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By Jorge Braga De Macedo

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Table 10. 0 GDP Growth Rate Source: The Bank of Korea. 52 Recovery of the sovereign credit rating. The financial sector reform deserves credit for helping here. International credit rating agencies have acknowledged Korea’s financial reform efforts. Net foreign portfolio investment has increased and the spreads on the foreign exchange stabilisation fund bond have dropped significantly. All major international credit rating agencies have upgraded Korea’s sovereign rating since 1999 (Table 11), even in the presence of increasing credit risk in emerging economies.

The positive elements cannot be ignored, however: — The inflow of investment for each chain is sizeable. — The development of modern trade with new management styles, know-how and technology could provide a good training ground for Thai entrepreneurs. — Employment creation in these businesses grows with their expansion. — Consumer choices and welfare increase as a result of competition. — Government collects greater revenues, due to the good accounting systems of the modern stores. — The discount stores can serve as exporters of Thai products through their branches overseas.

29 — Competitiveness declined in terms of real effective exchange rates, which became overvalued by about 7 per cent relative to the long-term average as the baht appreciated against the US dollar. — A rising current account deficit reached 8 per cent of GDP in 1996. Over the 1990s, Thailand had a cumulative current account deficit of 36 per cent of its 1996 GDP. — Merchandise export earnings slowed. — Thailand faced competition from China as the result of a shift of comparative advantage from Southeast Asia to China; — Amidst intense export competition some key industries over-expanded.

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