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Pattaya Daily News

12 May 2008 :: 17:05:41 pm 3803

Economic Situation Looking Bleak for Rural Thai Poor

The bottom 40% of the Thai population are beginning to feel the impact of higher fuel and food prices, with rice having tripled in price over the past few months, but Central bank economist, Thanawat Ruenbanterng, maintains all is not doom and despondency.
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Thailand, the 12th of May 2008 [Pattaya Daily News]: The spokesman for the Bank of Thailand says higher farm commodities prices, and stimulus programmes by the state contributing to improved confidence may offset some of the impact, at least for Bangkok residents.

These measures will, however, take considerably longer for the rural poor to benefit. Thanawat Ruenbanterng predicts that those with monthly incomes of Baht3,900 to 8,000 may well have to get loans or use their reserves, in the event they have any.

The obvious initial effect will be that funds of the rural poor will be diverted towards food and fuel and away from consumer goods, generally. Ruenbanterng, however, is confident that the government’s stimulus measures and subsidy programmes, such as the Commerce Ministry’s Blue Flag programme for household goods, could go some way to benefiting the poor and compensate to some degree for inflation

Ruenbanterng is confident that the government measures and rising crop prices will restore an element of confidence and result in domestic consumption rising by 4% this year. However, that is dependent on food and fuel prices remaining constant, which is highly unlikely.

Oil prices have already hit an all-time high at $126 per barrel and judging by the rapid rise, it is set to rise still further with the highest estimates of $200 per barrel by the end of the year, according to some pundits. Additionally, the stopgap solution of bio-fuels obviously presents no ongoing solution as it takes land away from badly needed agricultural production.

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Business News

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