Big stock slide hits US$63 billion Thai infrastructure plan

STOCK investors have yet to buy into Thailand's plan for a THB2
trillion (US$63 billion) expansion of railways, roads, airports and
ports, Bloomberg reports.

How this impacts on China's Belt and Road infrastructure projects in
the kingdom is as yet unclear. Thailand is said to be ready to spend
US$40 billion on infrastructure on its eastern seaboard that links up
to the Chinese initiative, according to Thailand Business News.

Malaysia's newly elected government, fearing greater naval activity in
the region, is sceptical about Belt and Road, and intends to review
options despite a general go-ahead from the previous government.

The SET Construction Services Index of builders that should benefit
from an infrastructure drive has tumbled 16 per cent in the past three
months. That's a record drop in the 19-member gauge for rolling
quarterly periods, despite the military government's pursuit of a
transport network overhaul, reports Bloomberg.

"There are a lot of news reports about projects, but progress remains
slow," said Bangkok's Nawarat Patanakarn Construction CEO Polpat

"We're unsure about hitting our annual revenue target because the pace
of government project implementation was sluggish in the first
quarter," he said.

Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Port Holdings said it's constructing a $600
million terminal at Laem Chabang port, with an initial phase due to
start operations this year. The port is in the Eastern Economic
Corridor, an industrialised zone the government has earmarked for a
fresh phase of development.