Thailand coup upsets Asian markets

Marketplace Staff Sep 20, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: A military coup essentially shut down Thailand for the day. An army leader led the overthrow of the country’s Prime Minister. It’s been peaceful, but there’s some economic fallout: Stock markets in Japan, Singapore and South Korea took a hit. Thailand’s currency had its biggest drop in three years. More now from Joe Zefran in Bangkok.

JOE ZEFRAN: Here, memories of an economic collapse just eight years ago are still fresh, so markets were jittery. Japanese automakers Nissan and Mazda even stopped production in their Thai factories for a day.

But the coup was bloodless and some analysts believe the new government could bring greater stability. They say it could get rid of many of the doubts and tensions associated with Prime Minister Taksin.

Outside the Royal Army Headquarters, Thailand’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Vendors hawk yoga pants bearing a crude cartoon of the Prime Minister.

Hot off the silkscreen machine, they’re just 100 baht each, which is about $2.50.

Tourists and locals snapped up these pieces of history in between gawking at the tanks and the troops.

In Bangkok, I’m Joe Zefran for Marketplace.

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