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SMEs to expand despite economic turbulence
Feb '08
Although, Thailand has been undergoing through economic maladies and unsettled political circumstances, the new small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are anticipated to show a growth of around 2 percent.

The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) believes that new SMEs would show an expansion of 2.8 percent to make 2.38 million in 2008 compared to the 2.32 million of 2007.

Despite a slow growth rate, expansion will be triggered largely because of new market opportunities enabling SMEs to explore different ventures.

Experts are showing concern over the obstructions in the way of growth rate of SMEs.

One of the major obstacle is rising production costs that has continuously made a cut in the average returns from the SME sector from 4.41 percent in 2007 to 4.08 percent in 2008.

Some other disadvantageous factors in the first six months of 2008 for SMEs include rising oil and fuel prices, inflation, slower domestic consumption and the sub-prime crisis.

In order to increase its growth rate and thereby to sustain it, SMEs will have to improve their efficiency in cost and waste reduction, inventory management and productivity improvement.

Professionals also predict a growth of 8.12 or 1.7 trillion baht in 2008 from 1.57 trillion baht of 2007, through export revenue from SMEs. Besides, the market value for these enterprises is also likely to increase by 3.86 percent this year to 5.91 trillion baht, compared to the 5.70 trillion baht of 2007.

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