Vol. II No. 36 Saturday September 6 - September 12, 2003
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Rice prices likely to rise in world market, says MOC

Bank of Ayuthaya extends cheque clearing period

200 million baht budget pledged for deep-sea fisheries projects

Former BOT chief appointed as SETís chairman

BOT, Northern Region releases this yearís first-half figures

Rice prices likely to rise in world market, says MOC

Rice exports are expected to benefit in terms of prices from the expected insufficient supply of the output in the world market next year, according to Thailandís Ministry of Commerce.

Pasit Pumchusri, the ministryís deputy spokesman, said the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board met recently and concluded the rice output was on the decline in the global market with stocks likely to drop by 20% late this year, the lowest since 1987. According to the boardís estimate, the supply of the rice output would not meet the demand next year, resulting in rice prices in the world market edging up.

Pasit said the situation would benefit Thailandís rice exports as prices would rise in tandem with those in the global market, although he conceded Vietnam was a remarkable rival in the global market share of rice. (TNA)

Bank of Ayuthaya extends cheque clearing period

Bank of Ayudhya, a leading Thai commercial bank, has initiated a move to further facilitate its clients by extending its cheque clearing hours to 03:00 p.m. Chet Raktakanishta, First Executive Vice President of the bank, said that the service would initially serve clients at its five branches located in major business areas, including the Rama III, Ploenchit, Sam Yaek, and Surawong branches, as well as its North Sathorn Sub-Branch. ďFrom now on our clients can visit the five branches for the extended cheque clearing serviceĒ, he said, adding that the service would later be expanded to other branches.

Bank of Ayudhya is the first commercial bank here which has moved first to extend the cheque clearing period. Normally, commercial banks close their cheque clearing service at around 11:00 a.m.

Chet said that Bank of Ayudhya had also developed a new service, called the Cheque Express Service, by which the bankís clients could immediately withdraw cashes from cheques paid on their names at the maximum of 200,000 baht per cheque in its clearing center in Bangkok, and at the maximum of 100,000 baht at its clearing centers outside Bangkok. (TNA)

200 million baht budget pledged for deep-sea fisheries projects

The government says it is preparing to pour 200 million baht into the private fisheries sector to boost the nationís deep-sea fishing industry, in a bid to search for new markets for Thailandís fishing companies and avoid concession fees. The Department of Fisheries will soon conduct feasibility studies regarding the proposal.

Songsaeng Pathawanich, president of an association concerned with fisheries outside Thailandís waters, said that the prime minister had called on Thai fishermen to band together to engage in deep-sea fishery. Once the fishing industry had made its proposals to the government, the government would respond with 200 million baht in aid, he said, but he conceded that at present Thailand had few boats suitable for deep-sea fishing.

The industry is also calling on the government to open up negotiations with Africa to allow Thai fishing boats to operate in African waters. Songsaeng noted that already 10 Thai fishing boats operated in Madagascar and a further four boats in Mozambique, adding that Mozambique had also requested Thai investment in shrimp farming. (TNA)

Former BOT chief appointed as SETís chairman

Former central bank governor Vijit Supinij has been appointed as the new chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailandís board in place of Chavalit Thanachanan whose term had expired. Chavalit said Vijit was highly qualified for the job since he had long work experience in the countryís financial and economic system.

Vijit said, ďI am honored and glad all members of the board entrust me to take the top post. As a former central bank governor, I have had an opportunity to help develop SET from the outset and worked closely together with its executives.Ē

Vijit said SET had played a crucial role in the economic system. As the new chairman, he would work closely with the board and management, and his full knowledge and capability to develop SET. (TNA)

BOT, Northern Region releases this yearís first-half figures

Supatatt Dangkrueng

The Bank of Thailand (BOT), Northern Region released figures outlining the northern economic and financial climate during the first half of this year (January-June).

An analysis of the figures shows that the economy has improved, but only slightly. Factors driving this recovery include rising cash crop prices, increasing industrial production and a recovery in the service sector after the SARS crisis ended.

The agricultural price index increased by 5 percent, covering cash crops such as rice, garlic, red onion, and lychee - which increased farmersí revenues by more than 4 percent.

Increased sugarcane production resulted in more sugar being produced, and along with increased zinc mining for the automobile industry were main factors for expansion in the industrial sector. Also, the Northern Region Industrial Estate expanded by 7.7 percent and is now worth 582.6 million US dollars.

The service sector suffered setbacks in the beginning of the year due to the SARS scare, terrorism and war in Iraq, but began recovering by the end of the second quarter. The recovery was in part gained through the hard public relations effort by the government, the special tourism campaign and the national and international meetings, including the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) conference.

In all, it appears that the climate is favorable for an economic recovery in the northern region.

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