The board of the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the policy to permit foreign companies, which have never been listed anywhere, to list in the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
Chinese investment funds, Middle Eastern petrodollars — there is a huge amount of new money being channeled into the Asian capital markets. ‘The relative strength and power of sovereign wealth funds is massively increasing, and the money has to go somewhere. There has been a massive outflow from China, particularly into energy and resources. The more savvy Thai companies are increasingly tailoring their investor relations strategies to the changes in power in the markets.
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.
Against the backdrop of a weakening US dollar and mounting trade surpluses, East Asian currencies and Thai baht have appreciated only modestly
The export collapse in 2009 has been the most severe in Thailand’s recent history. The magnitude of the decline has been unprecedented. Since 1957, there have been nine episodes where exports contracted for at least six consecutive months. Losses to date are more than double those in the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the 2001 “dot.com” bubble turmoil. Thailand’s export performance tracked developments in world merchandise trade, which dropped around four and eight percent in the 1997 and 2001 meltdowns, respectively, but 22 % so far during the current global financial crisis.