Sunday, November 29, 2020

Private sector worried over economic impact of political turmoil

Oct 29. 2020
Kalin Sarasin
Kalin Sarasin
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By The Nation

The private sector has expressed concern that escalating anti-establishment protests could impact the economy, the Thai Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday.

Foreign investors were eager to invest in Thailand but might change their mind if the political unrest remains unresolved, said the chamber’s chairman Kalin Sarasin.

Four months of tension between the government and student-led protesters has risen in the past two weeks, with police turning water cannon on a rally and arresting dozens of protest leaders.

Kalin said the private sector wants to see all parties in the conflict meet for negotiations to end the turmoil peacefully.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of a reconciliation committee to find a resolution for the crisis.

He said the committee should be appointed by the House and will include representatives of different parties, the Senate, the lower House and pro-democracy activists.

Parliament’s two-day extraordinary session held to seek a resolution to the ongoing political unrest wrapped up on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC)’s Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting is maintaining its conjecture of a 3.5-4.5 per cent economic growth next year, UTCC president Thanavat Phonvichai said.

The centre is also maintaining its growth forecast for this year at between minus 7.5 and minus 8.5 per cent.

A recent survey conducted by the university on the confidence business operators have in the economy, most of the 300 respondents said the top factor affecting their operations was the Covid-19 outbreak, followed by the drop in foreign tourists, political uncertainty and lack of liquidity.

Some 28.33 per cent said they were at a high risk of shutting down, 38.36 per cent said they faced a medium risk of shutting down, while 4.36 per cent said there was no risk.

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