Foreign investors' confidence 'rises' after Prayuth explains roadmap

Economy August 16, 2014 01:00

By Erich Parpart
The Nation

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FOREIGN INVESTORS now appear to have more confidence in Thailand after meeting with key members of the public sector and the chief of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the head of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations s

Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn, Fetco’s chairman, said the foreign investors who attended the “Thailand’s Resilience: A Roadmap to Sustainable Recovery” seminar appeared to have gained more confidence after listening to junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha explain the reasons behind the military’s power seizure in May. 
The general also explained the NCPO’s economic and political reform road maps, and how long all this would take. He met the foreign investors, who included 25 groups that have invested up to Bt500 billion in Thai mutual funds and have total assets under management of US$16 trillion.
“Prayuth explained to foreign investors in detail the reasons for the coup – that it was not about taking control of power, but that it was meant to fix the country’s problems – and this has made foreign investors feel good about the sincerity and determination of the NCPO, given its clarification of the reform details and timeline,” said Paiboon.
Fetco’s chief said the head of the junta had told foreign investors that the country’s reform road map comprised three phases.
First is a short-term period of three to four months following the coup, in which the military intends to instil peace and order, along with other reconciliation efforts. 
The second phase, starting next month, includes the establishment of an interim government to handle the country’s reform process, which will take one year.
The third and final phase includes the next general election, which will be held by October next year, Prayuth told investors.
Paiboon said foreign investors were mostly concerned about how long the reform period would take before the country could return to a normal democratic process.
However, now that the junta leader had provided clarification of the timeline for the reform road map – including the amendment of about 400 laws – and given an assurance that only urgent issues would be tackled and that unresolved issues would be carried over to the next government, they were now more confident about future investment prospects in the country.
“When I spoke to foreign investors after Prayuth’s clarification, most of them answered that they felt better than before the meeting since the junta chief had been sincere in answering their questions. They appreciate that there is a clear timeline for the reform process,” Paiboon said.
“I expect the level of foreign investment to be better in the next period. While this will also depend on other factors such as stock prices, I expect them to give more weight to investment in Thailand,” he said. 
Foreign investors also want revocation of martial law, he added.