Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No "Sawatdee Kaa" To Foreign Investment

In case you are wondering what is Sawatdee Kaa, it means hello in Thai. I can't help but comment on the boo-boo of Thailand U-turning its currency policy. I'm no economist, have no investment in Thailand (thank god!) and I have nothing against Thailand. In fact, I've been there a few times and it is a great place with good food & shopping and friendly folks. But I just can't understand how such policy change can be implemented in the first place. Don't they ever consider the impact such a restrictive currency control will have on the financial markets and foreign investments? Well, I think they obviously don't, or they underestimated the response from the market. The Thai bourse was forced to halt trading for the first time in the market's 31-year history as the main index slide, at one point down by 19%, dragging with it the rest of the market in Asia.

As if this was not bad enough, the Thailand central bank made a U-turn on this new policy, a day after announcing it. Not that this U-turn is a bad thing. But this flip-flopping behaviour will not go down well with existing and potential investors. For a country that relies heavily on foreign investment, I worry for the future of the Thais...


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