highest peaks, culminating at 2595 meters with Doi Inthanon. As for the peninsular region, bordered by narrow coastal plains, it peaks at Khao Luang to 1786 m.
To the east of the Chao Phraya basin is another mountain range of north-south axis, which rises to 1270 meters through the Doi Pia Fai.
A low and arid plateau stretches north and east of this chain: the Khorat Plateau, which occupies the eastern third of the country (known as Isan) and borders the Mekong Valley (Mae Nam Khong ), on the border with Laos.
Thailand has a monsoon climate. There are three seasons:
• A dry and cold season from October to February
• A summer season from March to May
• A monsoon season, or middle season, from June to September
The dry season is shorter in the south because of the proximity of the sea. The average temperature varies between 19 ° to 38 ° C.
Climate changes largely threaten agriculture in particular with rising temperatures, floods, droughts, storms and rising level of the sea. The country has suffered more than 1.75 billion losses through these disasters. In recent years, the weather has worsened the situation, which resulted in large scale disasters. These disasters have devastated agriculture and economy. Unpredictable rainfall, temperature changes and many other adverse facts will intensify in the coming years. This means that Thailand will face drought in the middle of the rainy season.
The country is divided administratively into 77 provinces, considering that Bangkok is itself a province, (jangwat - จังหวัด, singular and plural), divided into five groups. The name of each province is derived from the name of its capital.
It is only by virtue of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, that the ancient kingdom of Patani became part of the Kingdom of Siam, in the form of four new provinces: Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun.
Thailand is a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Agriculture, processing and export of agricultural products, including rice, have formed the backbone of its economy. Although among the most prosperous countries in Asia, the fact that it depends on a single crop made it extremely sensitive to fluctuations in global prices of rice and production variations. The Thai government has sought to mitigate this vulnerability by seeking to diversify the economy and promote scientific farming methods as controlled irrigation of rice fields, in order to stabilize production even when rainfall is insufficient. Shrimp farms are also a major source of exports. Thailand thus has more than 30 000 farms giving a production of 280,000 tonnes in 2006. These exports generate revenues of $ 2 billion and were mainly held to Europe, Japan and the United States. But part of fishing which is used to feed the shrimp is regularly accused in the early 2010s to destroy the natural mangroves and be carried by migrant enslaved. The GDP of the agricultural sector, due to lower growth than industry or tourism, represents only 8.4% of GDP in 2012.
Japanese invest in Thailand and caused a rapid industrialization in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in the electronics industry and mechanical subcontracting, creating many plants at low cost to fuel their industrial machine.
From the mid-1980s, tourism played a major role in the country's economic development. Annual growth was outstanding between 1985 and 1993 (around 10%). It is still 8% in 1993, when the GDP was 136.9 billion. Japan, the United States, Germany, Malaysia, China and the Netherlands are the main trade partners of Thailand.
Thai families of Chinese origin, who represent only about 6% of the population, control most of the country's economic sectors.
After the tsunami of late 2004 that affected the whole hotel infrastructure and the south-western coast, tourists deserted the scene, leaving Thai traders bloodless. The majority of the hundreds of deaths in December 2004 on the coast were foreigners, especially Germans, Swedish, Danish, English and Australians. The property prices have fallen in Koh Lanta (for example) by almost 50%. Thanks to its other tourism resources, Thailand has recovered from this cataclysm with a tourist growth of over 10% in 2006 compared to 2005 after the fall and cancellations due to the tsunami.
Since 2001, gross domestic product (GDP) of Thailand recorded particularly strong growth rates: 6.9% in 2003, 6.1% in 2004 and 4.5% in 2005. The projected GDP growth for 2014 is about 1.5% according to the World Bank. The dynamism of the Thai economy is on a robust internal demand (consumption and private investment), which makes it less sensitive than some of its neighbours to the jolts of global demand. This good performance enabled the Kingdom to assert itself as a regional economic power.
Industry (39.2% GDP), a major exporter, remains the main economic hub of the country, far ahead of tourism (about 10% of GDP.): Thailand is particularly competitive in the electronic, chemical, paper, construction (Siam cement, Thai second group, 24,000 employees, 5 divisions: construction, cement, chemicals, paper and distribution) and assembly, food industries and tourism. It also attracts many multinationals who use their Thai subsidiary as a basis for regional export, even global. However, the high amount of Thai imports of raw materials is likely to weigh on economic growth in 2005, partly because of rising oil prices.
With a fine steering of its economic policy, the government has contributed a lot to current performance. According to a strategy called "dual track" (double track), the government adjusts its support depending on the international situation: in downturns, government spending support consumption; in better times, the pace of spending decreases and the government can address the more structural reforms.
This policy is made possible by the remarkable situation of public finances: the broadening of the tax base combined with the natural increase in revenues (due to the economy) has allowed the government to end the budget deficit in 2003 and to show a surplus of 0.7% in 2012. To mitigate the impact of the slowdown in 2005, the authorities had set up a vast program of public investment intended to thoroughly modernize the country's infrastructure, roads, transport and telecommunications in particular. Also positive effects for growth, these long-term investment projects strengthen the economy and create new opportunities for trade and growth.
From 2006 to 2013, the Thai economy has experienced lower growth, with an average of 4%, boosted by a strong industry (39.2% of GDP in 2012), strong agricultural exports, a strong commercial activity (13 4% GDP, 2012) and logistics (9.8% GDP, 2012) and to a lesser extent by domestic consumption. Yet, due to the weakening of exports in 2012 and 2013 because of several economic and political shocks, domestic consumption saw its share become more important in the growth over the years. GDP was $ 366 billion in 2012, showing a GDP / habitant of $ 5,390 per capita, so $ 449 (about € 400) per month per capita on average.
Statistics CIA World Factbook (July 2008 estimates)
• Life expectancy: 73.1 years
• Birth Rate: 13.57 for 1000
• Mortality rate: 7.17 for 1000
• Growth rate: 0.615% per year
• Fertility rate: 1.65 children / woman
• Literacy rate: 92.6% (of the population of more than 15 years)
• Infant mortality rate: 17.63 per 1 000 births
• Presence of HIV rate: 1.4% of the population (est. 2003)
• Thailand is a Buddhist country with a Muslim minority (4.6% of the population) living mainly in the south, and about 300,000 Catholics (0.5% of the population).
• Wealth per capita (GDP / capita): 9200 dollars (est. 2006)
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