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[ 2014-11-24 ]

Pridiyathorn predicts at least 4% growth in 2015

Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula believes the economy will grow at least 4 per cent next year, following the government's investment plans to stimulate growth.

A Thai Chamber of Commerce survey showed that businessmen in every region have a positive outlook for next year, as they expect higher government spending, recovery in tourism and strong cross-border trade growth under the Aseanseamless market.

However, the worrying factors are volatile global economic growth, low crop prices, high debt liabilities, and higher cost of living and production.

During the closing ceremony of the 32nd annual meeting of the chamber in Chiang Rai yesterday, Pridiyathorn said the Thai economy should show clear recovery signs from January following the launch of many government projects and injection of money under its investment plans.

Also, the government is amending hundreds of laws and regulations to facilitate Thai enterprises to do business easily under regional integration. The government should also complete paying Bt40 billion to farmers early next year.

According to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce's estimates, the economy next year could grow in the range of 3-5 per cent, compared to the average Asean growth forecast of 5.4 per cent and global growth of 4 per cent.

Saowanee Thairungroj, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said businessmen expect the economy next year to grow stronger. This prediction is based on exports growing by 4.1 per cent, imports by 5.3 per cent, with average global oil price at US$103-$108 per barrel.

The non-agricultural sector is expected to grow 4.2 per cent, and the agricultural sector will expand 1.6 per cent. The tourism sector will grow 8.6 per cent in terms of number of tourists to 26.6 million, and incomes in the tourism sector will increase 4.3 per cent to Bt1.21 trillion.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to grow on average by 4 per cent, while large-scale enterprises will grow 6.2 per cent next year. The investment sector will be up 6.9 per cent in 2015.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director at the university's Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said the economy this year is expected to grow only 0.8 per cent due to the slow budget disbursement.

However, next year brings higher expectations and better growth, as many of the government's spending projects will kick off.

Based on the UTCC's survey of 700 chamber members, business people foresee the Thai economy starting to expand in the first and second quarter of next year.

Somkiat Anuras, vice chairman of the chamber, said the eastern region is expected to grow the strongest compared to other regions, due to more investment from the government and approval of many investment projects.

To drive economic growth in each region, chamber members have called for the government to drive up the price of farm crops, promote cross-border trade and SMEs.
The Nation November 24, 2014 1:00 am