BoT says economy in good shape but Middle East uncertainty a problem
The public confidence in the North’s business sector is
still high, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT) officials. The outlook
for the business sector is expected to be positive, following increased
demand and forward purchases, as well as the investment and employment
sector which is sound.
However, overall investment might be badly affected from
the rise in oil prices, said the BoT.
Part of the recovery has been through tourism, said the
BoT, although the agricultural sector has been slipping. While the
industrial production sector has improved, especially exports, some areas
such as sugar production volumes were reduced following the decrease in the
sugar cane harvest.
In the finance sector, credit amount was increased, when
compared to same period last year, while deposits were slightly up.
The bankers remain confident that the overall economic
state is still in a good condition, but it is weaker than the previous
months due to the “uncertainty” of the war crisis that is threatened to
erupt in the Middle East.
Public energy efficiency measures could save 76 billion baht per year
The Thai public is being asked to help share the rising
price of oil. The government says that basic energy saving measures for
vehicles and in the home could save over 76 billion baht a year.
Permanent Secretary for Energy, Chertphong Siriwich, gave
the public a scolding for losing interest in energy efficiency. He said the
government’s intervention in the price of oil had made the public
complacent. Describing the current situation as an oil price crisis, he
called on the public to ensure that they used energy as efficiently as
Chertphong pointed out that the simple measure of
checking the condition of personal vehicles could save 3,000 baht per
vehicle each year, while driving at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour as
opposed to 110 kilometers per hours would cut fuel consumption by 25
percent. This could result in average annual savings per vehicle of 9,600
baht or nationwide savings of 67 billion baht.
The energy minister also said that switching off one
40-watt florescent light bulb for 12 hours a day could save 430 baht each
year, and that if every household in Thailand did this the nation could save
5.2 billion baht per annum.
As part of its efficiency campaign, the Ministry of
Energy is also urging the public to keep air conditioning no lower than 25
degrees Celsius, which could result in saving another 98 million baht per
Moody’s praises Thailand government for
focusing more on external factors
A draft report from Moody’s Investors Service praised
Thailand’s government for trying to promote competitive exports and
attract foreign investment, after focusing on stimulating domestic demand
for the past two years.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s government “is
seeking to balance the new domestic orientation ... with an intention to
maintain Thailand’s external competitiveness and ensure continued foreign
participation in the economy,” the draft said.
A copy of the draft report, given to reporters on Friday
by a Thai government official, said rising tax revenues, successful efforts
to boost domestic demand and strong export growth justified the rating
agency’s shift last year to a positive outlook for Thailand’s credit
Moody’s senior analyst Tom Byrne said last month that
the possible effects of war in Iraq stand in the way of any decision on a
credit ratings upgrade for Thailand’s investment-grade Baa3 long-term
foreign-currency rating. A Baa rating roughly represents average
But the new draft report said a persistent current
account surplus and high foreign reserves created a cushion for any ill
effects of an Iraq war on Thailand’s balance of payments.
Byrne and the draft report both noted that the recovery
in gross domestic product growth to around 5 percent in 2002 from 1.9
percent the previous year was broad-based, with private consumption, private
investment and exports all rising.
Thai restaurants abroad should use Thai products
Shame on them! Thai restaurants around the world have
been urged to use Thai products. Thai restaurants serving their customers
Chinese noodles and Indian Ocean prawns and ingredients from nations other
than Thailand were recently given an implicit rap over the knuckles by
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Sora-ath Klinprathum who called on
owners to use Thai products for Thai cuisine.
Sora-ath said that the Ministry of Agriculture and
Cooperatives want Thai restaurants abroad to help build up a brand name for
Thai food products in order to transform Thailand into a ‘global
Relevant agencies will be asked to band together to
ensure that all raw ingredients used by Thai restaurants abroad were sourced
from Thailand, a move which would boost the restaurants’ credibility in
the eyes of their customers.
The minister hinted that the ministry might operate a
certification scheme to guarantee customers that a restaurant only used Thai