Thai ad spending to slow in 2001

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Advertising spending in Thailand in 2001 is expected to grow at only half the rate of last year as advertisers trim budgets amid continued economic sluggishness and political uncertainties, say brokerage analysts who follow the industry.

In 2000, advertising spending totaled $1.2 billion, an increase of 19.2% compared to 1999. However, analysts at local brokerages Asset Plus and Sicco Securities predict no more than 10% growth this year.

"Last year's boom was triggered by expectations of an improving economy associated with increasing competition in the consumer goods sector," says Sanpong Limthamrongkul, of Sicco Securities.

Lingering economic and political uncertainties have kept consumer spending at bay and advertisers have begun to take a serious second look at their future spending plans, according to analysts.

This also is the view of Parames Rachjaiboon, president of the Advertising Association of Thailand, who opines that billing growth may drop at least during the first two quarters of this year because advertisers are displaying a wait-and-see attitude.

The new government under Thaksin Shinawatra, who became prime minister on Feb. 11, has yet to announce concrete measures to improve Thailand's ailing economy.

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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