The Thai coup and small business confidence in Bangkok
Speece, M. W.
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Thailand's recent coup was not received favorably in the West, but many parts of Thai society support it. In particular, business sentiment has improved greatly in the short time since the coup. The Bank of Thailand's monthly Business Sentiment Index (BSI) showed sharp decline in 2013, even before the protests became large. Immediately after the coup, the index was up substantially, although not to levels seen in earlier years. Originally, small business supported Thaksin. After tight policies following the 1997 crash, they liked promises to free up credit for SMEs. Facing severe competition from foreigners buying up cheap post-crisis assets, they liked his policies aiming to promote domestic business. Some pro-small business policies were implemented, some were not, some turned out to lack much substance. But whatever the actual implementation and impact, perceptions came to view Thaksin's governments as mainly favoring big corporations, especially those connected to Thaksin's own business interests.