Applications for investment privileges down 7% in first half
The global financial crisis coupled with domestic
political turbulence posed major problems for the foreign investment climate
in Thailand, as applications seeking investment privileges during the first
half of 2009 slipped to about Bt180 billion, down seven percent from the
same period of last year, Atchaka Sibunruang Brimble, secretary-general of
the Board of Investment (BoI) said Saturday.
Despite the decline, Atchaka said she is optimistic that investment seeking
promotional privileges from the BoI will improve during the second half of
2009 as several major firms have applied for the privileges already.
They include Bridgestone, which plans to invest more than Bt1 billion in
boosting its tire output, and Samsung’s application to raise its investment
by about Bt3 billion, she said.
Also, the World Bank has forecast that Thailand’s economy would turn around
and grow 1.8 percent during the fourth quarter this year, which would in
turn help improve tourism, Atchaka said. She said she hoped the current
virus siege would not greatly impact the tourism industry.
Touching on earlier remarks by Industry Minister Charnchai Chairungrueng
that foreign investment in Thailand will soar to Bt490 billion, she said the
figures were probably derived from talks between the minister and
prospective foreign investors. That level of investment would probably be
achieved after a time, she said.
The BoI has moved its investment target for 2009 to Bt450 billion, down from
the Bt650 billion goal set earlier this year. (TNA)
Central bank decreases
economic growth projection
The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has revised its economic
growth estimate for this year downward to 3-4.5 percent from the 1.5-3
percent forecast earlier, citing the presence of many critical risk factors
which the economy now faces.
BoT Deputy Governor Atchana Waiquamdee said the factors include the
slower-than-expected global economic growth, possible failure by the
government to disburse its budget to stimulate the economy, political
uncertainties, the ongoing A(H1N1) influenza pandemic that affects tourism
and private-sector consumption, and rising oil prices.
These factors could undermine both corporate earnings and the purchasing
power of consumers.
“The economy looked more stable in the first two months of the second
quarter and we believed it had already bottomed out. Still, the negative
growth of the gross domestic product at 7.1 percent in the first quarter is
worse than expected,” Atchana said.
However, she revealed that the central bank had increased the GDP projection
for next year to 3-5 percent from 1.5-3 percent expected earlier since it is
projected the global economy will recover and grow 3.4 percent next year.
Atchana said the Thai economy is likely to enjoy positive growth in the
fourth quarter this year because exports will tend to decline at a slower
pace, the second phase economic stimulus scheme will benefit the economy and
the government speeds up its budget disbursements.
Private-sector consumption is expected to drop further by 1-3 percent and
private investment to shrink by 17-19 percent.
Exports are forecast to contract 19.5-22.5 percent and imports to shrink
29-32 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of US$15-18 billion and a
current balance surplus of the same amount.
She affirmed the central bank had closely monitored the baht movement.
Atchana shrugged off criticism that exports had dropped sharply because of
the stronger baht, saying the plunge was not mainly due to the baht’s rise.
Whether exports would grow favorably depends on the global economic
situation and the economic expansion of Thailand’s trade partners. (TNA)