Thai CEOs optimistic on country’s economic expansion


BANGKOK, Dec 11 – Most operators of listed companies in Thailand plan to expand their businesses and boost investment next year, an independent survey reported today.

The Thai Listed Companies Association (TLC) and Kasikorn Thai Research Centre (KSC Research) jointly conducted a “CEO Survey – Economic Outlook” in which 81 listed companies from nine different industries participated, focusing on the first half of next year.

Executives of 26 companies forecast Thailand’s economic growth next year at 4.5-5 per cent while only 12 companies are more optimistic that it will exceed 5 per cent.

Pensri Suteerasarn, TLC director, said the CEOs’ confidence on economic growth has improved from its April survey when they forecast expansion at 4-4.5 per cent.

Sixty-one per cent of the high-level businessmen say the global economic slowdown– particularly the European debt crisis–will have a major impact on Thailand’s economy next year while 16 per cent pinpoint political stability and 10 per cent cite the government’s economic policy as problem areas.

Risk factors that continue to disturb Thai businessmen are the economic recession worldwide, Thailand’s political stability and the across-the-board hike of daily minimum wage to Bt300, she said, adding that the skilled labour shortage in the manufacturing sector remains the highest risk factor worrying business operators.

Despite the concern, more than half of the businesses plan to increase employment next year and 44 per cent say they are prepared to become part of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015

Chao Kengchon, chief economist of KSC Research, said America’s Fiscal Cliff  will not be resolved this year, compelling the US to remain in recession, but the European debt situation will improve due to an improved industrial index, though full recovery will not be achieved.

Meanwhile, China’s economy will continue to expand and as will commodity prices, he said, adding that China still enjoys strong foreign reserves and there is still room for further cuts in interest rates, a major economic-stimulation factor.