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Word Count: 882
It may be useful to put the discussion of performance constraints of the Thai economy briefly in perspective Over the past 2 decades the Thai economy has been one of the best performing economies in the world characterized by sustained high growth rates averaging 103 1985-90 and 8 in the years prior to the crisis 1990-96 This growth was accompanied by a dramatic decline in the incidence of absolute poverty from 57 in 1962 to 14 in 1992 with per capita income increasing from 700 per annum in the late 1960s to 2700 in 1996 At the same time rapid growth was accompanied by environmental degradation resource depletion and an increasingly unequal distribution of income and wealth However on balance a remarkable record of development During this period of rapid growth and economic transformation Thailand became increasingly integrated into the world economy through trade and investment flows and production linkages As the economy expanded rapidly and became more complex in structure it posed more and new types of strains and challenges to economic management or governance systems at both the macro ie public policy and micro enterprise levels As the relative role of the private sector increased in the economy the importance of enterprise management and performance correspondingly increased Looking more deeply at Thailands performance manufactured exports grew by about 23 per year between 1980 and 1995 almost doubling during 1992-1995 However in 1996 export growth fell practically to 0 per cent with labor-intensive exports usually identified as the main culprit Certain factors are generally cited as responsible for this abrupt and dramatic decline External factors cited included the emergence of new competitors with the coming on stream of new production facilities in lower incomelower wage countries such as China Indochina Philippines further complicated by the30 devaluation of the Chinese yen in 1994 Domestic factors cited generally relate to rising wage rates and overvalued exchange rates Domestic wage rates
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