As the year begins, the world is still struggling towards recovery. Despite better conditions in financial markets, many high-income economies remain fragile. The World Bank has just cut the global growth forecast for this year from 3% to 2.4%, a slight improvement on 2.3% in 2012.
When thinking globally is tiring and not promising, I tend to look nearer and closer to home. Growth prospects for our neighbours seem much better. The World Bank expects CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) to grow 6.5% on average this year.
The importance of our neighbours to the Thai economy can no longer be taken lightly. CLMV countries have become significant partners in Thailand's trade and investment. The share of Thailand's exports to CLMV was 7.5% in 2012, compared with 4.8% in 2007. Thai firms have also increased their exposure to CLMV by investing more and more in these countries, from US$18.236 billion in 2007 to $28.888 billion in 2011.
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