CEOs of listed companies are optimistic about the Thai economy in 2013, unfazed by effects from the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and political conflicts, according to the CEO Survey-Economic Outlook for the first half.
The survey is a collaboration between the Kasikorn Research Center (KResearch) and the Thai Listed Companies Association.
Most chief executives surveyed were upbeat about their new investments over the next 12 months, with no major short-term concerns.
Some 35 of 81 respondents from nine sectors expect gross domestic product to expand by 4.5% to 5% next year even with the global economic crisis unresolved.
In addition, 77% of respondents are confident in a brighter economic outlook, higher than six months ago at 69%.
Sectors expected to improve are consumer products, finance and industry, while agribusiness is projected to underperform over the next six months in line with lower commodities prices, said Wiwan Tharahiranchote, the executive chairwoman of KResearch.
She said risks included the shortage of skilled labour, the global recession gutting exports and social conflicts caused by political differences.
"Worries about political stability and natural disasters declined from the top and second concerns for CEOs in April to fourth and fifth in this survey," said Ms Wiwan.
Concerns about the AEC declined from ninth to 15th, with free trade a worry for only 30%, down from 59% in April. Some 78% of respondents expect to gain benefits from the AEC, with 55% preparing for it, 33% with plans to prepare for it, and 12% with no plans.
Charl Kengchon, KResearch's managing director, said international investment by Thai companies is exceeding foreign inflow.
For the first eight months of this year, foreign direct investment in Thailand was US$6 billion compared with $7 billion for all of last year.
Thai companies have invested $8.2 billion abroad over the first eight months, equal to all of last year, and the expected final total will be $10 billion this year.
"This is due mainly to Thai businesses recovering rapidly from last year's flood crisis," said Mr Charl.
About the author
- Writer: Darana Chudasri
Position: Business Reporter