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Thailand investment pledges more than double in Jan-Sept

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Thailand's investment applications more than doubled in the first nine months of 2016, compared with the same period the previous year, and are on track to meet a government target for the full year, the investment agency said on Monday.

[BANGKOK] Thailand's investment applications more than doubled in the first nine months of 2016, compared with the same period the previous year, and are on track to meet a government target for the full year, the investment agency said on Monday.

After seizing power in a May 2014 coup to end prolonged protests, the military government has focused on promoting investment in a bid to revive Southeast Asia's second-largest economy as it faces weak exports and slack domestic consumption.

In the January-September period, foreign and Thai firms submitted investment applications worth a combined 369 billion baht (S$14.59 billion), up 137 per cent from a year earlier, Hirunya Suchinai, secretary-general of the Board of Investment (BOI), told reporters.

The investment plans were mainly in targeted sectors such as aviation and parts as well as medical equipment, she said.

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Actual investment, however, was about 342 billion baht in the first nine months of the year, she added.

The agency expected overall investment pledges to reach this year's target of 550 billion baht, Ms Hirunya said, amid concern that investment could slow as investors wait and see a succession after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Oct 13.

"We are trying our best to meet the target. There are still large projects in discussion with the BOI, and they are still in the sectors we are targeting," she said. "Many countries are still interested in investing in Thailand," she said.

In 2015, overall investment applications fell to about 218 billion baht from a record 1.9 trillion baht in 2014 as firms rushed through plans before a policy change in 2015 to target more value-added industry and services.

REUTERS

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