All smiles for the Thai economy

Aza Wee Sile


Things are turning around in the Land of Smiles with promising signs pointing to an economic recovery,according to a senior executive at Thailand’s stock exchange.

Thailand’s gross domestic product climbed 2.9 percent from a year ago in the thirds quarter, on the back of domestic spending and exports. This improvement comes after a series of disruptive events in Thailand’s recent history including the military coup in May last year and the Bangkok explosions near a famous shrine in August.

Pakorn Peetathwatchai, chief strategy and finance officer of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, told CNBC that he expects growth in the next quarter to be around 3 percent.

“Next year, the government plans to [roll out] a lot of new investments and that would be the major factor to drive the economy,” said Peetathwatchai in a CNBC interview.


Getty Images Bangkok, Thailand.

Getty Images
Bangkok, Thailand.


Thailand’s Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong announced plans yesterday to launch the $2.79 billion “Thailand Future Fund” by the end of this year to support infrastructure investments, Reuters reported.

“The government spending plan is not limited to just long-term infrastructure investments but also investments into new sectors,” Peetathwatchai said.

“Now they can start to think of additional issues like how we can create short-term consumption, new investments in the private sector,” added Peetathwatchai, who is also a CNBC CFO Council member.

According to Peetathwatchai, the tourism industry which constitutes 10-12 percent of Thailand’s GDP, a pick-up in the global economy and increased government spending are the three major factors to drive Thailand’s economy next year.

The Bank of Thailand has forecast GDP growth of 2.7 percent for 2015 and 3.7 percent next year, according to Reuters.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index is down 12.3 percent year to date, with notable dip in August because of the Erawan shrine bombings.

Peetathwatchai however is optimistic about the outlook of the SET, particularly the pipeline of initial public offering (IPO) which has been attracting “infrastructure trusts, REITs and holding companies [which enables] foreign companies to list their assets more easily.”

“This year’s IPO pipeline is quite steady,” said Peetathwatchai, who added that he is confident of the total IPO market to be worth about $7 billion this year.

In 2016, he expects the IPO pipeline to include a varied combination of industries to include energy, consumers and logistics.

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