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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        30  June  2011

Thailand's economic outlook expected to hold

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No matter the outcome of Sunday's election, the results should not have a significant impact on the Thai economy. The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) says the Thai economy should grow by at least 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent this year.

"The economy grew by 3 percent in the first half this year, and increased growth is expected in the second half. Although politics is considered a risk, even with government policy shifts it should not have a significant affect on our economy," said Wichayayuth Boonchit, a senior economist from the NESDB, at an economic forum.

Dr. Wichayayut remained optimistic about the world economy in the latter half of this year despite the lingering effects of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

"Setting aside the negative effects toward the automotive sector, the disaster actually benefits Thailand's exports in the garment and food industries, where exports in April and May saw a record high of 30 percent," he said.

Meanwhile, the European economic crisis will not affect Thailand's exports as long as it does not spread into countries such as Germany and France, which are Thailand's main markets.

Positive factors also include the strengthening of the Thai baht, employment growth, liquidity and government measures in lowering living costs.

Kobsak Pootrakool, an executive vice-president with Bangkok Bank, said Thailand's economy should grow by 5 percent at the end of the year due to Asia's good performance compared to countries such as the US, Europe and Japan, causing fluctuations in currencies and product prices.

"I think there will be a slight effect from political risks, but the Thai economy is flexible and can cope with any political problems," said Dr. Kobsak, who also warned hat politics could affect long-term investment prospects if it resentment lingers.

"Let's hope that whichever party wins forgets some of the promises made during the campaign or else our financial status will worsen."

The office estimated inflation will stand at 3.8 percent this year with the unemployment rate at 0.9 percent of the labor force.

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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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