UNCTAD chief foresees 6% Thai growth in 2013

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Thailand’s economic growth this year will be at least six percent thanks to successive export expansion, the head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) projected last week.

Secretary-General Supachai Panichpakdi said the strengthening Thai baht will positively contribute to increased import of capital goods while local consumption will rapidly increase.

The state’s Bt2 trillion investment in infrastructure will be launched as planned while tourism growth will be better than targeted, he said, adding that Thailand’s public debt at 40-45 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) is stable as it remains lower than the risk figure of 50 percent.

He pointed out that there has been concern on inflow of various categories of capital, especially in property, or condominium investment in particular, and the stock and bond markets.

The Bank of Thailand was urged to intervene in the currency movement to prevent asset prices from rocketing far beyond their fundamental values, while loans to certain categories of business are excessive, sending an early signal of a possible bubble, he said.

Supachai added that the continuous inflow of foreign capital in the past year was due to the quantitative easing by the United States and European Union to trim down unemployment to below 6.5 percent from the present 7.7 percent, which has impacted Asia in general, not only Thailand.

He called on the central bank to closely monitor the inflow and outflow of foreign capital.