Thailand ‘least miserable’ country on planet

August 10, 20169:58 am349 views
Thailand ‘least miserable’ country on planet
All Thais including the grandma waiting for a train ride home to Surin should be happy as the Misery Index shows that this country is least miserable. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Land of Smiles really is the happiest place in the world, at least in terms of holding a job and keeping the rising cost of goods in check.

The Misery Index, computed by adding inflation to the unemployment rate, gives Thailand a score of 1.11%, which is the best — or least miserable — for all 74 economies surveyed by Bloomberg.

Singapore and Japan are close runner-ups, with 1.4% and 2.7%, respectively. The United Kingdom ranks the 17th least miserable country while the United States takes 21st place. China follows closely in 23rd spot.

Venezuela is at the other end of the scale as plunging oil revenues have led to chronic shortage of food and medicine, and inflation running at 181%. With an index of 188.2%, the South American country is easily the “world’s most miserable” place. It is followed by Bosnia at 48.97% and South Africa with 32.9%.

Thailand’s unemployment rate was around 1% at the end of June, while its consumer price index rose 0.1% year-on-year in July versus a 0.4% increase in June.

Even so, it’s not all roses and rapture for the Southeast Asian nation. Slowing inflation, though welcome for consumers, may signal a less-than-healthy economy.

Disinflation is a sign that demand for goods and services is insufficient to match supply in an economy, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp global market analyst Satoshi Okagawa says. It encourages consumers to delay purchases until goods become cheaper, further lowering demand. In this deflationary spiral, wages will drop, Mr Okagawa adds.

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