Chiang Mai real estate slows in first quarter
A view of the city with condos and new housing
(Photo by Seashell via Wikimedia Commons)
The real estate industry of the northern province of
Chiang Mai saw a slower growth in the first three month of 2014.
In a seminar on the situation of the housing industry in the North, the
Government Housing Bank’s Real Estate Information Center unveiled that
Chiang Mai has seen a slowdown since the last quarter of 2013 all through
the first quarter this year.
Actually, the overall housing market in Thailand has been badly affected by
political confrontations between the government and its opponent, the
People’s Democracy Reform.
However, center director Summa Kitasin said the housing industry in Chiang
Mai, which has high potential for growth, will likely expand in the next two
years. The province is the biggest business hub in the North. The
integration into AEC next year will also act as an accelerator for
investment in the province’s trade and service sectors, resulting in higher
demand for housing. (NNT)
Thailand’s industrial sentiment in February lowest in 57 months
The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in March
plunged to its lowest point in 57 months following concerns over political
uncertainty, while domestic sales of automobiles in the first three months
of 2014 have dropped 45.8 per cent due to the end of the government’s First
Car Buyer Scheme.
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Supant Monkolsuthree said that
a survey of 1,107 firms from 42 industrial clusters indicated that last
month’s TISI plunged to 84.7, one point down from 85.7 in February, to its
lowest in almost five years due to reduced domestic consumption as a result
of prolonged political instabilities.
Mr. Supant noted that decreased domestic consumption has led to declining
sales and orders. Operators are unable to readjust the prices of products
despite the increased cost of production. Escalating political turmoil may
further affect the country’s competitiveness in the long run and the
country’s preparation for initiation of the ASEAN Economic Community by the
end of 2015.
The new FTI chairman advised the government to introduce measures to boost
the country’s dampened economy. However, Mr. Supant said that the TISI
forecast in the three month period will rise from 98.4 in February to 99.1
following an increase in orders, sales, production and output.
Meanwhile, sales of cars in the first three month of 2014 fell by 45.8 per
cent year-on-year to 224,171 units, while sales of motorcycles fell 21.35
per cent to 431,795 units. However, exports of motorcycles increased 1.25
per cent at 291,509 units, with an export value of more than Bt100 billion,
a rise of 7.43 per cent. The export value of cars and motorcycles in Q1 was
Bt215.4 billion, up 9 per cent. The country produced total of 205,041 in the
first three months of 2014, a year-on-year decrease of 28.28 per cent.
FTI, however, has not readjusted this year’s production figures, earlier set
at 2.4 million units, to be distributed to both domestic and international
markets. The country’s political instabilities have prompted a sales decline
of more than 30 per cent and the country will focus more on exporting these
SIPA invests 137 million baht to help
Thai software operators
The Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) has
decided to invest 137 million baht to prepare Thai software operators for
the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
SIPA director Trairat Chatkaew said the government has put a lot of emphasis
in the technology sector by approving SIPA to invest at least 137 million
baht. Following this procedure, SIPA hopes to develop greater software tools
to help business operators across all industries save costs in their
SIPA will mainly focus on improving employees’ overall abilities to meet AEC
standards in order to raise the bar of standardized Thai software operators.
The goal is to get at least 1,000 qualified Thai software operators to be
accepted in the international market, as Thai operators in the past have had
a weak foundation.
To resolve this problem, SIPA has founded the “tycoon chic” project, which
is designed for business owners in the software industry. Under this
project, companies will learn to grow strong and firm, attract investors
into the intellectual property rights businesses, and be aware about future
technology trends in the next couple of years.
SIPA has also provided assistance to SMEs by suggesting financial
institutions and angel investors to provide funds so that small-businesses
can prosper and grow. (NNT)
By Don Freeman
While there is a stereotype about expats usually being single men
(e.g. older unmarried males who then marry much younger local spouses) or
married couples where the husband (as the primary breadwinner) has been
deployed abroad by his employer, women of all ages and marital statuses are
increasingly choosing the expat life. This is the first part of a two part
series on financial issues expat women face. Depending on whether or not you
are a single or a married expat woman who is still working or retired, you
will need to consider or be aware of the following special situations or
issues and how they can impact you as an expat women.
Divorce or Separation for Expat Women
While there are no statistics available about how many expat
couples get divorced or separate while abroad, there is both strong
anecdotal and statistical evidence to suggest expat divorce is on the rise
e.g. the Telegraph has recently reported that in 2011, 445 expatriate
couples living in Dubai ended their marriages there while a Sunday Times
article (posted on a forum here) has detailed the struggles along with some
horror stories about expat women who have gone through messy divorces in
Moreover, expat divorces are very tricky due to potential
inter-jurisdictional issues and it’s often the male expat spouse who has the
upper hand – especially if the expat woman is living in a foreign country on
some sort of dependent pass which can often be canceled very quickly by an
estranged husband or his employer.
With that in mind and unless your spouse has citizenship that differs from
yours or if you and/or your spouse own some kind of business or have
significant assets in a foreign country, it makes the most sense to file for
divorce in your home country, state or province and be subject to your own
laws (which probably will tend to favor a non-working spouse and often wives
if you are from a Western country). However, be aware that if you file for
divorce in your home country, any type of financial or child custody
judgment could be difficult to enforce in a foreign jurisdiction as not all
countries allow legal or financial judgments from another country to be
carried out on their soil.
The best way for an expat woman to protect herself and ensure a fair share
of any communal assets along with alimony or child support payments would be
to make sure there is some sort of pre-nuptial agreement in place before
going abroad. Just be aware that if someone files for divorce outside of the
country where the pre-nuptial was signed, any terms in the agreement that
conflict with a host country’s laws (e.g. Muslim countries like the UAE
where there are strict Shari laws or laws related to morals) may not be
legally binding or enforceable.
In other words, you will need to seek out the advice of an experienced
divorce attorney who specializes in international family law and has handled
expat divorce cases should irreconcilable differences develop in your
Estate Planning Basics for Expat Women
Estate planning can be a sensitive topic because it deals with
death. But if you are a married woman thinking of retiring abroad with your
husband, it’s important to remember that (statistically speaking) you will
outlive the average man by several years. In fact, a 65-year old woman
should expect to live until her mid-eighties and many can also expect to
live well into their nineties – usually without their husband.
And even if you are a single expat woman with no dependents and a relatively
small estate, you should have the following basic estate planning items in
Will. A legal document that will direct the distribution of your estate as
well as name legal guardians for any minor children, wills can still be
contested and must go through probate. However, you will at least ensure
some bare legal protections and have a say in what happens with your estate.
Living Trust. A legal arrangement made during your lifetime for the purposes
of managing assets, living trusts will avoid probate and can shield the
assets in them from estate taxes. Moreover, you will retain complete control
over the trust whose terms can be kept confidential.
Durable Power of Attorney. Should you become incapacitated, a durable power
of attorney will give a legal representative of your choosing the right to
make financial decisions on your behalf.
Health Care Proxy. Should you become incapacitated, a health care proxy will
give a legal representative of your choosing the right to make health care
decisions on your behalf.
If you are a retired expat woman who is single, the last two items will tend
to be your most important considerations or priorities because without them,
the closest living blood relative will generally be chosen by legal
authorities to make decisions on your behalf. This means you will need to
ensure that something written is in place and that all of the necessary
documents are easily accessible to relevant parties in an emergency
situation to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event you become
And while most of your liquid and financial assets will likely be in the
country where you have citizenship, be sure to check the laws of the country
you are expatriated in, especially if you own property or a business or
maintain large local bank accounts there. More than likely, estate and
probate laws are going to be different and you will need to check with a
local attorney to see whether any of the above mentioned estate planning
items that you may already have in place is actually enforceable outside of
your home country and where you currently reside.
Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered
Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based
in Phuket and Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and
provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates.
Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: