Thailand’s King, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch who reigned for 70 years over Thailand, has unfortunately passed away. A symbol of unity in Thailand, he was more than just a monarch. His legacy was well-known, and the well-loved King was often seen travelling around Thailand taking notes while being attentive to the needs of the general Thai population. He sought to promote agricultural and social development by leading thousands of agricultural projects to improve the peoples’ lives. Despite the palace’s recent health updates, the announcement of his demise has shocked the Thai people, who were pictured grief stricken on the streets mourning the death of their deeply revered monarch.
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been named as the heir to the throne, and has asked for time to delay being officially proclaimed as King while he joins the rest of the nation to mourn the loss of his father. The Crown Prince’s request is not out of the norm, as His Majesty held the highest position of respect in the Kingdom of Thailand. The Prime Minister has also stepped forward to announce that the Crown Prince will perform his duty as heir to the throne. The people of Thailand are likely to stay united and put aside any political differences out of respect for His Majesty during this time. Major political events are expected to be put on hold at least until the national mourning period of one year is over.
The Prime Minister has also urged the public to join the government in wearing black during the bereavement period. All television channels will carry monochromatic broadcasts and flags will be flown at half-mast for one month. The interim government has announced an official mourning period of one year and has requested for a 30-day halt on entertainment activities.
Economically, multinationals and local businesses should expect delays in operational activities while the nation grieves for His Majesty during this mourning period. Tourism may see a temporary spike as many overseas Thai people make their way home to pay their final respects to the King.
While economic activities may be curtailed during this period of national mourning, given the resilience of the Thai people and Thailand’s economic fundamentals, we expect the economy to remain largely stable for the next 12 months.