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26 July 2009

Thailand sees 7% decline in applications for investment privileges

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The global financial crisis coupled with domestic political turbulence posed major problems for foreign investment climate in Thailand as applications seeking investment privileges during the first half of 2009 slipped to about 180 billion baht (1$=34.4 baht), down seven percent from the same period of last year, Atchaka Sibunruang Brimble, secretary-general of Thailand Board of Investment (BoI) was quoted by Thai News Agency as saying 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 1 billion baht in boosting its tyre output, and Samsung’s application to raise its investment by about 3 billion baht, she said.

Also, the World Bank has forecast that Thailand’s economy would turnaround and grow 1.8 percent during the fourth quarter this year, which would in turn help improve tourism business, 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 490 billion baht, she said the figures were probably derived from talks between the minister with prospective foreign investors. That level of investment would probably be achieved after a time, she said.

The BoI has revised its investment target for 2009 to 450 billion baht, down from the Bt650 billion goal set earlier this year.


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