Thailand’s fate, like that of most Asian countries, is at the mercy of global markets, and slumping demand for Thailand’s goods has its export industry, along with related exchange trade fund (ETF), abating.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has stated that the nation’s economy will contract in the first quarter and will start seeing positive growth at the end of the year, according to Forbes. Some economists think Thailand’s economy may even contract 1% for 2009. The first quarter will be similar to the fourth quarter of last year, which contracted 4.3%.
Singapore already announced a $13.6 billion stimulus package that would cut corporate taxes, spur bank lending and help households. But Abhisit says that growth will be possible if the government borrows from abroad to provide measures like cash handouts and long-term infrastructure projects.
Finance Minister Korn Jatikavanich calculates a 10% fall in Thailand’s exports this year. This is quite devastating, considering the fact that exports account for 65% of the country’s GDP. To get back on track, Thailand needs to see growth in this area.
In one of the the world’s largest seaports, there are hundreds of ships sitting idle offshore of Singapore with nothing to transport, writes Tom Wright and Patrick Bart for The Wall Street Journal. Exports plunged 26.5% in January compared to the same month last year. It is estimated that manufacturers could cut up to 100,000 jobs this year under waning exports.
The leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered in Thailand to determine a course of action for dealing with the effects of the global economic downturn, reports Stephen Wright for The Associated Press.
A major development is the signing of a free-trade pact among New Zealand, Australia and ASEAN, which will hopefully stop any protectionist policies among the trading partners. The finance ministers are talking about expanding emergency currency funds to $120 billion from $80 billion.
- iShares MSCI Thailand (THD): down 7.8% in the last month; up 3.1% in the last three months
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