Vol. VIII No. 11 - Tuesday
March 17 - March 23, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


BUSINESS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Bank of Thailand sees economy recovering quickly, in 2010

Finance minister sees exports dropping 10% this year

Finance minister still worried about economic woes

Laos, Vietnam, Thailand to jointly open road transport for trucks in June

Bank of Thailand sees economy recovering quickly, in 2010

Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor Tarisa Watanagase on Thursday voiced confidence that the Thai economy in 2010 would recover more quickly than that in 2009 due to the forecast by the United States Federal Reserve that the US economy will accomplish a turn-around late this year.
Mrs. Tarisa views the Thai economy in the first quarter this year as being better than its performance in the last quarter of 2008, and states that she believes the economy will not be in recession because state spending and investment has begun to accelerate.
She said the economy in the first quarter would contract definitely when compared with the same quarter last year, which saw economic growth of 6 percent, but if compared with the last quarter of 2008, the first-quarter economy is expected to be an improvement.
The BoT chief conceded the economy for 2009 is likely to shrink in the same direction with that forecast by the National Economic and Social Development Board.
Also, Tarisa said she doubted the accuracy of the rating agency Moody’s Investors Service’s forecast that the Thai economy would grow worse than any other country in Asia. She said she did not know what information the agency had used to make the projection. (TNA)


Finance minister sees exports dropping 10% this year

Finance Minister Korn Jatikavanich last Friday predicted the country’s exports would drop by10 percent, or some Bt 500-700 billion in value this year in the wake of repercussions of the global financial crisis.
Speaking in a panel discussion on “Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis”, he said all countries had been affected by this crisis, although by different degrees.
Thailand had experienced heavy losses in terms of exports. It is expected that export values this year would fall by 10 percent or Bt500-700 billion or so from around Bt7 trillion last year.
He said the government is worried most about imminent mass layoffs. For this reason it had ran a budget deficit and set aside a funds to boost employment and stimulate the economy.
Korn said a proposed reduction in raw materials import would be raised for consideration at the discussion as part of Thailand’s efforts to ease the impacts of the financial crisis.
Former finance minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said the ongoing global economic crisis is considered the worst in history.
The economic slowdown Thailand is facing now is just a beginning of the crisis. The impacts of the crisis are expected to be prolonged, for as long as three to four years.
He said the crisis would be more difficult to address than that in 1997 because it had adversely affected both exports and private-sector employment. (TNA)


Finance minister still worried about economic woes

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanich on Friday conceded he is still worried about Thailand’s economic woes even though the government is about to issue new economic stimulus packages.
At present, he said, many of the world’s leading financial institutions remain unable to address their financial problems.
A number of major commercial banks are expected to seek state assistance. Should they receive the help, they will become state-owned banks, which could face difficulty in setting aside money to invest overseas or in placing purchase orders for products.
However, the government has prepared measures to prevent future problems, he said, adding that it would soon issue a second and third set of economic stimulus measures.
Simultaneously, the mid-year budget is scheduled to be disbursed by the end of this month.
Korn said executives of two giant foreign automakers called on him Friday morning and expressed an attention to expand their investment in Thailand further.
Some foreign companies, aware that they had only a limited amount of cash available, chose to invest solely in Thailand.
The finance minister believed that more foreign companies in many industries would shift their investment to Thailand from neighboring countries in the near future. (TNA)


Laos, Vietnam, Thailand to jointly open road transport for trucks in June

Three neighboring Southeast Asian countries will jointly open highway routes for truck transportation aimed at facilitating lower-cost freight transport beginning June 19, a senior Thai transport ministry official said Saturday.
Land Transport Department Director-General Chairat Sa-nguansue said Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, using the terms of the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) accord agreed in Vietnam last month, will open a route linking Thailand’s northeastern province of Mukdahan with Savannakhet City and the Dansavan border trade zone in Xepon district of the Lao PDR’s Savannakhet province, and continuing to Laobao in Vietnam.
The total distance of the route from Mukdahan to Laobao is about 500 kilometres and takes about 10.5 hours to travel.
Under the agreement, about 400 trucks from each country will transport goods along this route, Chairat said.
In order to facilitate transportation, including customs procedures, health inspection and required guarantees, Thai officials will cooperate with both the Lao and Asian Development Bank (ADB) authorities in providing training on left- and right-hand driving as the three countries do not follow the same driving system, he said.
The special driver training sessions will be held in late April in Mukdahan and in Savannakhet. (TNA)



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