Busrin Treerapongpichit

    Tony McAuley, Taksina Isarabhakdi
    Copy Editing:
    Eric Baker, Donald Ents,
    Taksina Isarabhakdi, Tony McAuley
    Cover and Graphics:
    Sataporn Kawewong

    Design and layout:
    Napaporn Suktrakul, Chantiya

    Production co-ordination:
    Veman Ittihiranwong






Economic review YEAR - END 2010
Price $ 6.00

The V for victory might be abit premature, but the fact that Abhisit Vejjajiva still has a job is an accomplishment, given the year his government has had. Keeping that job will be the focus as the Democrat-led coalition heads toward an election in 2011.

The campaign has effectively begun already, with the announcement of the ambitious Pracha Wiwat programmeto liftupthe poor and provide the economic security many have lacked. Populist? Perhaps, though the Democrats insist they are making a long-term
investment and not delivering short-term handouts for the sake of votes.


Spending continue son other fronts to position Thailand as a more competitive economy in an increasingly challenging and volatile world. The economic signs are generally favourable, especially in Asia, for aneconomy that still depends heavily on exports. In the longer term, though,MrAbhisit and his policymakers realise that gettingmoremoneyinto local people’s pockets and creating a favourable climate for businesses to invest will be crucial.

The stakes are high. All sides in the coming campaign would do well to ditch their colour-coded rhetoric and offer the public a substantive and intelligent discussion of ideas. That way everybody wins.

Looking closer to home
After a rough year, domestic consumption and investment are expected to take the wheel driving the Thai economy forward.



Baht poised for more gains
Itmay well be the calm before the storm. The baht has eased since November after breakneck appreciation
in the previous two months.

Tax reform and the quest for balance
High on the agenda of Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij is reform of the country’s tax structure as the first step toward achieving a balanced budget by 2016 or sooner.

Passage of land tax still uncertain

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij has been committed to making the controversial land and building tax
bill a law since early in his term. The idea has been shelved for decades mainly because it levies tax based on the value of the assets.


Riding the roller coaster
Local bourse suffered from political chaos in April and May but still enjoyed its best year since the 1997
crisis. More fun may be coming with the first steps toward full liberalisation just around the corner

Booming bond trend poised to continue
Trading volume in the local bond market reached record highs in2010 and the uptrend looks set to continue
with a significant expansion inbond issues by both the public and the private sectors in 2011.


Banks look beyond borders

Regional growth and the Asean integration scheme are expected to offer new banking opportunities.


Tisco depends on niche, regional growth

Size does not matter for a small bank, insists Tisco Bank. With the arrival of the Asean Economic
Community in 2015, the domestic market willbecomewide open,welcoming foreign banks with strong capital to spur market competition.

A new tax perk is poised to give the insurance industry a big boost.



An invaluable lesson
The Map Ta Phut impasse claimed quite a few casualties but was the catalyst for desperately needed change, and Thailand has emerged stronger from it.


Rough waters ahead
With exports challenged by the strong baht and fragile global economic recovery, a repeat of the torrid
growth of 2010 is unlikely.


Fast track to prosperity

With the endorsement of two rail lines, Thailand is poised to play its part in a regional transport
development push that is being strongly supported by China.


Plenty of work, too few hands

Thailand’s industrial sector is poised for a boom, but progress could be derailed as many companies
find themselves increasingly unable to fill their job slots.


Farmers endure triple threat
Drought, flooding and bugs curb output of some key economic crops, but lessons learned can be applied
to improve land and water use in the years ahead.


Momentum continues
Businesses are willing to plough money into Thailand for the future but the baht and higher wages
and rates are their major concerns.

Still some catching up to do
The government’s new scheme to persuade multinational companies to set up bases in Thailand is proving
ineffective, as many of the incentives offer less than before and the overall package falls short of what
neighbouring countries offer.


Moving into overdrive
Industry thriving on domestic and export fronts, led by strong consumer interest in smaller passenger cars.
Authorities are also tweaking taxes to encourage more ventures.


Bubble, what bubble?
Local market continues to grow, sustained by strong demand for budget condominiums that lure even

the biggest players.


Blame it on the riots
Tourism operators shrug off another challenging year and start looking forward to a better 2011

Strong baht a boon for outbound travel

Although political problems hurt Thai tourism in 2010, the outbound tour business still has bright prospects.


Same old hangup
3G came to Mount Everest and 4G to Hong Kong, but Thailand still awaits a new regulator while the usual
political power games carry on behind the scenes.


Down, then up again
A plethora of problems beset the industry in 2010, but it has weathered them better than expected, and

the outlook for 2011 is bright.


So far, and yet so near
Ad industry’s long effort to reinvent itself is slowly bearing fruit with the emergence of new media
that open the doors to effective one-to-one pitching.


A creative push
The government is forging ahead with its plan to shift the growth engine from
exports and manufacturing despite criticism.


What to watch in Asia in 2011
Political risks loom on several fronts,

write Andrew Marshall and Daniel Magnowski


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