From his dusty Bangkok pawnshop, where gold deposits are still recorded in heavy wooden ledgers, Danai Tangvatanangkoon has had a ringside seat to decades of Thai economic crises.
But since opening his business in 1989, nothing compares to the current crunch, he said, with forfeited power tools and watches stacking up as the economy crumbles under a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the deadliest yet to hit Thailand.
“People don’t have anything left to pawn. Our sales are even worse than the Tom Yum Kung crisis,” he said of the 1997 financial meltdown, which wiped out the savings of millions of Thais before spinning out across Southeast Asia.
“At least then people still had their jobs … now they have nothing.”
Last month the Bank of Thailand slashed its 2021 GDP growth forecast from 3.0 to 1.8 per cent and the 2022 outlook by nearly a percentage point, forecasting an absence of tourists as the virus continues to spread.