Some 9.4 million jobs were created in China’s cities during the first ten months of the year, exceeding the goal of nine million for the entire year, state media said on Saturday.
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Demand from businesses have increased rapidly over the years in Thailand
Infrastructure services, if quickly improved, could promote a better investment climate in Thailand. Logistic costs, for example, are reported by firms to be higher for them in 2007 compared to 2004. This is particularly true for industries that are located in regions other than Bangkok and vicinity or the East where the major markets and ports are located. They include the food processing and furniture industries. A partial explanation for the higher logistic cost was the sharp rise in diesel prices from 2004 to 2007. However, another important explanation is the increased congestion of roads and ports which added to the transport time and costs. The quality of public utility services (electricity, water, and telephone) have also declined from 2004 to 2007 as the period of service interruptions have risen. This is a reflection of the inadequacy of infrastructure services as demand from businesses have increased rapidly over the years. These service interruptions are costly for firms and will hurt Thailand’s competitiveness as other countries in the region such as China and Vietnam are quickly improving them.
The government also uses tariff measures as a tool to promote energy policy. To encourage the use of natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles, the government has exempted import duties of many natural gas-related tools and equipment such as bio-fuel conversion kits, natural gas containers, and chasses.
Externally, the trade balance in January 2009 recorded a 1,688 million US dollar surplus. Export value contracted for the third consecutive month while import fell even more rapidly. Export value dropped 25.3 percent (yoy) to 10,382 million US dollars. This was due mainly to contraction across the board except for labour-intensive industries which still expanded from gold export. Import value contracted 36.5 percent (yoy) across the board to 8,694 million US dollars. When accounting for the net services, income, and transfers surplus of 601 million US dollars from lower investment income transfer compared to the previous month, the current account balance registered a 2,289 million US dollar surplus.
Nevertheless, the impact on lending was muted. Commercial banks, concerned about credit risks in a contracting economy, were cautious in lending, while private sector demand for credit generally declined in tandem with economic activity. The rate of increase in loans by commercial deposit-taking institutions slowed from 8.4% in the ifrst quarter to 6.1% in the second. Stock prices as refected in the SET index, afer falling by 48% in 2008, picked up in the second quarter of 2009. The index rose by 45% in the first 8 months of this year, a gain in line with other Asian markets.