Vol. VII No. 23 - Tuesday
June 3 - June 9, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


BUSINESS & TRAVEL
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Bangkok Bank offers cost effective new channel for transferring funds from the US to Thailand

‘Plastic credit’ rises sharply in 1Q08

Local oil prices likely to top Bt40 per litre

Bangkok Bank offers cost effective new channel for transferring funds from the US to Thailand

Bangkok Bank Senior Vice President for the Global Payment Services Department Thanit Sirichote said the bank has opened a new channel for transferring funds from the US to Thailand using the US Automated Clearing House (ACH). The service will help senders to save on transfer fees as the cost will be reduced by around US$ 15-20 per transaction.
The funds will be directly deposited into the recipient’s accounts in Thailand, who will also gain the benefit of a better exchange rate, as the funds in US dollars will be converted into Thai baht at the daily exchange rate of Bangkok Bank.
“Bangkok Bank is the first bank in Thailand to introduce this service which connects the ACH system, which is the electronic payment system in the US, to the network of our New York branch and branches in Thailand. The service will benefit three customer groups - customers with deposit accounts with banks in the US who need to transfer funds to Thailand, those receiving regular payments via cheque from the US government or private agencies, and businesses with online services who receive their revenues from internet payment service providers,” Thanit said.
Mr. Thanit said transferring funds from the US to Thailand via this channel is cheaper than using other electronic channels because the funds will be transferred via the US domestic network to Bangkok Bank’s branch in New York which will then deposit the funds directly into customers’ accounts at Bangkok Bank. This is cheaper and faster than transferring the funds on the SWIFT network via correspondent banks.
Customers with deposit accounts at banks in the US can transfer funds via the internet banking service of their US banks. Customers in Thailand who wish to receive regular payments via the service can contact their Bangkok Bank branch in Thailand where the staff can guide them through the application process including preparing supporting documents to instruct their payee organizations to transfer the funds via the ACH system. On-line business operators can register with their internet payment service providers to receive their payments via the ACH system.
Customers interested in receiving payments via the ACH system can find more details about the service and application process from Bangkok Bank’s website www.bangkokbank.com including step-by-step advice on how to register for the service. They can also call Bangkok Bank’s New York branch on telephone (1-212) 422-8200.


‘Plastic credit’ rises sharply in 1Q08

Continued rising inflation in Thailand has encouraged increased consumer spending using locally issued credit cards during the first quarter of 2008, according to a new survey by Kasikorn Research Center, which indicates that spending increased to about Bt197.34 billion, up 14.4 percent from the corresponding period of 2007.
The survey said besides the sharp jump in commodity prices, diesel prices during the January-March period soared 70 percent year-on-year while some goods prices rose 30 percent from before.
Inflation during the first quarter this year advanced to 5 percent, up from 2.3 percent in the same period last year, it said.
Meanwhile, outstanding credit being carried by plastic cards during the first quarter 2008 amounted to about Bt174.76 billion, up 5 percent compared to 4.8 percent in the first quarter last year, the report said.
However, if the increase of 5 percent is compared to the last quarter of 2007 then outstanding balance of credit would have fallen to 2.5 percent as card issuers decided to remove bad debts from their system faster, it said.
Moreover, cardholders also paid higher volumes of cash on their outstanding balances after the Bank of Thailand increased the minimum payment on the outstanding amount by cardholders to 10 from 5 percent.
The Kasikorn Research Center said some credit card issuers would probably stimulate cardholders to spend more during the Euro Cup 2008 football event which starts June 7. They are expected to launch joint campaigns with entertainment places, restaurants and department stores. (TNA)


Local oil prices likely to top Bt40 per litre

Thailand’s domestic gasoline and diesel prices are projected to reach 43-44 and 40-41 baht per litre respectively in the second half of this year, according to Manoon Siriwan, a leading oil industry analyst from Bangchak Petroleum.
He said that crude oil price in the United States market were hovering around US$130 per barrel after hedge funds speculated on oil prices upon news reports that Goldman Sachs, the world’s largest investment bank, estimated the price would reach $141 per barrel in the second half of this year.
Simultaneously, while oil production capacity in Mexico and Russia had fallen, the demand for fuel in many countries, including China, India, and ASEAN, had increased.
Also, it is believed the US economy has already bottomed out after having suffered from the sub-prime mortgage lending woes.
Should the world crude price rise to $141 per barrel as projected, he said, Thailand’s domestic gasoline and diesel prices will reach a range of 43-44 baht and 40-41 baht per barrel.
Manoon predicted that local oil dealers would raise fuel prices further because the market margin of diesel remains in deficit and that of gasoline is hovering at only around 1 baht. (TNA)



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