Thailand, Singapore and Japan least miserable on Earth: Bloomberg Misery Index

A spectator attending the National Day Parade 2015 held at the Padang had the Singapore flag painted on his face.
A spectator attending the National Day Parade 2015 held at the Padang had the Singapore flag painted on his face.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Thailand, Singapore, and Japan are three of the world's least miserable nations, thanks to falling prices and low unemployment.

That's according to a misery index compiled by Bloomberg which combines the cost of living with the strength of the job market.

Japan and Singapore can thank falling prices. Thailand, meanwhile, has long scored well because its official unemployment rate remains low.

The Misery Index, computed by adding inflation to the unemployment rate, gives the Land of Smiles 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 runners-up, with 1.40 per cent and 2.70 per cent, respectively.

The UK ranks as 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 is 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 32.9 per cent.

Thailand's unemployment rate was around 1 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 South-east 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 said.

It encourages consumers to delay purchases until goods become cheaper, further lowering demand. In this deflationary spiral, wages will drop, Mr Okagawa added.