The cost of widespread flooding in southern Thailand could rise to as high as 120 billion baht ($3.4 billion), or 0.7 percent of the gross domestic product, if it continues for two or three more months, Thai Chamber of Commerce vice chairman Vichai Assarasakorn said yesterday. If the flooding ends in a couple of weeks, the damage to the economy would be around 15 billion baht.
The vice chairman noted that the impact on tourism, however, was to be manageable, with only about 10 to 20 percent of hotel room bookings cancelled.
Beginning on January 1, the floods have killed 43 to date, and cut off road and rail links. Around 1.6 million people have been affected in areas that are mainly agricultural – the major economic crop is rubber, which will not survive more than 20 days of flooding.
According to Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob, the flooding should not have as long-lasting an impact on the economy as the 2011 disaster, the country’s worst floods in half a century, which claimed the lives of more than 900 people and slashed economic growth that year to 0.8 percent.
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