Vol. II No. 47 Saturday November 22 - November 28, 2003
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Anti-spec measures necessary to avert second crisis

Housing sales grow by 30% this year

Researchers developing standards for Thai recipes

Moody’s may upgrade Thailand

The Japanese connection

Anti-spec measures necessary to avert second crisis

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has warned that action on the over-heating stock market was essential to avert another economic crisis.

The prime minister cautioned that the unprecedented rise of the Thai stock market on November 4th , which pushed the volume of trade up to a 28-year high of 63 billion baht, could lead to a second economic bubble unless anti-speculation measures were put in place. While in part the record-breaking volume of trade had been caused by an inflow of foreign currency, it was also partly due to share speculation by retail investors, the PM said.

The president and manager of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission has been asked to keep a close eye on the situation.

Thaksin said, “I don’t want to see a repeat of history with the stock market turning into a bubble. If that occurs we would not be able to catch up with other countries.” He nonetheless stressed that the situation was now returning to normal, and that little damage had occurred. (TNA)

Housing sales grow by 30% this year

Low interest rates and the near-end fee reduction offered by the government to stimulate the property business has push up housing sales by 30% this year, according to the Bank of Thailand (BOT).

The central bank said in its report on the overall picture of property business in 2003 that people had rushed to purchase housing units before the offered fee reduction would end by the end of this year.

It projected that the business would grow further next year, boosted by the continued launch of new projects for single houses, townhouses, and condominium units.

Property prices were also set to increase along with higher costs of construction materials, particularly cement and steel rods, whose wholesale prices rose by 8.8% in the first half of this year, said the report.

The BOT also urged purchasers, entrepreneurs and financial institutions to take caution in trading and investment in the property business. It said purchasers should realize their competence in installment payment, particularly in the first three years of fixed lending rates. The bank also urged entrepreneurs to conduct marketing research so they could build houses to meet purchasers’ needs, and added that financial institutions should be careful in lending, particularly to the development of property projects.

The BOT said cooperation by the three parties would play a key role in curbing the speculation on the property business like that of 1997 when the country experienced a serious economic crisis. (TNA)

Researchers developing standards for Thai recipes

A team of home scientists at the Rajabhat Institute Suan Dusit are busy developing the ultimate ‘phat Thai’ recipe, which can be prepared and dished up in only five minutes, with a view to launching a franchise.

Pathanan Srimuang, one of the teachers on the institute’s home science program, speaks excitedly of the growing international popularity of Thai food, pointing to the recent enjoyment of standards such as ‘tom yam kung’, ‘phat Thai’ and Penang curry by international leaders during the recent Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Now a team of teachers at the Rajabhat Institute is working to develop standard recipes for Thai dishes to ensure their uniformity and nutritional value. This year the institute’s 41 campuses across the country have been allocated funding to develop regional cuisine, with 60 million baht already set aside for 2004.

Revealing the secrets of a successful and authentic dish of ‘phat Thai’ noodles, Pathanan said, “We want to create a set of standards for ‘phat Thai’ which are acceptable by both Thais and foreigners. We are developing the seasoning sauce first. We chose ‘phat Thai’ as it is one of the top 10 types of Thai food enjoyed by foreigners, and is a single-plate dish which is nutritionally balanced among the five food groups.”

The ‘phat Thai’ sauce developed by the institute is already being sold at the Dusit Palace Hotel, where consumers are being asked to give feedback on the recipe. Feedback will help The Rajabhat Institute team to develop the recipe further, conduct a nutritional analysis and determining the shelf life. (TNA)

Moody’s may upgrade Thailand

A representative from Moody’s Investors Services hinted that the US-based credit rating agency would upgrade Thailand’s credit rating, pointing to Thailand’s fiscal strength and high international reserves.

Moody’s vice president and senior credit manager, Thomas J. Bryne, made his comments during talks with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as part of a recent two-day trip to Thailand. Bryne said the present government was taking the right approaches and he expressed confidence that his visit to Thailand would give Moody’s sufficient information to consider upgrading Thailand’s credit rating, hinting that an upgrade was in the pipeline for all types of debt instruments. (TNA)

The Japanese connection

Good connections and efficient marketing management are keys to penetrating organic vegetables and fruits into Japan’s food market, according to Thailand’s Office of Agricultural Economics.

The office said in a report that the demand for organic vegetables in Japan had increased significantly since consumers have expressed greater concern over chemical residues and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

However, it has not been easy for Thailand to penetrate the organic food market in Japan because Japanese people are loyal to locally made products. In addition, Thai organic products must meet international hygiene standards since Japan has adopted the standard examination of imported organic farm products, and processed food since April 2001. Exporters must also meet the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) if they want to place their products for sale in Japan. (TNA)

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