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Thai investment sentiment likely to pick up in H2


August 5, 2008

Thai investment sentiment likely to pick up in H2
Thailand’s investment sentiment is likely to pick up in the second half of this year following the government’s implementation of an economic stimulus package to boost the economy, according to a top securities analyst.

The Thai News Agency (TNA) on Monday quoted Kongkiati Opaswongkarn, chairman of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations, as saying that he believed the state economic stimulus measures would help improve the investment climate and boost investor confidence.

At a Bangkok seminar, Kongkiati said Thailand has since early this year experienced political turmoil, oil price volatility and global economic slowdown, causing the public to withhold spending decisions despite the fact that the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong and many economic figures are still favourable.

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For instance, he said, exports expanded more than 20 per cent, the operating performances of listed companies on the Stock Exchange of Thailand continued growing, and the collection of state revenues increased.

For these reasons, Kongkiati said, he is confident that the country’s economic growth projection of 5-6 per cent for this year is not out of reach.

State stimulus measures including the oil excise tax cut, public bus and train fare exemptions, and the reduction of public utility bills would encourage people to spend more, he said.

Regarding the new economic team, Konkiati is pleased to see former finance minister Virabongsa Ramangkura agree to chair the prime minister’s economic advisory team.
He commented that it is time for the government to add competent, knowledgeable persons to join the advisory team so that it can give proper attention to dealing with the economic challenges.

Kongkiati said although the current political turmoil had affected investment sentiment in Thailand for some time, it had not damaged the country’s economic fundamentals. And he believes that concern in response to the political uncertainties will finally ease in the second half of the year if investors become more optimistic about political developments.

However, he conceded external risk factors including the global economic slowdown due to sub-prime lending crisis in the United States, surging oil prices and the upcoming US presidential election will influence Thai economic growth in the rest of the year.

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