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Thai investors flee Myanmar chaos, pulling out 253 billion baht

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod English

Thai companies are fleeing Myanmar amid escalating conflict and economic instability. The ongoing clash between Myanmar’s military government and opposition forces shows no signs of easing, prompting Thai firms to withdraw a staggering US$7 billion (around 253 billion baht) in investments.

Once the third-largest investors in Myanmar, Thai companies are now ranked 5th, with investments plummeting from US$11.6 billion in 155 projects to US$4.45 billion across 105 projects. This exodus represents a loss of 50 projects and a significant blow to Myanmar’s economy.

According to Prachachat Business News, trade between Thailand and Myanmar from January to May totalled US$3 billion, a 10.46% drop from the previous year. Thai exports decreased by 11.81% to US$1.7 billion due to protracted import licensing procedures in Myanmar, while Thai imports fell 8.52% to US$1.2 billion. Consequently, Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus of US$499.3 million.

In response, the Myanmar government has intensified efforts to reduce its trade deficit, announcing stringent measures against goods found in ports or airports without import licences. As of July 1, seven categories, including fertilisers and steel, require an import licence from the Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee (FESC).

A report from Thailand’s Trade Promotion Office in Yangon, updated on July 5, forecasted a meagre 1.5% growth for Myanmar’s economy this year. International trade between April and May reached US$4.5 billion, a 14.5% decline compared to the same period last year. Exports increased by 10.94% to US$2.3 billion, while imports plummeted by 30.82% to US$2.2 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$63.53 million for Myanmar.

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Despite these challenges, the demand for Thai condominiums among Myanmar buyers remains strong due to their investment potential. In Q1 2024, Myanmar buyers surpassed Russians, securing 392 transferred units worth 2.2 billion baht. However, the political turmoil in Myanmar has caused a temporary pause in this trend.

Amidst this turmoil, several Thai companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand have shuttered their operations in Myanmar.

TPBI Public Company Limited dissolved its subsidiary TPBI & Myanmar Star Company Limited on July 8, while Christiani & Nielsen (Thai) Public Company Limited and General Engineering Public Company Limited also terminated their Myanmar ventures due to ongoing losses and adverse political conditions, reported KhaoSod English.

Central Thailand NewsEconomy NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

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