HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Exporters urged to hedge against currency exchange risks

BOT’s decision on repo hike depends on internal factors

Australian Visa Application Center makes application lodgment easier

Chiang Mai company wins national award

Exporters urged to hedge against currency exchange risks

Exporters should hedge against currency exchange risks since the US dollar has currently fluctuated, according to Kasikorn Research Center (KRC). The leading think tank projected the greenback would continue to weaken next year because the deficit in the United States’ current account and budget balance were likely to increase.

However, the greenback will likely to gradually depreciate since the US and its key trading partners did not want the see the global monetary market fluctuate. KRC said local regulators should keep a close watch on the dollar movement to ensure the baht would not fluctuate.

At the same time, exporters should turn to count more on other currencies such as the euro and Japanese yen to ease possible risks from the slump in the dollar value. The export sector should be more assertive in marketing and improving product quality and production efficiency to boost competitiveness in the world market.

KRC projected the greenback would not weaken considerably next year. However, countries must cooperate in solving economic woes for the sake of the global economic expansion in the long run. Exporters should not be reckless about the volatility of the US dollar. The report urged they must hedge against currency exchange risks to protect themselves from the fluctuation of the greenback. (TNA)

BOT’s decision on repo hike depends on internal factors

Bank of Thailand (BOT) Governor M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula recently disclosed the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision on the repurchase rate adjustment depends on internal factors rather than external ones. He said MPC would decide to adjust the 14-day repo rate based more on local economic development than external pressure.

Main factors that would have an influence on the committee’s decision include economic growth, stability of the economy, inflation rate, and foreign capital inflow and outflow. The BOT chief said the US Federal Reserve’s move to adjust key interest rates would be another key factor to MPC’s decision because it could have an effect on the Thai economy and the foreign capital outflow.

On the baht movement, he said, the local currency has become more stable than earlier. It slightly weakened, then stabilized in the same direction with other main currencies of the globe. (TNA)

Australian Visa Application Center makes application lodgment easier

Australian Embassy

The Australian Ambassador to Thailand, HE Miles Kupa, officiated at the signing of the agreement to open a new Australian Visa Application Center in Bangkok.

Ambassador Kupa said, “The significant growth in the numbers of Thais traveling to Australia reflects the strong bilateral relations between our two countries. There is evidently a lot of interest in Australia – interest which will further bring our communities and people closer together, to the benefit of both countries.

“I am confident that all visa applicants to Australia will welcome these new arrangements, which will start on Australia Day, 26 January 2005. The new Australian Visa Application Center will be conveniently located in the Thai CC Tower Building on South Sathorn Road, opposite Surasak BTS Station,” he said.

Commenting on the new center, the regional director for immigration, Christine McPaul, said the applicants for visas to Australia would have increased flexibility as people no longer needed to visit the embassy to lodge their applications.

As part of the new arrangements, visa applicants from major regional centers including Chiang Mai and Phuket will be able to lodge their applications without coming to Bangkok as they can be delivered to Bangkok by courier service.

Chiang Mai company wins national award

Staff reporters

Each year, the Thai government’s Bureau of Employment for Persons with Disabilities recognizes individuals, government agencies and companies that have made an outstanding effort to train and employ handicapped workers. This year, Mother of Pearl Industry (MOPI) in Hang Dong was one of five recipients of the prestigious ‘Best Factory for Disabled Persons 2004’ national award.

Based on their high ratio of handicapped workers, and the fact that these workers receive the same salaries, job training and opportunities for advancement, MOPI won the award over much larger companies. Other criteria included assessment of working conditions, safety procedures, and training programs.

Tephsing Ruangyuttikarn, production manager and shareholder in MOPI, said that their handicapped employees are dedicated and produce excellent results for the company. “This is a two way street,” said Tephsing. “Our handicapped employees’ attitude and performance do a great deal to help us in terms of our quality and production. MOPI benefits from hiring and training its handicapped workers and I would encourage any company to consider this option.”

Thailand has an estimated six million handicapped people of which five million are unemployed. The message that the Thai government and companies such as MOPI want to emphasize is to take advantage of this available resource.

Hats off to MOPI, a local industry. Congratulations for a job well done. Inquiries regarding hiring handicapped individuals may be made to (053) 357-088.