Thailand has taken swift action to offset rising oil prices following the attacks on two plants in Saudi Arabia. The government has introduced a short-term tax cut for gasoline and diesel users. Thailand is the biggest crude importer in Southeast Asia.
The government announced on Tuesday the measure would be in place for three months. The cut is expected to cost about 80 million dollars and is part of an effort to keep oil prices at current levels.
But the move has done little to ease the concerns of citizens. "Rising prices would really hurt me," one driver said. "I drive a long distance to work every day."
A local expert says prolonged concerns about the global oil supply could end up having a big impact on Thailand's overall economic health.
"Trade balance is a part of GDP calculation," Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, Assistant Managing Director for Kasikorn Research Center, said. "In our rough estimation, this surge in oil prices could reduce Thai GDP growth by 0.2 percentage points."
She says these effects will not be limited to Thailand and will be seen throughout Southeast Asia, in non-oil producing countries.