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[SINGAPORE] 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 per cent, which is the best - or least miserable - for all 74 economies surveyed by Bloomberg.
Singapore and Japan are close runner ups, with 1.40 per cent and 2.70 per cent, respectively. The UK ranks the 17th least miserable country while the US 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 per cent. With an index of 188.2 per cent, the South American country is easily the "world's most miserable" place. It is followed by Bosnia at 48.97 per cent and South Africa with 32.90 per cent.
Thailand's unemployment rate was around one per cent at the end of June, while its consumer price index rose 0.1 per cent year-on-year in July versus a 0.4 per cent 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.