PM hails return of foreign investors
Country's financial status deemed stable
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insists that Thailand's financial status remains stable and strong thanks to prudent and disciplined monetary and fiscal policy, as reflected by foreigners' growing interest in investing in the country.
"There are now many foreign investors from many countries both on a small and big scale interested in investing in Thailand," said the premier, attributing the encouraging signs to the country's economic prospects, with GDP expected to grow by 3.3% this year and 4.2% in 2023.
"The private consumption and purchasing power of high-income earners are recovering in the second half, with the number of international tourists rebounding," he said, adding that the number of foreign tourists is projected to reach 6 million this year, up from a previous estimate of 5.6 million.
In 2023, the number of tourists is forecast to rise to 19 million.
"There has been a continuous increase in investment in line with the country's economic recovery. However, we still have to closely monitor the impact of the baht's weakness on the export and import sector," said Gen Prayut.
Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in a statement that Thailand recorded 3.12 million foreign tourist arrivals from Jan 1 to July 26, as the vital travel sector picked up following the gradual easing of pandemic restrictions.
The tourists included 76,739 visitors from Russia, according to Mr Thanakorn.
The premier also urged all sectors, be they the government or private firms, to closely monitor external financial and fiscal situations that may affect their business, since the global economy was now closely interrelated.
Nevertheless, Gen Prayut said it remained fortunate that Thailand's exports remain strong and are expected to retain growth momentum until next year, despite growing uncertainties over China's economic prospects and rising global inflation resulting from a surge in energy costs.
The National Economic and Social Development Council forecast in May that the export value of goods in US dollar terms would grow by 7.3% this year, up from 4.9% in the previous estimate made in February, with imports expected to rise by 10.9%, up from 5.9% in the earlier estimate.
Headline inflation is expected to be in the range of 4.2–5.2%, up from 1.5-2.5% in the previous forecast.
However, in May the state planning unit lowered its GDP growth forecast to 2.5-3.5% for this year, down from the previous forecast of 3.5-4.5% in February, citing mounting pressure from inflation, energy prices, the global economic slowdown, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Gen Prayut also pledged to tackle the rising cost of living, particularly for low-income earners and vulnerable people who require special assistance, such as the elderly, the disabled, and bedridden patients.
In a related development, the cabinet on Tuesday approved 1.25 billion baht to finance the DIPROM Community Project, in a move to strengthen the grassroots economy and raise extra income for rural people.
The project aims to enhance knowledge in the provinces and develop vocational skills for local people, with a focus on skills and basic services for professions such as electricians, barbers, car mechanics, and arts and crafts.