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   Jewellery and rubber have emerged as the two industries in which Thailand has the highest potential in Asean, while the country lags behind in food processing, electronics and textiles, a study by the Commerece Ministry shows.

   In terms of competitiveness based on factors such as outlook, operators' competitiveness, productiion factors, support industries, local demand and government support , Thailand leads in two industries, jewellery and rubber. It comes second in automobiles, appliances, chemicals and furniture, and third in food, electronics and textiles.

   Mrs Apiradi said Thai operators should keep abreast of new global trends such as climate change, environment, urbanisation and links to regional and global production chains. and IT and telecommunication developments, in addition to changes within specific industries. To do so, the competitiveness of Thai operators could be enhanced through upgrades in facilities, infrastructure, designs, production technology research and development. Thai operators should also take advantage of the upcoming Asean Economic Community and regional suply chains, she said.

     Political gridlock and street protests that culminated in a military takeover of the government in Thailand in May reduced business and consumer confidence in the first half of 2014, such that gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.1%. Fixed investment dropped, and privated consumption fell slightly. Tourist arrivals fell by 10.4 % in the first half. Net external demand rose as imports of goods and services fell more than exports, which statistically moderated the decline in GDP caused by weak domestic demand.

     The restoration of public spending programmes that were blocked by political and legal challenges will stimulate the economy. A backlog of applications for investment privileges is being cleared, and a revised medium -term infrastructiure programme has been approved. Economic growth is expected term infrastructure programme has been approved. Economic grownth is expected to improve by the end of 2014, though it will undershoot the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2014 forecast in April. A Recovery in investment and better export performance is seen generating GDP grownth next year at 4.5%

     Grownth should get support from a reduction last March in the policy interest rate, decided in response to the econimic contraction and modest inflation. Over the first 8 months, inflation averaged 2.2%, and it is expected to stay around this rate for the rest of 2014, slightly below the previous forecast. Next year, inflation is still seen rising to 2.6% as domestic demand strenghens.

     The steep decline in imports contributed to a turnaround in the trade balance and generated a large current account surplus in the first half. A current account surplus is now projected for the year as a whole, instead of a small deficit previously anticipated. Exports will pick up in 2015 in line with better grownth in the major industrial economics, and tourism will recover from a contraction this year, but imports will also rebound, narrowing the current account surplus in 2015.

Cover picture :
The Thai Phuangmalai, or garland of flowers, is a traditional offering in Buddhist religious ceremonies, and in Thai cultural events. This Award Winning Jewellery, designed and created by Gem Production Co., Ltd. a leading Thai Jewellery manufacturer, retailer and exporter based in Bangkok, incorporates

Gold 18K 112.68 gms.
Diamond 1.62 cts.
Ruby 97.93 cts.
Tsavorite 1.86 cts.


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