BANGKOK, March 26 (TNA) Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor Tarisa Wattanagase on Wednesday confirmed that the Thai economy will shrink for the first time in 11 years.
Worldwide downward economic trends have not bottomed out, Mrs. Tarisa warned, speaking on ’Viewpoints on Money and Capital Market Situation,’ the central bank chief said that the global economic conditions had not yet bottomed out despite the latest home building data shows 22 per cent growth in the United States.
The world economy this year is quite uncertain and worse than earlier predicted. It will affect the Thai economy, which is likely to shrink for the first time since 1998.
However, she believed the impact on Thailand will not be as severe as that in 1997 when the country’s economy was in crisis.
She said the central bank will revise Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) estimate for 2009 in April because all recently released economic data are delivering only bad news.
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Thai economy shrinks amid global economic volatility: BoT
More about Thailand business Bank of Thailand confirmed that the Thai economy will shrink for the first time in 11 years
Recent crashes in Thailand’s GDP and export markets, plus the drop in tourism fuelled by recession and last year’s domestic political turmoil, have dispelled illusions that the country is insulated from the effects of the global downturn. Numerous indicators of economic health are hitting the red, foreign investment is evaporating, unemployment is surging, and credit lines are freezing up. Thailand’s government still says there is a possibility of positive growth this year, despite facing a rougher ride than in the 1997 Asian financial crisis as conditions infest the real economy on a broader scale.
Rapid industrial expansion and population growth have outpaced environmental management, resulting in sharply increased pollution levels (e.g. solid and hazardous waste, air, noise, and water). For example, fine particles in Bangkok’s air exceed WHO standards by 2.5 times, and other air pollutants are also causing major health impacts. Overall, it is estimated that air and water pollution costs the country 1.6 – 2.6 percent of GDP per year.
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These include both universal tariff reductions, which are applicable to goods from all countries, and specific tariff reductions that result from free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries and regions. For example, since June 2008, a wide range of agricultural and manufactured products from ASEAN member countries, China, India, and New Zealand enjoy lower or no tariffs. Among others, they are butter, vegetable extracts and fats, pharmaceutical products, paper and tubes for a medical use, pumps for liquid, air and vacuum pumps, commercial trucks, steel tubes, iron wires, aluminum structures, dish washing machines, weighting machines, and switching circuits and boards parts. In addition, the government will also cut or cancel tariffs for three types of animal feeds (soybean, corn, and fish meals) in 2009. The magnitude of changes varies across different trade agreements, such as those with the WTO, ASEAN, ACMECS28, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
Many of these tax privileges were scheduled to expire at the end of this year, but now extended for another one to three years, depending on whether such tools and equipment can be currently locally produced. The government also cancels many parts and components required in assembling chasses used in vehicles that are fueled entirely by natural gas.
For the year 2008, the Thai economy decelerated from the previous year, particularly in the last quarter where global economic downturn and internal political unrest adversely affected manufacturing production and tourism. Nonetheless, farm income in Thailand still expanded well from higher major crop production and price compared to the previous year. On the demand side, private consumption and investment declined notably in the last quarter, despite falling inflation during the second half of the year in line with lower oil prices. Both export and import expanded satisfactorily during the first three quarters. However, during the last quarter, export contracted following trading partners’ economic slowdown while import decelerated markedly in line with export and domestic demand conditions.