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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  April 2011

Next Thai government has challenges

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The next government will face many challenges on the economic front amid rising oil prices, uncertainty over the global recovery, the nuclear crisis in Japan, and local politics, a leading researcher said yesterday.

Bunluasak Pussarungsri, head of the research office at CIMB Thai bank, said at a seminar hosted by the bank that political unrest in oilproducing countries in the Middle East and North Africa was unlikely to end soon.

"Saudi Arabia, the largest oil exporter, will likely face political trouble due to rising population, education reforms and high unemployment," he said.

Weak political institutions, population growth, educational reform and high unemployment are typical factors causing instability in the Middle East and North Africa, he said. Unemployment in Saudi Arabia is 11.8 per cent currently.

The direct impact on the Thai economy will not be much because Thailand's export to the region is small, he said. The Middle East accounted for only 5 percent of total Thai exports last year. The combined gross domestic product of Arab countries made up only 3.6 percent of the global economy last year.

However, the indirect impact of rising oil prices would hit the Thai economy hard. Thailand's oil imports amount to 9.4 percent of GDP, the highest ratio in the world, Bunluasak said.


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

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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