Just the Statistics


bar charts, line graphs and simple numbers are hardly capable of providing the defining answer to many economic, social and political questions, they are certainly a good way of obtaining a general overview of any particular subject.

Each month the Business Supplement will look into a brace of statistical information and provide readers with what we consider to be the central elements of these figures.

Debt-to-GDP ratios

According to data accrued from official government and central bank figures, debt-to-GDP ratios around the world have increased in recent years, much of it due to low interest rates. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) believes the debt that has piled up in Asia during the recent period of low interest rates may pose a risk to financial stability.

Thailand ranks 93rd in the world with a 50.4 percent debt of GDP. By comparison, Japan is the most in-debt nation in the world with debt as percentage of GDP standing at an astounding 234.7 percent. Maybe surprisingly, Singapore ranks ninth with 110.5 percent.

Other potentially surprising rankings are Laos (65th) at 61.6 percent debt to GDP, Malaysia (80th) at 55.1 percent and Vietnam (81st) at 54.9 percent.

Who makes the money?

In US dollar terms and adjusted for purchasing power parity the average GDP per capita in Thailand is $16,483 per annum. It’s notable that the average Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in Thailand earns $64,984 per annum. That places the difference between a CEO and the average worker at around 3.94, one of the smallest gaps across the world.

In Malaysia this figure climbs to $26,723 while Singapore ranks as easily the leader in Southeast Asia at a whopping $86, 232.

Obesity across the Asia-Pacific

There is a general feeling among expats and regular visitors to Thailand that it was rare to find an overweight person. According to figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this anecdotal evidence appears to be very much spot on.

In 1990, just 14.2 percent of adults (those aged 18 or over) in Thailand were considered overweight while 2.2 percent were considered obese.

Fast forward to 2016 and the number of overweight adults has jumped to 32.6 percent while the percentage of obese adults is now 10 percent.

Notably, females are worse. 35.6 percent of females aged 18 and over considered overweight while for males the figure is 29.2 percent.

By comparison, in 1990 only 7.3 percent of adults in Vietnam were considered overweight and a mere 0.2 percent obese. In 2016, those numbers were still pretty low at 18.3 and 2.1 percent respectively.