Thailand: Private investment values plummet amid COVID-19

  • With the global economic slowdown and the spreading coronavirus, Thailand’s investment applications are likely to fall below 2019’s figure of THB756bn, according to the Board of Investment (BoI).
  • The BOI reported that the number of investment applications was up 3% y/y in 1Q20, 378 projects from 368 in 1Q19. Total investment value was, however, down 44% y/y, from to THB71.38bn from THB128.46bn in 1Q19.
  • Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary-general of the BoI, said it is difficult to set a target for investment applications for 2020 due to uncertainty in the world economy.
  • The BoI was scheduled to set an investment application target in Feb 20, but it has not done so.
  • In 2019, the total value of investment applications fell to THB756bn, down 7% from THB815bn in 2018. The number of projects was also down 7%.
  • In 2019, Chinese investment applications surpassed those by Japanese firms for the first time, at THB262bn for 203 projects. Japan was the second largest investor (THB73bn for 227 projects), while Hong Kong was third (THB36bn for 67 projects).
  • Of the total investment applications from China, THB160bn was for projects in the BOI’s 12 targeted industries (cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education development) and general sectors. THB101bn was for a high-speed rail linking 3 airports.
  • In 2019, total applications for investment in the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor amounted to 506 projects, with investment worth THB449bn.
  • In 2019 the BoI approved investment promotion for 1,500 projects, up 2% from 2018. These were worth THB447bn, down 19% from 2018.

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