Thailand sees respite after protests end

03 December 2008 04:40  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The anti-government protests in Thailand ended Wednesday morning with a generally calm atmosphere setting in, easing earlier fears over the worsening business climate in the country, local business operators said.


“Everything in Thailand is moving to the positive side now,” a Bangkok-based polyolefins trader said.


The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which was leading the anti-government protests, agreed to end their demonstrations after a ruling by the Constitutional Court on Tuesday forced the resignation of the former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and the dissolution of his People Power Party (PPP).


But the political crisis has hurt the country’s risk and credit standing and it will be some time before full business confidence can be regained, a source at a local petrochemical producer said. 


Months of clashes between anti- and pro-government forces caused several fatalities, and took a toll on Thailand’s famed tourism industry, which contributed an estimated 6.7% to the country’s GDP in 2007.


Two main airports – the Suvarnabhumi Airport and the older Don Muang Airport – were blockaded since last week, crippling the country’s air transport hub status and leaving an estimated 350,000 tourists stranded, based on media reports.


Cargo services at the Suvarnabhumi Airport resumed on Tuesday night and passenger flights were expected to resume full operations by 15 December, according to Thai media reports.


Things should remain calm for the moment, and that services should resume back to normal, said another source.


“I think the (economical) pressure is too much should they decide to close the airport again, no matter (if it’s) red or yellow,” said a petrochemicals trader in Bangkok, referring to the pro and anti government forces’ preferred colours.


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By: Chow Bee Lin
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