The Bank of Thailand (BoT) revises 2013 GDP growth projection downward to 4.6 per cent from 5 per cent due to risk factors from the global economy including a slowdown in Thailand’s major trade partners.
In its quarterly economic forecast report released on Friday, Paiboon Kittisrikangwan, BoT Deputy Governor, said the Monetary Policy Committee maintained Thai economic growth forecast this year at 5.7 per cent, assessing that strong domestic demand will help offset the impact from the global economy to some degree.
However, 2013 GDP is projected to grow at a pace of about 4.6 percent, lower than assessed earlier at 5 per cent due to the weaker global economy and delayed disbursements under the government’s water management plan.
“The impact of global demand weakness on exports has become more evident. Manufacturing exports have been the hardest hit, especially for electronic products and electrical appliances where foreign orders started to decline. Additionally, agricultural exports are likely to remain contracted, partly due to rice exports, which suffered from high rice prices driven up by the rice mortgage scheme,”
the report said.
The central bank revises its 2013 export growth projection downward from 10.8 percent to nine percent. It is believed that exports will bounce back in the second half of 2013 as the global economic trend is likely to improve. The bank also trims 2012 export growth forecast to 4.4 per cent from 7 per cent.
Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point.
As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.
In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?
PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
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