Thailand's economic growth is at risk of being derailed by risk factors abroad, says Bangkok Bank executive chairman and prominent economist Kosit Panpiemras.
Growth is projected at 4-5% next year compared with this year's estimates of 5-6% despite various risks such as the ongoing economic crisis in Europe and the US, geopolitical concerns in several countries, changes in weather patterns and the South China Sea dispute.
In addition, various government stimulus programmes that generate short-term benefits may cause debt problems similar to those in Europe if the schemes last a long time, he told a forum yesterday co-hosted by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Asian economies are growing rapidly, especially in Thailand's neighbours.
The Philippines and Laos, for example, reported third-quarter economic growth of 7% and 10%, respectively.
Mr Kosit advised the industrial sector to invest in human resource development, saying human capital will play a large role in improving the country's competitiveness.
"Instead of investing in railways, for instance, they should invest in people and education. Our competitiveness lies not only in railways but in quality, especially in human resources," he said.
Energy analyst Manoon Siriwan said oil prices are expected to remain within the range of US$85-115 a barrel in 2013, down from $120-130 this year, due to lower demand from Western countries.
The International Energy Agency estimates global oil demand will grow by 1.1% next year to 90.5 million barrels per day.
The projection is based on 1.7% GDP growth in the US and a 0.3% contraction in Europe this year.
New York crude is expected to trade at $85-95 a barrel in 2013, while Brent and Dubai crude are estimated at $100-115 and $95-100, respectively.
Coal prices are projected to trade at $80 a tonne due to slower demand from China and increasing use of renewable energy.
"There are significant risks in oil-producing countries that could affect the supply," said Mr Manoon.
He said the government's move to float liquefied petroleum gas prices for the industrial, household and transport sectors will increase the price, while the government may raise the diesel tax next year as the global oil price falls.
In a related development, Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk yesterday said his ministry will act as middleman to settle ongoing internal disputes at the FTI.
A decision will be made within a week, said Mr Prasert after a meeting with FTI representatives yesterday.
The ministry's legal team headed by industry permanent secretary Witoon Simachokedee has been appointed to look into the matter.
"Currently there's no reason for me to use my authority to remove the current FTI chairman, but it is my responsibility to oversee this issue," said Mr Prasert.
"The outcome will depend solely on legal issues, and each side will have to accept the result."
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter