The gross domestic product (GDP) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is expected to grow by more than 4% in 2014 on the back of an economic rebound, says the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (Osmep). Director Patima Jeerapaet, told a press conference yesterday, perhaps making the best out of a bad Thai political scene hitting the economy, said the figure is projected to grow by 4.3-4.7% as the improvement in the economy will increase consumption. Thailand‘s 2.7 million SMEs account for 98.5% of total businesses, employing 11.8 million people or about 80% of the workforce. For the first 10 months of this year, exports of SMEs totalled 1.57 trillion baht, down 9.3% from the same period last year. Major exports include gems and jewellery, plastics and rubber. Top trading partners are China, Japan and the US. Imports fell 3.37% year-on-year to 2.04 trillion baht. A total of 59,999 businesses were set up during the period, up by 13.5%, led by construction, media and property, while 11,070 businesses were shut down, down by 2.4% from last year.
“The economy has passed its lowest point this year, and SMEs are expected to see a gradual growth from now on as companies start to increase production,” Mr Patima said. Osmep estimates the country’s GDP will expand by 4.5% this year as SME GDP expands by 3.3%, down from an earlier forecast of 4-5%. Thailand’s GDP has been supported by rising consumption as a result of lower personal income taxes and the increase in the minimum wage. Private sector investment is set to grow by 2.6% due to the government’s megaprojects. In 2012, the GDP of SMEs accounted for 37% of the country’s GDP of 11.4 trillion baht, a 6.6% surge from 2011.
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