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Pattaya Daily News

29 November 2007 :: 12:11:38 pm 22906

Deputy Pm Still Upbeat About Economic Growth Next Year

BANGKOK, Nov 29 - Thailand‘s Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Kosit Panpiemras on Wednesday expressed confidence the Thai economy would continue to grow next year although it had experienced many risk factors including the oil price hike, baht volatility and sub-prime lending woes in the United States.
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He projected the economy would expand 4.5 per cent this year since the government’s move to count on the fiscal policy to drive the economy helped boost the gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter.

Investment appeared to improve in the third quarter. Although it was not significant, it boded well for the investment sentiment.

Mr. Kosit said he believed the private investment would have a clearer picture in the fourth quarter.

Simultaneously, imports of capital goods had been seen increasing by up to 20 per cent against negative growth previously.

He said the government had given an importance to increasing investment since it estimated exports would grow at a slower pace.

Given these factors, he forecast the economy would grow 5 per cent next year with an inflation rate staying in a range of 3.5 per cent set by the Bank of Thailand. The inflation rate this year is likely to stay around 2 per cent.

“Although many problems facing the country will drag on next year, some will ease. For instance, it is less likely fuel prices will further increase because they have climbed up for the whole year,” he said.

Santi Vilassakdanont, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said he believed the economy would grow 4 per cent this year and might expand 4.5 per cent next year because exports continued to increase satisfactorily.

He conceded the local market had been affected by mounting concerns over surging oil prices.

Still, he was confident the situation would improve if the new government managed to restore confidence among consumers, perform duties swiftly, and invest in mega-projects.

He said the economy is likely to continue growing next year because the country’s production base and trade remain very strong.

Although exports to the US would decline, total shipments to new markets such as China, India, Middle East and Eastern Europe enjoyed a two-digit growth.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Sathit   Category : Business News

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