BoI expects fall in interest
Investment applications are likely to fall from this year's target of 900 billion baht to only 700 billion if the political impasse is not resolved within six months, says the Board of Investment (BoI).
Secretary-general Udom Wongviwatchai said political uncertainties have affected investor confidence and could result in the decline of applications.
From January to April, investment applications fell 13% from a year earlier to 230 billion baht. However, projects submitted by foreign investors surged 30% to 195 billion.
Mr Udom said the increasing number of projects from overseas was a result of the BoI's policy that encourages investors to continue with long-term investment.
"Foreign investors believe Thailand remains a suitable production hub for Southeast Asia. However, there are many industries that have expanded to neighbouring countries to avoid risks of political conflicts in Thailand," he said.
Thailand has competitive advantages in agriculture products that rank among the major sectors attracting investment applications this year, Mr Udom said.
Somchai Harnhirunomchaai, director-general of the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE), said the monthly manufacturing production index has declined due to lower confidence in domestic consumption and production during holidays.
However, the index is likely to improve in the third and fourth quarters if the political situation eases, he said.
Nattapon Nattasomboon, director-general of the Department of Industrial Works, said 1,280 new factories were established in the first four months, down 10% from last year.
The department plans to shorten procedures for factory permit issuance for environmentally friendly small and medium-sized enterprises to 30 days from 90 days to facilitate investments.
His comments were made at the launch of the Industrial Economic Indicator (IEL) yesterday by the Industry Ministry in a move to help investors monitoring conditions of the industrial sector.
The IEL was jointly developed by the OIE, BoI, Department of Primary Industries and Mines, and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.