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NEWS UPDATES 23 July 2010

Thai PM sees investment surge

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Thailand can attract rebounding global foreign direct investments, thanks to the country's strong economic recovery, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says.

Mr. Abhisit recently told the launch of the World Investment Report 2010 prepared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) that Thailand is among Asian countries whose economies have recovered significantly from the global financial crisis, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

"Global investments have shown clear signs of a rebound. Thailand and Asia have been perceived as the main locations for world investments and have played major roles in driving the global economic recovery," he said.

Figures from the Board of Investment (BoI) indicate that foreign direct investments (FDI) into Thailand rebounded from late 2009 and continued to grow in the first half of this year. FDI has arrived from major investors such as Japan and from other countries which want to step up their presence here, Mr. Abhisit said.

The tourism sector, which was hard hit by the recent political turmoil, has remained an area attracting foreign investments.

But investments over the past month are not only in sectors in which Thailand is a major player. They also are in industries which have the potential to grow, he said.

Mr. Abhisit said Thailand's investment policies have focused more on promoting a low-carbon emission economy. Projects which are less harmful to the environment and help tackle global warming have been well promoted under the investment policies of the BoI.

"We will focus on protecting the environment and creating a balance of economic development and taking care of people's lives," he said.

The Unctad report said Southeast Asia nations are among the beneficiaries of recovering global investments together with South and East Asian economies.

"South, East and Southeast Asia remain priority investment destinations," the report said. "Compared to FDI inflows to other parts of the world, those to South, East and Southeast Asia were less affected by the crisis, dropping by a modest 17% to $233 billion [7.45 trillion baht] in 2009."

The region's relatively strong performance has helped reshape the global FDI landscape as this part of Asia now accounts for one-fifth of FDI inflows worldwide.

The prospects for FDI this year are relatively decent, with an expected pickup to more than $1.2 trillion. Estimates for 2011 are $1.3 trillion to 1.5 trillion and heading back towards the 2008 level of $1.6 trillion to 2 trillion in 2012, the report said.

During the crisis, large emerging markets continued to perform well with the US remaining the biggest recipient of FDI in 2009 followed by China. Three of the six top destinations for FDI - China, Hong Kong and Russia - are now developing or transition economies.

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