Thailand is an HDD country. Its aggregate DMC per capita began the period equal to the regional
average, and finished well below average, following a highly volatile trajectory. This volatility can
largely attributed to a rapid increase in consumption of construction minerals in the decade
preceding the AFC, when Thailand’s DMC per capita rose to 11.5 tonnes in 1996 (173% of the
regional average), before falling to 6.1 tonnes in 1999 (Figure 17 (a)). This general profile is also
seen in the material flows of Malaysia and the Republic of Korea, although neither of those two
countries suffered as large a shock to their construction sector. Thailand started the study period
as a net exporter of biomass, and this remained a constant feature of its PTB. Since the late 1980s,
construction minerals have become a second net export. DMC and PTB of fossil fuels grew strongly,
however the relative importance of imports decreased, with 53% of fossil fuels sourced from domestic
extraction in 2008, compared to only 8% in 1970. Thailand’s near total dependency on imports for
petroleum in 1970 has steadily decreased since, so that by 2008 it produced petroleum equivalent to
nearly 40% of DMC. The changing structure of Thailand’s material flows reflect an ongoing transition
from agrarian to industrialized economy, although total minerals share actually peaked prior to the
AFC, as a result of the extraordinary increase in construction activity.
Thailand’s MI decreased gradually between 1970 and 1996, at which point it fell precipitately following
the AFC. The pattern from the AFC to 2008 is most similar to that of Malaysia, with a one off, step
improvement followed by a static (average) trend. This is different to the ongoing decreases in MI
seen for the Republic of Korea.
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