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Asean Affairs    25  October  2011

Stock markets can be unpredictable

 By David Swartzentruber

 AseanAffairs     25  October 2011

Sometimes stock markets can be entirely unpredictable.

In the face of continued bad flood news in Thailand, the Stock Exchange of Thailand ended up 26.21 points today. The only plausible reason could be the allotment of 250 billion baht (US$8 billion) to rehabilitate business during the post-flood period, whenever that comes. Investors certainly must be applauded for their buoyant spirit, refusing to sink under the weight of encroaching flood waters.

The only other good news was that fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has purchased water pumps from South Korea to aid the flood effort headed by his youngest sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. They afre set to artrive on Wednesday.

Other than the above, Thailand’s second airport, Don Mueang, was closed as flood waters engulfed the runways and affected the lighting system.
Other statistics continue to unfold as the water seeks it path to the sea through Bangkok. A total of 283 bank branches are closed and 270 out of the 6,003 7-Eleven stores are closed, as shoppers have engaged in panic hoarding of such staples as noodles.

Looking ahead, many observers are calling for improved planning from both government and the private sector to cope with future crises.

Forward planning has never been a strong point of Thai government as the goals and priorities change whenever the a new party or coup sweeps into power. Often the goal of administrations that come into power during coups are simply to “settle the country” after periods of political conflict.

The 2006 coup and the recent July 3 elections are typical examples of how Thai government policies lurch to and fro usually without long-term goals and programs. The environmental issues that face Thailand are unfortunately long-term. It will be of interest to see if the flood disaster will bring significant change to the way Thai politicians think other than winning the next election .

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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