Ja­panese in­vestor con­fi­dence in Thai­land booms based on its econ­omy

Sur­vey finds in­vestors have faith in Thai eco­nomic prospects

Bangkok Post - - BUSINESS - CHATRUDEE THEPARAT

Ja­panese com­pa­nies re­main con­fi­dent in Thai­land’s busi­ness cli­mate, buoyed by the coun­try’s grow­ing eco­nomic prospects, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sur­vey by the Ja­pan Ex­ter­nal Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (Jetro).

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Somkid Ja­tus­rip­i­tak met Jetro pres­i­dent Hiroki Mit­sumata yes­ter­day.

Mr Somkid said Ja­panese busi­ness sen­ti­ment in Thai­land con­tin­ues to im­prove, with the lat­est dif­fu­sion in­dex sur­vey re­sults, which are used to gauge busi­ness con­fi­dence, the high­est in sev­eral years.

He said Ja­panese busi­ness con­fi­dence in Thai­land’s eco­nomic prospects in the se­cond half of 2018 rose to 40 points from 36 in the first half, 30 for the se­cond half of 2017 and 14 points in the first half of 2017.

Jetro is sched­uled to of­fi­cially dis­close its sur­vey later this month.

“Ja­panese busi­ness con­fi­dence has steadily in­creased over the past two years, clearly in­di­cat­ing that Ja­panese in­vestors have higher con­fi­dence on a con­tin­u­ous ba­sis in the over­all Thai econ­omy,” said Mr Somkid. Statis­tics show Thai­land’s eco­nomic im­prove­ment, with promis­ing growth prospects in the se­cond half of this year and next year.

The Na­tional Eco­nomic and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Board re­ported in May that Thai­land’s GDP in the first quar­ter had risen by 4.8% year-on-year, the fastest pace in five years, ac­cel­er­at­ing from 4% growth in the pre­vi­ous quar­ter.

The state plan­ning unit also raised its eco­nomic growth fore­cast to 4.2-4.7% this year from 3.6-4.6% in Fe­bru­ary.

Mr Somkid said the progress of in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in the Eastern Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (EEC) and the ef­fec­tive EEC Act has also helped build the con­fi­dence of Ja­panese in­vestors, adding that the sur­vey has also found that more Ja­panese firms are keen to in­vest in the EEC.

He said the win­ning bid­ders for the high­speed rail net­work linking the three air­ports of Don Mueang, Su­varn­ab­humi, and U-tapao air­port are ex­pected to be an­nounced in Novem­ber.

Terms of ref­er­ence (ToR) for the se­cond phase of Map Ta Phut and Laem Cha­bang port are also sched­uled to open within two months.

The EEC meet­ing on June 4, chaired by the prime min­is­ter, man­dated to de­velop the first phase of the aerotropo­lis within five years to sup­port link­age with the high­speed rail con­nect­ing three air­ports — Don Mueang, Su­varn­ab­humi and U-tapao.

The ToR for the U-tapao aerotropo­lis, worth over 200 bil­lion baht, will be open for bid­ding through a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship in Oc­to­ber, with the win­ner ex­pected to be un­veiled early next year.

The first phase of the 6,500-rai U-tapao air­port and avi­a­tion cen­tre is de­signed to han­dle 15 million pas­sen­gers in five years. Other projects in­clude a se­cond run­way, busi­ness zone, main­te­nance re­pair over­haul (MRO), and air cargo.

Air­bus and Thai Air­ways In­ter­na­tional signed an agree­ment on June 22 to es­tab­lish a new joint-ven­ture MRO fa­cil­ity at U-tapao air­port.

The new MRO is ex­pected to be one of the most mod­ern and ex­ten­sive in Asia-Pa­cific, of­fer­ing heavy main­te­nance and line ser­vices for all wide-body air­craft types. It will fea­ture the lat­est dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to an­a­lyse air­craft main­te­nance data, as well as ad­vanced in­spec­tion tech­niques.

U-tapao air­port plays a key role in the trans­port in­fra­struc­ture plans for the EEC.

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