ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai GDP could hit 8 percent
Thai exports weathered the effects of the strong baht and bearish global economic conditions very well in November, with growing Asian demand helping to offset sluggish European sales. November shipments rose year-on-year in both US dollar and baht terms, with the dollar value increasing by a healthy 28.4 percent to US$17.7 billion.
In baht terms, exports were valued at 525 billion baht, up by 14.7 percent from November 2009. For the first 11 months of this year, the dollar value rose by 29.1 percent to $178 billion and the baht value by 20.1 percent to 5.66 trillion baht.
However, it is expects that Thailand's economy will contract by up to 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months given the relatively high base in the third quarter, when the economy grew by a strong 6.7 percent.
Estimated annual growth figures for the fourth quarter are not yet available. However, Mr. Arkhom said they would likely be positive on a yearly basis.
The Thai economy grew by 5.9 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2009. The NESDB said in 2011, Thailand's GDP could also grow by more than the targeted range of 3.5-4.5 percent if Thai business operators focus more on value-added products and increases are seen in government and private investment and domestic consumption.
However, the baht appreciation will be a key risk factor for local economic growth next year. If the currency strengthens by more than 10 percent against the dollar, it will affect GDP by 0.33 percent and reduce export competitiveness.
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