Tata Steel (Thailand), a unit of India-based Tata Group, will complete within two years a study of mini-blast furnace utilisation by manufacturers of high-quality steel for the automotive industry, before making a decision on its next investment project.

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Tata studying local high-value steel production

Foreign direct investment has decelerated markedly in Thailand, but inflows should continue in 2009 and 2010 due to the secular trend to move production away from advanced economies.

Key risks to the outlook are (i) political uncertainty and (ii) the timing of the withdrawal of fiscal and monetary stimulus. Increased political tensions may have a long-lasting impact on investment, and withdrawal of stimulus (in Thailand and the advanced economies) must be precisely timed to avoid macroeconomic imbalances (including new asset bubbles) while also ensuring that the recovery is on a sufficiently solid footing.

Long-term growth will require improving productivity and greater focus on distributional issues. Imbalances present before the crisis remain, but the crisis has increased the urgency of reforms to improve productivity, enhance competitiveness, and promote more equitable growth. Openness to trade and investment have been – and will continue to be – essential to Thailand’s long-term growth. However, a return to high growth will require boosting domestic consumption and developing additional sources of external demand.

Stimulus programs were implemented in Thailand throughout 2009, confirming improved expectations, boosting demand and supporting the momentum of the economic recovery.

Most of the infrastructure development in Thailand has been responsive to demand rather than forward-looking. Availability and accessibility appear to no longer be a challenge. The next step for Thailand is to put more emphasis on quality of service delivery, management, and sound regulation.

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