Thai Premier Bullish On Economy

By Agence France-Presse Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra gave his country's roaring economy rave reviews Dec. 22 and said he is unperturbed by suggestions it could overheat if not managed properly. "There will be no economic bubble situation," Thaksin assured in a speech to business executives, adding that he was sticking to his 2004 forecast of 8% GDP growth and a whopping 10% for 2005. Thailand's economy has charged ahead this year to become Southeast Asia's top economic performer and is poised to continue its dizzying comeback from the 1997 financial crisis in the year ahead, despite some signs of overheating. "Our macro-economic fundamentals are good, our economy will be good," Thaksin said. "We are taking care of all economic figures, the balance sheet, high growth and low inflation." He said surging exports have yielded a current account surplus while reserves are at stable levels. "We have even paid back our IMF debt," he said. Thaksin predicted next year's GDP would top 5.9 trillion baht (US$148.8 billion). Thailand's economy has shown robust signs of recovery over the last 18 months, according to international ratings agency Fitch. Domestic demand is soaring, private investment is picking up, bank credit growth to the private sector has turned positive and low inflation has continued, said Fitch's Hong Kong-based senior director, Brian Coulton. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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