Dear AMCHAM Members,
Welcome back to those of you who were traveling or away over the summer holidays. Now that summer is over and schools are back in session, it is time to face the last quarter of the year.
The big news in Thailand over the summer was the August 7 referendum on the proposed Constitution. The referendum was undertaken peacefully and appears to have given the current government a mandate for the next year or so until elections can take place. For business, it was a sigh of relief that there were no confrontations or disruptions to everyday life during and following the referendum. The acceptance of the referendum adds a level of stability to the political environment that allows companies to focus on their business plans for the remainder of this year and next.
On the economic front, Thailand’s economy expanded 3.5% in the second quarter of the year, following a 3.2% increase in the first quarter. Expectations are that the country will end the year with a solid 3% growth and, given no unforeseen events, repeat this in 2017.
ASEAN BUSINESS OUTLOOK SURVEY
In early August, the ten Amchams in the ASEAN region released their annual ASEAN Business Outlook Survey which reflects a steady stream of optimisms about growth prospects and growth opportunities in the ASEAN region. On a positive note, more than 70% of our members surveyed expected profits to increase in 2017 with 21% planning to expand within Thailand. However, the satisfaction rating with Thailand’s business environment has declined from last year with many factors hitting a ten year low. A snapshot of U. S. investors’ sentiments and perceptions can be found on pages 23- 29.
T- AB MAGAZINE
This edition of T- AB Magazine focuses on property and highlights both market trends and recent legislation changes that affect the sector. As you may have guessed from the incessant construction in downtown Bangkok the condo market is still hot, especially at the higher end, with properties selling for as much as Baht 300,000 per square meter. Office space is still in demand and prices have been creeping up in the past five years. In addition to the topical articles the magazine also brings you the standard features, such as updates on legislation that impact business, summary of the activities of the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation, and of course, a look at Chamber events in July and August.
Coming up in October are the 2017- 2018 elections for the Board of Governors. This year there are seven slots open on the Board. Those elected in October will join the eight Board members elected last year. We have an outstanding slate of members who have agreed to stand for election. They will be announced at the September monthly luncheon and I hope you will join us on October 12 at the Meet the Board Candidates social networking night to meet them. We also encourage all members to cast their ballots at the October 19th Annual General Meeting. Proxy voting will be allowed for those of you unable to attend the Annual General Meeting. More details on voting will be sent out after the September monthly luncheon.