Tuesday, 28 October 2008

FTI projects Thai employment to drop one million in 2009

BANGKOK, Oct 27 (TNA) - The ongoing global financial crisis coupled with Thailand's political turbulence and sluggish Thai-Cambodian border trade are expected to reduce new jobs in Thailand in 2009 by about one million, a senior official of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) warned on Monday.

Speaking after an urgent meeting among FTI members nationwide in response to global economic problems, Federation vice chairman Thanit Sorat urged the government to resolve the local political deadlock as soon as possible, as Thailand's tourism industry has already sustained losses of as much as 50 per cent, even though the World Bank has forecast the global financial meltdown affecting the tourism sector only by 4.5 per cent.

Thailand's industrial community believe that the local political impasse is making a more significant impact, entirely negative, on the country's economy, Mr. Thanit said, than the world economic situation. Some industries, garments, electronics, furniture and ceramics, for example, have already reduced production by between 20-30 per cent due to sharp declines in international purchase orders, which will cut the availabilityof new jobs by one million in 2009, including some 700,000 students who will graduate early next year to dim job prospects.

Along with tight liquidity in the provinces -- as banks will be reluctant to extend loans to entrepreneurs without purchase orders -- it is believed that the Thai economy during the first half of 2009 would slow down in line with world economy, he said.

Add Thailand's persisting political problems, and it is projected that the gross domestic product in the country this year and next will decline to 4.5 and 3.8-4 per cent respectively, Mr. Thanit said.

He urged the government to quickly speed laying out economic measures with the FTI to defend the domestic economy against the global financial crisis.

Regarding the Thai-Cambodian border trade which has become sluggish as many Cambodians have started boycotting Thai goods following clashes between Thai and Cambodian soldiers at disputed border areas in the past few months, Mr. Thanit said it also impacted Thai investment in Cambodia.

Production is due to start soon at a Thai sugar refinery built on Cambodia's Koh Kong Island, and its operations may also be affected, he added. (TNA)

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