News / Asia

Despite Floods, Thai Central Banker Remains Upbeat on Recovery

A Thai man on a mattress paddles along the Chao Phraya River which runs through Bangkok, Thailand, Nov 03, 2011.
A Thai man on a mattress paddles along the Chao Phraya River which runs through Bangkok, Thailand, Nov 03, 2011.
Ron Corben

Thailand's central bank governor says he is optimistic the country's economy will recover in early 2012 from the floods still threatening Bangkok.  The governor's upbeat outlook comes as government authorities discuss multi-billion-dollar recovery and reconstruction plans.

Thailand's most severe floods in 50 years have now claimed 437 lives, affected more than three million households across three quarters of the country's provinces. The estimated financial damage is already in the billions of dollars. The waters have so far inundated almost 10,000 factories, including several industrial estates, north of the city with loss of 660,000 jobs.

While the pace of the inundation has slowed in Bangkok, millions of cubic meters of often fetid water is still advancing to the financial and business districts.

Despite the damage and ongoing concern in Bangkok, Thai central bank governor Prasarn Trulratvorakul says economic recovery is possible if the waters recede by early December and domestic spending is revived.

Speaking to journalists, Prasarn expects private consumption to lead the rebound in early 2012.

"We still believe there will be recovery next year provided that the flood situation starts to improve by early December," said Prasarn.  "We should see Thailand staging a respectable comeback on the back of domestic demand revival. I would like to stress again that Thailand's fate will depend upon her success in reviving domestic demand."

The floods have led the central bank to slash Thailand's expected annual growth rate by half to 2.6 percent.  The World Bank expects the Thai economy to contract in the final quarter by close to two percent.

Hard-hit factories outside Bangkok account for almost 20 percent of national industrial production.

Vikas Kawatra, head of institutional broking at Kim Eng Securities, says reviving the industrial sector should be a government priority.

"Broadly speaking the priorities should be first to fix the industrial sector so factories can start resumption of work and then comes the next step of making sure that this doesn't repeat, doesn't happen," said Kawatra.  "It's a long term process."

Agriculture production in the country's central plains has also been affected. The Rice Exporters Association expects rice exports to fall because of logistical problems in flooded areas. There are also concerns that as much as a quarter of the rice crop could be affected.

For now, tens of thousands of people are already dependent on food and water handouts.

Aid workers and politicians visiting flood-hit areas are met by crowds of anxious people.

This week local businessman Somchai Pattanont traveled by boat along the Chao Phraya River to deliver aid to monks at a temple. Somchai fears it may take two years to recover.

"The country is in for trouble for a long, long time, about one or two years," said Pattanont.  "Many factories of the foreign factory [owners] are destroyed, [the floods] destroyed many factories. So [in] one or two years everything will be better. [But] the people upcountry, upcountry [everything] is destroyed. No money, no food, no rice, trouble. The government will have to pay a lot of money, a lot."

For now, Thai authorities are still focused on the short term challenge of draining the enormous pool of water north of Bangkok into the Gulf of Thailand.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid