Investment in the first quarter of this year continues to
show an impressive rise, with nearly Bt100 billion poured into Thailand’s
industrial and farming sectors, according to new figures released last week
by the Board of Investment (BOI).
The figures have served to reinforce the optimism of BOI
Secretary-General Somphong Wanapha, who has said that investment for the
year 2004 is certain to hit BOI’s target of Bt290 billion.
The first quarter figures show that the electronics
industry is continuing to receive the highest proportion of investment.
Somphong also stressed that the current unrest in the
southern border region was not having an adverse effect on investment
“In the first quarter, investment in the southern
region grew by 20 percent, compared with the same period of last year, with
20 investment projects. Most of these concern investment in the rubber and
seafood sectors. This shows clearly that the problems in the south have not
had an adverse impact on investment. The investors that put their money in
this region do so directly, and on a long-term basis,” he said.
Nonetheless, he admitted that a continuance of unrest in
the region could eventually serve to dent investment.
Requests for investment concessions in the first quarter
of 2004 stood at Bt93.8 billion, up 25 percent from the same period in 2003.
The total number of projects for which investment
concessions were requested stood at 353, an increase of 36 percent.
The electronic and electrical goods industries took the
bulk of investment, with Bt32.4 billion, most of which went into companies
producing hard disc drives and electrical circuit boards.
Agro-industry and agricultural products enjoyed the
second highest amount of investment, with Bt17.7 billion.
Interestingly, given Thailand’s avian flu crisis at the
start of the year, a considerable proportion of this money went towards
farms and factories involved in chicken production and processing.
Trailing in third were small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs), with investment of Bt4 billion.
The largest proportion of foreign investors over the
first quarter continued to come from Japan, with the Japanese putting their
money in automobile parts and electronics industries.
Second were the Taiwanese, who were mainly involved in
the petrochemical, paper, and plastic industries. (TNA)