Pheu Thai: Protest hurting economy

The anti-government rally has severely affected business in Bangkok, particularly the capital markets, Pichai Naripthaphan, a former energy minister and Pheu Thai economic team member, said on Tuesday.

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Mr Pichai was responding to comments by Pramon Sutheewong, chairman of the business-based Anti-corruption Organisation of Thailand, who said after a meeting with the Democrats that he supported the Bangkok shutdown planned by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). He said it would have not much impact on the business sector.

Since the PDRC protest began, the Stock Exchange of Thailand main index had gone down more than 200 points, reducing market capitalisation by more than two trillion baht, said Mr Pichai, a member of the Pheu Thai economic team.

On the first day of the capital shutdown declaration, the SET index dropped more than 67 points, reducing the daily trade value by more than 58 billion baht, he said.

If the capital flow was really shut down, the stock market would sink. It would affect the tourism sector because foreign tourists would cancel plans to visit Thailand. Moreover, confidence in Thailand would drop to its lowest level, causing the country an opportunity lost. The shutdown would cause severe economic damage to the country, Mr Pichai predicted.

At least 60 international flights into Bangkok had been cancelled on Monday. Some foreign investors had already moved their investment bases from Thailand to neighbouring countries, he added.

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