A military coup and a contracting economy haven’t dampened the Thai stock exchange chief’s optimism about foreign investors returning to the battered Southeast Asian country.
“After the current administrators announced an economic roadmap, everything [seems to have] come back to normal,” Kesara Manchusree, president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, told CNBC. “We will see more fundamental and more concrete measures develop our country.”
Since seizing power on May 22, the military junta has been busy. In addition to cracking down on protesters and rounding up key political figures and journalists, the junta has detailed an economic plan which includes a two-month deadline to clear backed-up investment project applications and plans to restart government spending on infrastructure projects.
To be sure, while Kesara believes both the Thai economy and the companies listed on the exchange have been doing “quite well,” gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 2.1 percent in the first quarter from the previous quarter, and many analysts expect a contraction in the second quarter as well.
Consumer spending also contracted for the past two quarters, the first time that’s happened since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.