Value of new foreign investment in Thailand falls

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BANGKOK (AP) — The value of proposed foreign investment in Thailand dropped by almost one-third last year, the country’s Board of Investment announced, as concerns about political stability peaked.

A statement from the board Thursday said it had received investment applications from 865 foreign projects worth 236 billion baht ($7.7 billion). That was down nearly 33 percent from 2009 even as the number of applications rose 10 percent.

Political conflict in Thailand turned violent last year, with street protests that led to about 90 deaths quashed by the army. Underlying questions about the government’s legitimacy and concerns about future royal succession remain unresolved, making foreign investors wary.

Thailand, the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, is a regional production center for global automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co.

The biggest source of investment was Japan with proposals worth 100 billion baht, up 35 percent from 2009. The increase reflected the greater spending power that a strong yen has given Japanese companies.

The board said investment this year could be hurt by a number of factors including the fragile global economic recovery and conflict in Thailand.

It said it will be promoting Thailand through roadshows in Japan, the U.S., Europe, China and India.

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