Inflation remains stable after slight increase in first 7 months
The consumer price index for July remained unchanged from
the previous month, putting the inflation rate for the first seven months of
the year at 1.8 percent, well within the target for the year as a whole,
according to new data released yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce.
Phisit Settawong, deputy permanent secretary for
commerce, said that although the general consumer price index for July
remained unchanged from June, it was 1.8 percent higher than July 2002. This
accorded with figures for the first seven months of the year, which also
showed a 1.8 percent year-on-year growth rate.
Goods which recorded a drop in price last month were
fresh vegetables, including kale, snake beans, coriander, spring onions,
bird’s eye chilies and limes, due to the favorable climatic conditions at
the beginning of the rainy season. Also down in price were a number of
fruits, namely rambutans, durians and water melons, together with soy bean
oil, palm oil, soy sauce and fish sauce, personal products including shampoo
and sanitary napkins, and cleaning products such as washing powder,
conditioner and dish washing liquid.
However, Thai fragrant rice or ‘hom mali’, increased
in price as the production season reached a close, while the price of fresh
chicken also rose on the back of higher exports due to the easing of trade
restrictions by the European Union. Eggs also increased in price, in part
due to greater acceptance of and demand for Thai eggs in foreign markets. At
the same time, the price of petrol was edged up four times, while the price
of high revolution diesel was pushed up three times, before dropping once.
Phisit expressed confidence that the rate of inflation
for the year as a whole would not exceed the government target of two
Meanwhile the base consumer price index, based on 235
goods and services, excluding fresh food and energy, stood at 104.3 points,
a 0.1 percent decrease on June figures, but 0.1 percent higher than July
2002. This put the average year-on-year increase for the first seven months
of the year at 0.2 percent. (TNA)
OTOP products to hit world stores within 3 years
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has pledged to
ensure that ‘One Tambon, One Product’ (OTOP) goods will be on display in
large stores across the world within three years, expressing confidence that
foreigners would be willing to pay top prices for products that required
time and skills to make.
During a recent opening of an exhibition of OTOP products
from the upper southern region in Surat Thani Province, the deputy prime
minister voiced confidence that within the next couple of years, the
government’s continual promotion of OTOP products would eventually pay
Noting that the UK store Tesco and the French hypermarket
Carrefour had already agreed to distribute OTOP products abroad, Somkid said
that the prize-winning OTOP products from Thailand’s 76 provinces would
gain global recognition, and would help pull tourists into Thailand. “Even
though the prices might be a little high, tourists will be prepared to pay,
as these products require intricate skills and much time to make,” he
Somkid said that the government was attaching importance
to the OTOP scheme in recognition of its role in boosting local incomes.
Noting that over the past 10 years economic growth had been concentrated in
the hands of large businesses, he said that the true roots of economic
expansion were local producers.
The Surat Thani OTOP event attracted a huge number of
interested viewers on its first day, with crowds flocking to see the 83
products which have passed the regional selection process, of which 10
products have been accorded five stars, the highest mark of quality. (TNA)
Current account surplus in June shows economy bouncing back
The country’s sustained economic growth during June
showed a rebound which surprised analysts who had predicted a dip in revenue
due to the war in Iraq and the SARS outbreak. The country recorded a deficit
of $185 million in May due to SARS. However, for month of June the
country’s current account surplus stood at $101 million.
The current account balance is comprised of services
income, which is derived from tourism revenues. After the deadly flu-like
virus was contained, tourism, which accounts for nearly 6 percent of the
country’s GDP, tourist arrivals and hotel occupancies showed an increase
and greatly boosted the nation’s revenue.
A spokesman for Bank of Thailand (BOT) said, “June is
often a slow month for tourism. It is also a month when investment funds are
repatriated in the form of dividends and other income. A recorded current
account surplus of over $100million is definitely a positive sign.”
The BOT reported that the country’s industrial
production slowed in June due to the temporary shutdown of some tobacco,
wire rod and upstream petrochemical companies for maintenance. But the
manufacturing production index (MPI) rose 11.1 percent, slightly below the
13.2 percent growth it had in May.
In June, import growth slowed to 9.7 percent
year-on-year. Exports jumped 15 percent year-on- year for the month, and the
trade surplus rose to $696 million from $601 million in May. (TNA)