Thailand Business News
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“New Thailand”: An Ambitious Post-Flood Recovery Program
A severe drought and a decline in rice prices in early 2010 do not bode well for agricultural production and consumption, although increased employment in manufacturing will partly offset the impact to agriculture.
Overall, domestic demand should provide a positive but limited contribution to growth: vulnerable households lost ground in 2009 and risks are substantial in 2010, as falling agricultural output due to the current drought may offset opportunities from the improved overall economic environment. Household consumption levels, which are highly correlated with the poverty rate, contracted in 2009 despite the rebound in the last quarter of the year, suggesting a likely increase in the poverty rate compared to 2008, especially when compounded by the loss in purchasing power from the food and fuel crisis of 2008. The outlook for 2010 is uncertain : average wages are likely to increase, thanks to the reallocation of labor from agriculture to manufacturing. Although labor markets appear very tight, with unemployment below 1 %, the data do not account for the large number of workers who moved to lower-productivity jobs in agriculture and informal services due to the crisis. Many of these workers are now returning to manufacturing, which offers higher wages than agriculture.
Chinese investment funds, Middle Eastern petrodollars — there is a huge amount of new money being channeled into the Asian capital markets.
But another factor is likely the presence of larger, institutional investors in large-cap stocks who are more concerned about long-term performance than short-term market movements.