The Bank of Thailand has lifted the outstanding value of combined overseas investment from US$30 billion to $50 billion, as part of its move to counter greater currency volatility.

“Exporters will be among the first beneficiaries. Later on, these measures will benefit Thais planning to invest overseas,” said Katiya Greigarn, chairman of the Electrical, Electronics and Allied Industrial Club under the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The new measures would help relieve the pressure that has been pushing the baht up, as capital flows would be better balanced, he said.

The electric and electronics industry expects its exports this quarter to improve by 15 per cent from about Bt300 billion a year earlier.

For the whole year, overseas shipments are forecast to grow 7-9 per cent from about Bt1.2 trillion last year.

Aat Pisanwanich, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Studies Centre, said the baht should be trading at 32.5-33 per dollar this year due to the new forex measures.

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BOT lifts overseas investment ceiling to $50 bn

A steep fall in exports caused by the global trade slump drove down industrial production and investment in the frst half of 2009. Business and consumer sentiment was further undermined by political tensions. Although there were signs the worst had passed by midyear, the economy is expected to contract by more than was projected in March. Modest growth is seen resuming in 2010. The tempo of recovery will depend in large part on the Government fully implementing two fscal packages, including a new public investment program. Those plans would be at risk if political disruptions recur. The consumer price index is now forecast to decline this year, before low-level infation returns next year.

Thailand’s economic growth over the last three decades has been fueled and accompanied by rapid industrialization, urbanization, and by intensified agricultural production and fishing. This growth, which has relied extensively on the country’s abundant and diverse natural resources, has degraded land and water quality, caused the loss of natural habitats, and generated increasing levels of air and water pollution. In response, the Government and people of Thailand have launched new initiatives to improve air and water quality, reforest degraded land, adopt energy efficient technologies and invest in pollution abatement schemes.

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BOT lifts overseas investment ceiling to $50 bn

A clear policy framework is needed, and the development direction set forth by the policy makers should be based on reliable information on the current status of infrastructure development. Systematic, periodic, and internationally-standard information collection within the infrastructure sector will provide Thai policy makers with good background with which to assess the current situation, identify bottlenecks, set clear policy direction, and prioritize projects more effectively .

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