The continued anti-government rally by the red-shirts is severely hurting the country’s tourism sector, spokesman for the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (FETTA), Charoen Wangananont, said on Thursday.
The Thai baht has appreciated, but only to the extent of other regional exchange rates. The baht has appreciated 4.9 percent in 2009, compared for example to over 30 percent of the Brazilian real.
Key risks to the outlook are political uncertainty and 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.
Automotive exports – the second largest item in the country?s exports after electronics – fell sharply early this year by about 45 percent from a year before. (During 2009, exports slumped through May before rebounding in the third quarter, although data of late suggest some leveling off of foreign demand.) Compared with electronics, automotive exports are half as large in value but have twice as large value-added per unit of output, leaving the contributions of both sectors to GDP about equal.
Against the backdrop of a weakening US dollar and mounting trade surpluses, East Asian currencies and Thai baht have appreciated only modestly
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.