FPO predicts 3.6% GDP growth, 4.7% export growth

Hua Hin may soon see its first international air connection as AirAsia is in talks with the Department of Airports to launch a direct Kuala Lumpur – Hua Hin route. The airline is asking to have the parking and landing fees waived, the passenger service charge reduced from the current 400 baht for international passengers and lower fees on office space rentals. The airport currently has no regularly scheduled airlines, Kan Air dropped its route earlier this year due to aircraft issues, while Thai Lion Air and Nok Air both dropped routes to the airport. The airport confirmed the runway can handle AirAsia’s A320 and that the passenger terminal can handle 300 passengers an hour.

In the first six months of the year 612 investment projects worth 340 billion baht requested Board of Investment promotion including 133 billion baht in the ten targeted industries of digital technology, electricity and electronics, petrochemicals, automotive design, agricultural processing, public health, automation and robotics, aerospace, tourism, and textiles and garments. Of those 150 projects worth 90 billion baht are to be implemented in the Eastern Economic Corridor. BOI projects saw a 15 percent year on year increase in combined value and are expected to be initiated in the next 2-3 years. Foreign Direct Investment jumped 24 percent year on year with Japan as the top investor followed by Singapore, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; 60 percent of all applicants were foreign investors. The BOI is confident that the total value of investments for 2017 will reach the targeted 600 billion baht.

The Director of the Fiscal Policy Office predicted last week that the economy should see 3.6 percent growth in 2017, up from 3.2 percent in 2016. Exports are predicted to grow 4.7 percent with agricultural products expected to be a top performer. Up to 190 billion baht of the total 2017 fiscal budget has already been disbursed throughout the country to support several development projects such as the construction of dual rail, electric rail, motorways, and the improvement of major airports. The Department of Revenue has also been able to collect a total of 1.74 trillion baht since October 2016; 7.64 billion baht or 0.4 percent higher than targeted.

The BTS will be opening Tao Poon Station connecting the Purple Line and the Blue Line on August 11, finally linking the two lines. Additionally, last week the Cabinet approved the 23.6-km long Purple Line train project between Tao Poon and Ratburana; it is expected that bidding for the 101 billion baht will be held in October. Construction should take about six years and when finished the Purple Line is estimated to be able to carry 477,098 people a day. Four more projects have yet to be approved by the Cabinet; the 6.4-km western Orange Line between the National Cultural Centre and Talingchan; the 8-km Blue Line extension between Bangkhae and Putthamonthon 4; the Green Line extension between Samut Prakan and Bangpoo; and the northern Green Line extension between Khu Kot and Lam Lookka. The BOI has already granted investment incentives to Bangkok Express and Metro PLC for the extension of the underground Blue Line rail route Hua Lam Phong-Bang Sue and Bang Sue-Tha Phra, while Northern Bangkok Monorail is receiving investment promotion for 4.5km Pink Line rail linking Kae Rai and Min Buri. Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co received investment promotion for the rail line linking Lat Phrao and Samrong in Samut Prakan.

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