Applications for BOI privileges slump 42% in first five months

Economy June 11, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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The value of projects seeking privileges from the Board of Investment during the first five months of this year shrank 42 per cent to a total of Bt308.3 billion, according to the BOI.

The secretary-general of Thailand’s investment-promotion agency, Udom Wongviwatchai, said there were a total of 515 projects submitted to the BOI from January to May, a decrease of 39 per cent from the same period last year.
Nevertheless, he pointed out that of the total, 260 projects valued at Bt168 billion were applications from companies that already had some investments in Thailand, while new investors accounted for 255 projects valued at Bt140 billion. 
“The similar share of new and old investors points to the fact that new investors have more confidence in Thailand, as previously there would be more old investors than new ones,” he said.
Udom said the appointment by the National Council for Peace and Order last week of the BOI main board chaired by General Prayuth Chan-ocha would help improve the confidence of investors who had earlier delayed submitting their applications. If the board could speed up the approvals of pending projects, it would provide a boost to the economy, as these projects would generate capital flow and the hiring of several thousand workers.
Automotive and machinery projects made up the largest chunk of investment applications to the BOI during the first five months, with a total of 122 projects seeking to invest a combined Bt164.1 billion, thanks to the inauguration of the eco-car Phase 2 programme. 
Services and infrastructure projects came in second with 166 projects and total investments of Bt78.4 billion. Among the important projects in this category were natural-gas-fired power plants, industrial parks, logistics parks, air-cargo service, motor-racing tracks, and biogas power plants. 
Chemicals, paper, and plastic projects came in third with 42 projects planning to invest a total of Bt25.4 billion. 
There were 334 foreign direct investment projects with a total value of Bt230 billion submitted to the BOI between January and May. The investment value was down 10 per cent from the same period last year. 
Japanese investors continue to lead the pack, submitting a total of 168 projects for a combined investment value of Bt72.8 billion. Udom said that although Japanese investments were down from a year ago, those from many other countries had increased by several times. European investments increased by 300 per cent to Bt64.2 billion; US investments surged 570 per cent to Bt41.2 billion; South Korean investments rose by 150 per cent to Bt12.3 billion; and Chinese investments increased 260 per cent to Bt9.4 billion.