Private sector sees huge losses if no new govt formed within 6 months

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BANGKOK, Feb 3 – Thailand’s key private businesses expressed concern that the country could face a heavy loss if no new government is formed within six months.

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking met in response to the apparently ongoing political problems, causing the country’s economy to plunge 1-2 per cent.

The committee is comprised of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade of Thailand, and the Thai Bankers’ Association.

The meeting aimed to estimate the economic impact resulting from the ongoing political conflict.

FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol said the meeting concluded that should no new government be formed within six months, the country could face an economic loss at Bt120 billion, which means a drop of gross domestic product (GDP) growth by one per cent. Should no government be formed within this year, it will affect the country’s GDP to plunge by two per cent, or a loss at Bt240 billion, which consequently could make Thailand’s GDP to grow less than three per cent — below the potential growth of the 10-member Association of

Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) projected at 5-6 per cent.

Mr Payungsak has asked the caretaker government to discuss with the Election Commission (EC) to approve projects previously endorsed by Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) so that new investments could

proceed to avoid negative impact.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of The Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand, said he is concerned of investment situations in the country during the no-government period. He commented that

investors would go and invest in other ASEAN countries should political protests turn violent. As a result, they would also take with them related supply chain in the economy, and thus Thailand would lose its potential in competitiveness.

Chartsiri Sophonpanich, chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association, said all commercial banks are ready to assist their clients should they face default. However, he said there have been no sign of problems so far.