Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thai fiscal official: U.S. economic slowdown won't adversely affect Thailand 

BANGKOK, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The economic slowdown in the United States will not adversely affect Thailand as Thai exporters had adjusted themselves by shifting to emerging markets in the region, such as China and Southeast Asia, according to Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).

Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director of FPO's Macro-Economic Analysis Division, said the U.S. Federal Reserve's move to revise its economic growth estimate downward next year to 1.8-2.5 percent from 2.5-2.75 percent lived up to the FPO's earlier expectation, Thai News Agency reported Thursday.

Ekniti said the United States had been overspending in the long term until the country's current accounts are in huge deficit.

He said the U.S. economic slowdown would have repercussions in the countries of every region, particularly those which export mainly to the U.S. market.

For Thailand, he said, exporters had shifted to expand exports to emerging markets and regional ones including China and the countries in Southeast Asia.

The shifting to new export destinations has made the portion of exports to the U.S. market reduces to only 12.9 percent of total exports from 30 percent three years ago.

However, Ekniti said, the FPO would take the impact of the U.S. economic slowdown into account for a revision of its economic growth estimate on Nov. 27 before releasing an official gross domestic product (GDP) figure.

Thailand's exports in October hit a historical record high of more than 14.5 billion U.S dollars, up 26.7 percent from the same period last year, pushing export growth during the first ten months to 17.2 percent, according to the Department of Export Promotion (DEP).

Asked to comment on the export surge in October, Ekniti said that FPO was studying details, but assumed initially that it was mainly attributed by the shifting of export markets.

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