Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Thai GDP grew by 12 percent in the first quarter of this year, one of the strongest growth rates in the world.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said during his Sunday weekly program that the Thai GDP grew by 12 percent in the first quarter of this year, one of the strongest increases in the world.

However, in the wake of the political turmoil, the Thai economy during the second half of this year will plummet.

However, his administration will work hard at alleviating the effects of the unrest and continue to stimulate the economy, in order to reach the GDP growth target range of 3.5 to 4.5 percent this year.

The target range of annual GDP growth has been lowered from previous estimates which were set in the range of 6 to 7 percent.

The biggest instrument in stimulating the Thai economy is expenditure budget worth 2.07 trillion baht for the year 2011, which has been endorsed in principle by the Lower House. The said the expenditure budget will result in a 400-billion-baht deficit.

The budget will be spent on funding many public welfare programs the coalition government has introduced, to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, and to fund infrastructure projects.

The premier gave assurances that the level of public debt is still manageable. Financial markets have so far been accommodative of the Thai government’s borrowing plans. The burst of the commodity bubble of mid-2008 coupled with subdued levels of economic activity have led to price deflation for most of 2009.  Thailand’s real GDP is projected to grow by 3 to 3.5% next year (2010).

via Thai-ASEAN News Network.

With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2008. In 2009, Thailand’s economy contracted about 2.7% . Implementation of the Thai Kem Kaeng program could have important long-term implications if it sets an example for greater efficiency and transparency in government investments. Future tranches of Thai Kem Kaeng program should put a greater emphasis on investments in economic “software” (skills, regulations), in addition to economic “hardware” (infrastructure).

Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang, BOI Secretary General, noted that businesses have resumed normal operations since the political rally ended.

“Thailand has strong economic fundamentals keeping it on track for continued growth. All economic indicators are positive and point to excellent long-term investment potential,”

she said.

Dr. Sibunruang reported that Thailand’s GDP in the first three months this year expanded by 12 per cent, the highest record in 15 years. Exports in the first quarter grew by 32 per cent. The number of investment applications submitted to the BOI during the first 4 months of this year grew by 53.5 per cent to 413 projects with a combined investment value of Bt135.8 billion. Foreign direct investment (FDI) also expanded by over 140 per cent year-on-year to Bt53 billion, compared to Bt22 billion in 2009, reflecting continued confidence in business opportunities in Thailand.

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