Vol. II No. 3 Saturday 18 January - 24 January 2003
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Outstanding payment in credit card business on the rise

Thailand has ridden out the economic crises says academic leader

Survey shows most remain confident of government’s performance

Cabinet approves plan to repay US$4.8 billion debt to IMF

Outstanding payment in credit card business on the rise

The outstanding payment in the credit card business has increased by more than 7 billion baht while the total spending rose by only 3 billion baht in the third quarter, according to the Bank of Thailand.

BOT’s Financial Institutions Policy Department says that said the number of credit card members and spending through the cards in the third quarter rose from that of the second quarter as a result of incentives issued to boost consumer loans and the central bank’s easing of card membership criteria.

The number of credit cards had increased 453,131 to 3,268,137 from 2,815,006 in the second quarter.

Of this, 437,222 cards or 90% were issued by local commercial banks and the remaining 15,909 by foreign banks.

Total spending through credit cards had also climbed up by 3.6 billion baht to 70.97 billion from 67.64 billion.

Of this, 68.16 billion baht was spent locally with 45.37 billion by Thais and the remaining 22.78 billion by foreigners.

It should be noted outstanding payment in the credit card business in the third quarter had increased by 7.69 billion baht to 51.66 billion from 43.96 billion in the second quarter. Of this, 6.45 billion baht belonged to local commercial banks and the remaining 1.24 billion baht to foreign banks. (TNA)

Thailand has ridden out the economic crises says academic leader

According to Theerayuth Boonmee, lecturer at Thammasat University, Thailand has already ridden out the worst of the economic crisis as the government has played a crucial role in stimulating the economy. Assessing the overall economy, society and culture following the economic crisis the country has managed to weather the storm.

Theerayuth pointed out this could be witnessed by the improvement in the export and agricultural sectors and the development of working culture of Thai people. Production capacity in many sectors has also improved.

He said the government led by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has played a significant role in jumpstarting the economy. Although the United States economy had been in doldrums for two years, the Thai economy has not been adversely affected as the baht value and the stock market have maintained stability.

Theerayuth believes the US economy could continue to recede as a war between the US and Iraq seems likely to occur. However, fears of the incident could result in a capital inflow in Asian countries including China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. He suggested Thailand accelerate economic activities in China, Russia and India. Tourism, export, culture, skilled work production, and all kinds of services should be promoted in these countries.

He added the government will still need to implement its economic policy in the next 1-2 years with caution as non-performing loans could increase to 30% of the outstanding loans. He agreed that the self-sufficient economic policy given by His Majesty the King has played a crucial role in stimulating the value of being Thais and the appreciation of life-styles of moderation. (TNA)

Survey shows most remain confident of government’s performance

Most people remain confident in the government’s performance, particularly in its plan to repay debts it owes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of schedule, according to Rajaput Institute’s Suan Dusit Poll.

The survey was conducted from a random sample of 3,847 people in all walks of life in Bangkok and its environs, as well as major provinces in different regions during December 15-31.

The poll showed 65.98% of people surveyed said they had confidence in the government’s performance. Of this, 68.18% was confident of its performance in the social activity, 65.37% in the economic activity, and 64.98% in the political activity.

The survey found 25.8% appreciated the government’s efforts to improve the economy and repay debts with IMF ahead of time, 21.71% admired its social order, 17.54% its narcotics suppression, 9.34% its universal health insurance scheme, and 7.69% its efforts to help farmers.

On people’s confidence in the opposition’s performance, 57.67% believed in its examination of the government’s work. Of this, 60.63% was confident of its examination of the political activity, 57.04% of the social activity, and 55.33% of the economic activity.

The poll found 47.32% was confident of the opposition’s examination of corruption and 31.78% of its monitoring and control of the government’s performance. (TNA)

Cabinet approves plan to repay US$4.8 billion debt to IMF

Finance Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said in a statement that the plan was approved at the first weekly cabinet meeting of this year. “The cabinet approved that the US$4.8 billion debt be repaid to IMF over the next six months”, Somkid said. The decision was made after careful deliberation by all parties concerned, he noted.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra reaffirmed that the country had no problem to repay the debt of US$4.8 billion, (208 billion baht), to the U.S.-based creditor.

“The repayment of the debt ahead of its schedule in 2005 will save the country’s foreign exchange reserves by US$5 billion, as we won’t have to pay interest for the loan”, he pointed out.

“Being free from the debt will raise the dignity of Thailand and the Thai people in the international community, as countries which are under bailout programs of the IMF are viewed as having an unhealthy financial status,” Thaksin said.

Thailand acquired a bailout loan of over 12 billion baht from IMF when the country was hit by its worst economic crisis in mid 1997. (TNA)

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