Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thai investment in Burma affected

BURMA Ref : The Nation
Violence in Burma has affected Thai investment in the country which stretches from tourism, fishery to manufacturing sector, said Kasikorn Research Centre.

To date, accumulated Thai investment in the hotel and tourism sector in Burma total US$228.6 million. Thai manufacturing business in the country totals $614.6 million. Fishing investment value reaches $171 million while agricultural investment tops $2.7 million.

But topping this is the $6.03 billion investment in hydropower project in Salween, approved by the Burmese government in March 2006. Totally, since 1988 when the country opened its doors for foreign investment, Thailand's investment in Burma has risen to $7.38 billion. According to the centre, Thailand is ranked the largest foreign investor in Burma. Among Asean countries, aside from Thailand, Burma also welcomed huge investment from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

K Research said that if violence continues, Burma could face international economic bans particularly from the US and European Union as well as Japan.

"This could affect Thai investment projects in the country," the centre concedes.

The centre noted that if the violence does not worsen to the level that Burma closes its border, BurmeseThai border trade would remain slow only in the short term. Throughout this year, the border trade is expected to be worth Bt109 billion, or a 5 per cent annualised growth from Bt104 billion last year. This is attributable to the imports of natural gas from Burma, as well as the exports of steel, chemical products, and plastic pellets.

"However, if the situation turns more violent and the borders are shut down, the border trade in the remaining three months could drop," it said.

On the monthly basis, the border trade is valued around Bt9 billion, with Thailand's exports worth Bt1.65 billion and Burma's exports worth Bt7.5 billion.


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