News / Asia

Thai Economy Shows Signs of Improvement After Coup

Soldiers check rice stocks at a warehouse in Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, July 3, 2014.
Soldiers check rice stocks at a warehouse in Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, July 3, 2014.
Ron Corben

As Thailand’s military presses on with economic reforms, the country’s economy is showing signs of recovery following months of political turmoil that led to the military coup in May.

Thailand's central bank said it expects to see signs of economic growth by the second half of 2014, as the military government presses on with reforms and restructuring.

The central bank forecast a 5.5 percent rate of growth in 2015.

During the first three months of the year, when government decision making was largely paralyzed by political turmoil, the economy contracted by 2.1 percent, compared to the previous three months.

But since ousting the civilian government May 22, surveys have indicated business and consumer confidence has revived, and the stock market is ahead.

Recovery seen

Narongchai Akrasanee, an adviser to the ruling National Committee for Peace and Order (NCPO) and a member of the central bank's monetary authority, said the economy is recovering as the government sets in place a new budget and investments.

"Many of the policies which were implemented by the last government were not able to be carried out or some of them were carried out in a very bad way so this new administration is just trying to unblock many of these things," Narongchai said.

"We're coming back. We've been in a difficult position for many years. In the eyes of lots of foreigner investors - the message I want to say is we are coming back," he added.

Business analysts said the military appears to have learned lessons from the 2006 coup, when its reform proposals stall.

The current government has moved quickly on a range of issues, including meeting outstanding payments to rice farmers, and starting massive new transportation and water management infrastructure projects.

Angus Kent, managing director of Macquarie Securities in Thailand, said the military's initial moves have been seen as positive by business, including foreign investors.

"It comes down to the reforms on a structural basis. I think the engagement from the NCPO with the chambers of commerce and other agencies have been a big positive," Kent said. "There also seems a sense of urgency to get things done, which I think from many people's experience in the room - urgency in the past is not something we're accustomed to."

Reform bureaucracy

The military has also moved to reform the bureaucracy and to reduce the influence of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who has lived abroad since 2008 to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

Pavida Pananond, an associate professor at Thammasat University's business school, said the military has moved to combat corruption as well as restructure boards of state-owned enterprises.

"Another area is the intention to clean up corruption. It's a welcome move," Pavida said. "We can see now a lot of things have been addressed for example the boards of the state-owned enterprises have seen many resigned and some of the senior technocrats have also been moved to inactive posts in the office of the prime minister."

The government has set out a $75 billion infrastructure spending program on new rail links and highways. But it also put a halt to projects of the previous government that they claim may have been tainted by corruption.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs