VOA Burmese Blog

April 26, 2010

Thai Protests’ Impact on the Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — voaburmese @ 6:13 pm

( Thai market; AP Photo)

Our reporter, Thar Nyut Oo from Bangkok says that the recent Thai protests have hurt the Thai economy. Since Thailand’s protests began on March 13th, the Thai consumption is low and public spending has decreased by a significant amount.

Thailand is the 2nd biggest economy in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia. Tourism plays a major role in Thailand’s economy. It makes up 6% of the GDP. More than any other Southeast Asian country, tourism in Thailand is thriving.  Within the last few years, Thailand has seen a big increase in tourists. It is reported that Thailand gets tourists for its beaches and location, and a lot of its attraction also comes from its thriving sex industry. ( I will save Thailand’s sex industry blog for another day. )

( Red Shirts; AP Photo)

Since the protests began, retailers are losing customers, and people are not spending on the economy.According to Thailand’s government, tourism could decrease from 15 million to 12 million this year. If the protests continue, Thailand’s domestic consumption would fall by $500 billion to $800 billion baht a day (Exchange rate: Baht 33.00 = 1 US dollar). At a meeting about the country’s economic problems, Mr. Putthipong, the deputy government spokesman said, “ If the red shirt protests carries on for another month, the country’s gross domestic product could see a 0.2 percent reduction this year. Private investment will not be immediately affected by the demonstration, but if the situation is prolonged and turns violent again, the confidence of investors will be shaken.”

( VIDEO of Thai Protests on Economy in Burmese.) Scroll down for the translation in English.  On the video, there are great images of the demonstration and protesters.

VIDEO of Thai Protests and its Impact on the Economy:

1st StandUP: In the video, on his first standup, he explains how desolate the markets have become due to the protests. You can see on the streets, that there is barely anyone there. The reporter says that is evident that Thailand is losing money (“ billions” he says ) as the government closed down markets and hotels.

2nd Standup:

“ After the Thai New Year waterfestival, the progovernment supporters came out too as well as the red shirt protesters. We are now very close in location to the red shirt protesters on “Silom” road. Because of the protests, the businesses in Bangkok have closed.”

3rd Standup:

“ After the Thingyan festival, the Thai Security forces closed down Silom Road because the protesters threatened to take Silom Road. Silom Road is where you see the economy thriving- it is where most of the businesses are. The Thai government said that they will not let the Red Shirt protesters take over Silom Road. The government put a lot of security force on Silom Road, but the question is whether they are going to use the force (guns)  to stop the demonstration. According to the news, the Thai military chief is not willing to use the force to stop the protesters, however their thoughts are divided at the moment; but if the protest gets out of control, they say they have to take action. If the protesters cross the line on Silom Road, the security forces say they will take action with real bullets.”

4th StandUp:

“The protesters have taken over- they have closed the roads even with tires ( as he points out the tires). We are waiting to see whether the protests will be stabilized or whether it will uproar. Most likely within the next 2 weeks, we will see.” Reporter Sig Out: “ For Voice of America, I’m Thar Nyut Oo.”

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