BANGKOK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Foreign direct investment (FDI) applications in Thailand in the January-September period rose 69% from a year earlier, the state investment agency said on Friday, amid rising U.S-Sino trade tensions.
Thailand is attracting some foreign companies looking to relocate production from China because of the trade dispute, and the country recently introduced a package of incentives to lure more foreign investors.
In the first nine months of the year, FDI pledges totalled 203.4 billion baht ($6.74 billion), with projects in the government’s target industries, led by electronics, digital, and automotive sectors, accounting for 65% of the total, the Board of Investment (BOI) said in a statement.
Japan ranked the first with investment projects worth 59.2 billion baht, followed by China’s 45.4 billion baht and Switzerland’s 11.7 billion baht, the agency said.
With the promotion package and measures to improve the country’s ease of doing business, the BOI expects the growth momentum of FDI and overall investment in Thailand to continue to expand into 2020.
However, the value of overall Thai and foreign investment applications in January-September dropped 11% year-on-year to about 314 billion baht because there was a large oil project last year, the agency said.
Investment is crucial to Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy which is struggling with falling exports and soft domestic demand.
The finance ministry predicts the economy will grow 2.8% this year after expanding 4.1% last year. ($1 = 30.17 baht) (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Orathai Sriring; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)