News / Asia

    After Devastating Floods, Thailand’s Economy Bounces Back

    A vendor sells egg at a flooded market in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok November 17, 2011.
    A vendor sells egg at a flooded market in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok November 17, 2011.
    Ron Corben

    After devastating floods, Thailand’s bruised economy is depending on the impact from government flood support funds, pent-up domestic demand and renewed corporate investment to spur growth.  But an uncertain international economic environment may also prove to be a challenge for recovery, going into 2012.

    In central Bangkok, street markets and department stores are again filled with shoppers and bargain hunters.

    Mr. Aungladeth, who operates a small clothing store, says consumers have returned and he hopes 2012 will be a better year after the last year’s floods.

    “After the flood they are coming to buy new clothes or new shoes. [But] many shops closed because of the flooding," he explained.  "2012 I think its better, better than last year. Many things happen last year like the flooding.”

    Flooding that began in July claimed more than 800 lives and cost the economy up to $45 billion. Thai economic growth plunged in the final quarter of 2011 as water inundated vital farmland and industrial estates on the central plains. By December, Thailand’s annual economic growth was just above 2 percent.

    But the economy is slowly picking up

    On Monday, the state think tank, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said investment and exports will be key economic drivers in 2012.

    The NESDB forecast investment growth to reach more than 10 percent, from four percent in 2011. Household consumption is also set to rise. The government’s Fiscal Policy Office is pitching annual growth at 5.0 percent.

    Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat na Ranong is confident growth could reach close to 7 percent, aided by government flood recovery spending that is set to exceed $11 billion.
    But Thai consumers are also fretting about inflation, with prices on the rise since the floods receded. Thai construction executive Mr. Surapong, says price inflation is hurting consumers.

    “Inflation is so high, very high. Everything is expensive after the flooding," he said. "All of it - food, is especially expensive, so expensive. 2012. I think GDP [gross domestic product] will grow up about 5.0 percent - not 7.0 percent. Last year 2.5 percent - 5.0 percent can do.”

    An United Nations assessment warned about the flood’s wider impact on the fertile central plains, which account for nearly half of the country’s agricultural output.

    The region is also home to several major industrial estates producing automobiles and computer hard disk drives.

    Thailand is the world’s second largest hard disk drive producer. The production disruptions to global production chains are expected to affect computer manufacturers into early 2012. Shortages have already led to higher prices for hard disk drives.

    But Suphavud Saicheau, managing director of Phatra Securities, says many Thai businesses are already on their way back to recovery.

    “It looks like the economy has bottomed and so hopefully the first quarter and you will see and improvement," Suphavud said."We haven’t seen anything to indicate any recovery. But I highly suspect that we will have a recovery because industrial companies - the corporate - have been busily restructuring and repairing. So far the economic figures have been atrocious because they reflect the height of the losses from the flood damage.”

    U.N. economists also warn export dependent economies such as China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong, also face a threat of an export slow down because of the economic uncertainties in European markets.

    But the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in a December report, says trade within the Asia Pacific region should provide a key boost to the Thai economy.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora