Vol. II No. 7 Saturday 15 February - 21 February 2003
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BUSINESS NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Finance Ministry hints of lifting foreign stock ceiling

Anti-Thai riots adversely affect trade and investment, says TFRC

Foreign investors skeptical about Thai growth figures

Bright prospects for Thailand’s new online library business

Finance Ministry hints of lifting foreign stock ceiling

Finance Minister Somkid Jatusripitak recently gave a clear indication that he personally supports the lifting of the ceiling currently barring foreigners from holding more than a certain proportion of stocks in Thai firms, acknowledging that the current regulations pose a barrier for potential shareholders.

Somkid said that large scale companies across the world required diversity among their shareholders, and that he personally felt that Thailand’s current ceiling should be lifted.

He warned, however, that lifting the ceiling was something that would have to be done with caution, as lifting controls could run into legal difficulties, and recognized that the government could run up against accusations of selling the country to foreigners.

The finance minister however brushed off anticipated criticism of the move, saying that in today’s world of globalization, money circulated throughout the world, settling in places where investment proved the most attractive. (TNA)


Anti-Thai riots adversely affect trade and investment, says TFRC

The anti-Thai riots which recently rampaged in Cambodia will have an adverse impact on trade, investment and tourism cooperation between the two neighboring countries, according to Thai Farmers Research Center (TFRC).

Thailand’s leading think tank said the incident has damaged the atmosphere of bilateral trade, which has an annual value of 40,000 billion baht. Thai traders are uncertain about the turmoil in the country and want to wait and see until the situation returns to normal.

Key Thai exports to Cambodia include packaged oil valued at US$61 million while imports from the country are ore and metallic residue valued at $2.2 million.

TFRC said political instability had periodically undermined foreign investment in Cambodia in the past several years. Most investor dared not make huge investment in the country.

In its report, TFRC said, “As the Thai economy begins to recover Thai businessmen want to invest overseas to expand their business. It is predicted they will shy away from investing in Cambodia and turn to investment spots where there is more safety and security.”

TFRC added Thailand was likely to lose the Cambodian tourist market, which is the third largest in Indochina after Vietnam and Laos, as a result of the tension in bilateral relations. The number of Cambodian arrivals has increased in the past five years, earning Thailand tourism revenue of more than one billion baht. (TNA)


Foreign investors skeptical about Thai growth figures

The president of the International Chamber of Commerce recently warned that foreigners are concerned that Thailand’s economic growth seems to be driven by domestic consumption and government debt and spending rather than by exports and revenue.

Kierti said the government has to attach more importance to the perceptions of foreign investors. Foreign investors were worried that Thailand’s economic growth was based on consumption and credit rather than on true growth indicators such as exports.

“Several groups of foreign investors constantly come to check out the basics of the Thai economy. Some of them are satisfied with the high economic growth rate, but several other groups have expressed doubts that Thailand’s economic expansion is being driven by government spending, consumption and debt”, he said.

The chamber of commerce president also urged the government to do everything in its power to prepare for the eventuality of a US-Iraq war in order to minimize impact on Thai businesses. (TNA)


Bright prospects for Thailand’s new online library business

The first-ever online library service of Thailand is receiving a good response from bookworms as the membership soared in its first three months of operation.

The library online service is located at www.thailib.com

Jentipong Phumchan, the library‘s web master said everyone could borrow books via the Internet after registering online to the web-site as a member.

“My fondness for reading inspired me to have my own library and decided to run the library business later,” he said.

Books of the online library are generally categorized the same as ordinary libraries. Clients can select their favorite items and submit their order on the computer. The requested books will be immediately delivered to the customers by postal service.

“More than 100 members have already registered with the web-site and the number of customers is likely to increase steadily. I don’t expect to earn a huge profit from my business but my intention is to create the reading community online,” Jantipong said. (TNA)



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