PTT and Bangchak to reduce benzene and diesel prices
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) - Domestic oil retailers and refineries PTT
Plc and Bangchak Petroleum Plc have announced a reduction in their
retail prices of benzene and diesel products by 50 satang per liter,
except for Gasohol E85 which will be reduced by 30 satang.
The two energy giants will lower their retail fuel prices, starting from
Wednesday at 05.00 hrs onwards. As a result, the new price of Benzene 91
at PTT and Bangchak stations in Bangkok and its vicinities will be at
42.45 baht per liter. Gasohol 95 will stand at 39.03 baht and Gasohol 91
at 37.28 baht per liter. Gasohol E20 will be at 36.28 baht while E85
will be at 23.18 baht per liter. High-speed diesel will be sold at 30.83
baht per liter.
Shrimp farmers protest seeking higher shrimp prices
SONGKHLA, May 8 - Shrimp farmers from eight southern Thai provinces
gathered today at the Tinsulanonda Bridge in this provincial seat
awaiting the decision of a committee meeting considering responses to
help farmers facing depressed shrimp prices.
Kanchit Hemarak, president of the shrimp farmers network, said the group
wants the committee to urgently initiate a shrimp mortgage scheme, and
warned that if a satisfactory outcome is not reached, the group would
expand its protest.
The producers representative said prices should vary from Bt130-180/kg
depending on shrimp and prawn sizes from 80 pieces/kg and 40 pieces/kg
Mr Kanchit suggested a timeline for the project beginning May 15. With
no clear answer to the protestors, he warned the group might close the
Tinsulanonda Bridge for an expanded protest and might travel to Bangkok
to protest directly to the prime minister.
Meanwhile, prices of other agricultural produce--particularly vegetables
and meats -- have increased. For instance, the price of pork and Chinese
kale have quickly risen in the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon
from Bt105 to Bt130/kilo and from Bt20 to Bt40 per bunch respectively.
Local merchants said consumer prices have doubled, and speculated they
would rise even higher when the new school term starts, which is soon.
They asked the government to help, as they are in trouble, they said.
(MCOT online news)
Commerce Ministry set to tackle higher living cost
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) – In the wake of the increased living cost at
present, the Commerce Ministry is set to launch a special operation
center in an attempt to ease the financial burdens of the people.
While other relevant ministries have been assigned by Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra to look into measures to alleviate the problems of
the rising living cost for the public, particularly in the areas of
transportation and energy cost, Commerce Permanent Secretary Yanyong
Phuangrach has disclosed that the Commerce Ministry is prepared to set
up an operation center, which will specifically monitor the situation of
the living cost and the prices of 20 necessity goods, such as rice,
vegetable oil, soap and washing detergent, among others.
The Commerce Minister will be supervising the center directly to focus
on ways to relieve the burdens of the initial production cost for
manufacturers and increase options for the public. Mr. Yanyong said that
the current prices of food and commodity products in general are not
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary has admitted that reducing the
initial cost for ready-to-eat food might be complicated; however, more
officials will be assigned to procure low-priced raw materials to
distribute to entrepreneurs. He explained that ready-to-eat food
accounts for 16% of the people’s daily expense.
The PM will be presiding over a meeting of ministerial permanent
secretaries, hosted by the Ministry of Commerce on May 11, to discuss
strategy to solve the problem of high cost of living.
BoT: Overseas investment reaches THB299 billion in Q1
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand
(BoT) has reported that Thai investors have spent as much as 299 billion
baht in overseas investment during the first yearly quarter of 2012.
According to the Central Bank, 2012 still sees Thai business operators
and investors continuing pouring money into overseas investment. The
first four months of the year saw 81.24 billion baht worth of Thai
direct investment overseas, an increase of 28.29 billion baht from the
previous quarter's figure, as a result of the relocation of production
bases to countries with lower labour wage and production costs.
Direct investment was the highest in the food production industry (14.88
billion baht), followed by investment in financial and insurance
businesses (14.73 billion baht).
At the same time, overseas investment in securities stood at 135.45
billion baht, while overseas cash deposit saw an evident increase to
stand at 82.56 billion baht. Taken into account all the above-mentioned
figures, the total Thai investment overseas during Q1 of 2012 stood as
high as 299 billion baht.
Additionally, the BoT has pointed out that overseas investment in 2012
will likely be higher than that of the previous year, in which overall
investment value stood at 488.19 billion baht. The BoT will facilitate
overseas investment by adjusting its rules and regulations in compliance
with the bank’s attempt to liberalize capital movement. It is believed
that this will serve as a motive to convince the Thai business sector to
increase its investment overseas.
Industry Ministry: Only 60 new factories established in April
BANGKOK, 8 May 2012 (NNT) – The Industry Ministry has
announced that only 60 new factories were opened in April, the lowest
number in 20 years. The ministry cited the effect stemmed from the
imposition of the 300-baht minimum wage policy.
The combined investment value of new factories opened in April is only
1.3 billion baht, a significant drop from last year's value of 17.8
billion baht. The value in April this year is even lower than the
figures during the Tom Yum Kung Crisis in 1997 and Global Hamburger
Crisis in 2009.
The ministry said many investors have delayed their plans as they are
concerned over the 300-baht minimum wage policy. Currently, only seven
provinces have enforced the law, other provinces will have to follow
suit next year.
Despite the low number, the ministry is confident that foreign investors
still consider Thailand as a potential production base, but they need
time to study the effects of the wage hike policy.
PM affirms help for rising consumer prices
NONTHABURI, May 7 - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asserted that her
government will help restrain rising consumer prices by pegging energy
prices and holding public sales of cheap products to lower the cost of
Speaking while visiting a fresh market in Pak Kret district Monday, the
prime minister said some consumer prices also tended to lower as a
number of kinds of produce are returning to market, such as seasonal
goods and goods previously affected by flood problems.
"Most merchants understand the real price problem and don't complain.
Some shoppers only buy cheap vegetables for the moment," Ms Yingluck
She noted the prices she received at market were about the same as those
received by the commerce minister. She said her administration will
analyse the data from the beginning to the end of the processes and
asked all parties to let prices change according to the market mechanism
in order that consumer prices are fair to all.
The government will help peg household energy prices, particularly
bottled gas (LPG), and try to reduce the burden of expenses for the
public, especially for parents who must pay their children's school
Concerning the ABAC poll released Sunday on her government's
performance, the premier asked for the public's understanding in the
matter. She said she would take the poll into consideration but denied
it would affect the evaluation leading to a Cabinet shuffle.
Sunday’s poll demonstrated that higher consumer goods prices were
reality, not unfounded opinion, while showing that many officials
directly involved with the government's economic policies were not known
to the general public. Most respondents agreed that a Cabinet reshuffle
should take place.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and opposition party leader Abhisit
Vejjajiva stated that energy policies play a part in the rising consumer
prices and that a Cabinet reshuffle of the energy post would be useless
if policies on energy are not changed.
He asked the Yingluck administration to speed up finding solutions to
the problems and to be clear on how to fix them. Mr Abhisit said if the
government sees that rising consumer prices are not an issue, all
projects with budgets approved to fix price problems should be
cancelled. (MCOT online news)
BoT: Private sector expects 4% inflation
BANGKOK, 7 May 2012 (NNT) – Private entrepreneurs said their production
costs have increased by 4.6% and expected the inflation rate to hover at
4%, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT)’s survey.
The survey conducted among Thai entrepreneurs has indicated that most of
them see around 2-4% inflation in the next 12 months; however, some
companies believe the rate will be upwards of 4%.
Product and service price index has also risen; the production costs in
the next 12 months are expected to rise by 4.6%. More entrepreneurs are
worried about the difficulties in adjusting their product prices while
the production costs are on the rise.
BOI eyes oversea investments before AEC 2015
BANGKOK, 7 May 2012 (NNT)-Board of Investment Secretary General Mrs.
Atchaka Sibunruang said that in preparation for the upcoming economic
integration in the ASEAN region, the BOI will focus on promoting
industries that are using advance technology and encouraging the
expansion of industrial investment overseas.
Mrs. Atchaka said high technology industries, such as food, auto,
electronics and petroleum, all of which are the country’s strength; will
receive additional supports in order for them to be able to further
increase their product value.
The BOI, Mrs. Atchaka added, will encourage Thai entrepreneurs to invest
overseas thanks to their strong business profiles and the recent wage
hike. The latter factor may force them, according to her, to look for
cheaper labors elsewhere in the region so as to lower their production
The Board of Investment Secretary General said the ASEAN Economic
Community, which will come into being in 2015, will see Thailand
expanding its technological development in agriculture, automotive and
electronics to its surrounding neighbors.
Private sector advised to invest in Myanmar
BANGKOK, 7 May 2012 (NNT) – The Thai Trade Representative (TTR) has
encouraged Thai entrepreneurs to invest in Myanmar, who has begun to
open its country to foreign investments.
Thai Trade Representative Chairman Olarn Chaipravat said by the end of
June, the TTR will organize a business matching forum for the Burmese
and Thai entrepreneurs to discuss business opportunities in Myanmar. He
said the TTR led a group of Thai investors to Myanmar at the end of
April, saying they have received good response from the Burmese
Mr Olarn said that the Myanmar’s government has shown willingness to
support Thai investors in all types of investments. He added many Thai
companies did not join the business trip to Myanmar last time;
therefore, a business matching will be held in June.
The chairman elaborated that after opening up the country to foreign
investors Myanmar, which has plenty of resources, is willing to allow
foreigners to go in to help develop its nation, adding that Thai
businesses will benefit from her cheap labors.
Thai public affirms high prices of goods are fact, not just opinion: ABAC Poll
BANGKOK, May 6 - About 90 percent of poll respondents viewed that it is
a fact that consumer goods prices are higher and not unfounded opinion,
according to the latest Assumption University ABAC poll released on
poll surveyed 2,259 people aged over 18 years old in 17 provinces
regarding their satisfaction on the government's performance for the
past nine months.
On a related response, the poll indicated that many officials directly
involved with the government's economic policies were unknown to the
general public. Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lekuthai and Deputy
Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol were each listed in the top ten of
ministers not known or acknowledged by respondents. Meanwhile, 67
percent of respondents agreed a cabinet reshuffle should take place.
Concerning the opinion of Yingluck Shinawatra as prime minister, poll
respondents gave her 5.93 points out of a total of 10 for her
performance over the past nine months of her administration.
Meanwhile, the premier said that prices of goods were falling but
admitted energy prices were higher. She said pricing of some goods are
uncontrollable, such as vegetable prices due to supply and demand, oil
prices, and excessively hot weather which can easily spoil harvests.
Ms Yingluck said that prices of goods in Bangkok are different from
other provinces owing to production costs, and areas that experienced
flood problems tended to have higher costs of production. The premier
noted officials are surveying the areas facing problems.
Ms Yingluck denied commenting on the poll's opinion which supported a
cabinet reshuffle, and only asked for more time to work. (MCOT online
PM vows to tackle high consumer prices
BANGKOK, May 5 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday
pledged to tackle high consumer prices, while insisting some consumer
product prices have gradually dropped since the beginning of the year.
The premier made remarks in response to public complaints on the rising
prices of commodity products during her weekly televised address
"Yingluck's Government Meets People," together with Commerce Minister
Boonsong Teriyapirom and Permanent-Secretary for Commerce Yanyong
Ms Yingluck said consumer prices had risen due to last year's nationwide
flooding which disrupted product distribution. But the prices of some
products have kept going down since the beginning of the year as the
costs of raw materials at upstream areas earlier hit by flood have
dropped as waters receded and the situation there returned to normal.
The problem, however, was at the so-called mid-stream level, which
includes transportation, the premier said, due to rising global oil
prices, resulting in higher costs of the products at downstream areas
where consumers felt the higher prices. The price would eventually head
downward, she said.
Ms Yingluck reiterated that her government was concerned about sentiment
and money in the pocket of the public.
Regarding the oil price hike, the prime minister said prices were
adjusted in accordance with the global market and the government has
introduced relief measures to ease public burden including a freeze on
oil fund contribution, subsidy on LPG for household use and promotion of
Ms Yingluck noted that the country is now in the process of
rehabilitating from one of its worst floods in history, so some types of
energy prices have yet to reduce in accordance with market mechanisms.
The commerce ministry has to consider how to reduce consumer goods
prices, said the premier, adding the government was trying to respond to
the needs of all groups of citizens, particularly low-income earners.
The premier said the government just extended relief measures, including
free electricity, buses, water supply and train transportation, for low
income earners as short-term measures and that it will find ways to help
increase income for these people while launching more economic stimulus
Commerce Minister Boonsong admitted the prices of some fresh products
remained high, while most consumer product prices have dropped since
Early this week, Prime Minister Yingluck argued that the public might
have felt that consumer product prices were increasing overall as a
result of psychological effects, despite the fact that the prices are
actually going down.
The feeling might have stemmed from last year’s massive flood that
spurred a price rise and even though prices have fallen, the public is
not satisfied with the trend, she said. (MCOT online news)
PM confident product prices declining
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT)-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra insisted
that commodity prices have been declining, while assuring people that
the government will continue to monitor goods prices and the cost of
living for Thai people.
The Prime Minister said prices of household items are now cheaper even
though consumers may feel that they remain pricy. Ms. Yingluck explained
that they might have felt that prices remain the same because their
spending was high particularly last month.
However, the Prime Minister said, the government will continue to keep
prices affordable for every one especially those running SME businesses.
She added the government wants to make sure that its relief campaign is
accessible to all people.
The first few steps taken so far, she said, are wage and salary rises
while she was hoping that the cost of living would decrease in the
latter half of this year when the supply of necessary goods to the
market returns to normal, prompting prices to decline.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister stressed that the Ministry of Commerce
will always check movement of prices in order to prevent vendors from
taking advantage of consumers.
Australia wants Thai workers to work in its construction industry
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) - Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labor
Mrs. Songsri Boonba has revealed Australia is seeking skilled labor from
Thailand to work in that country’s construction industry under a
The Permanent Secretary said she had met with a delegation from
Australia’s Northern Territory led by Mr. Greg Wallace, the charge
d’affaires from the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, as well as
representatives from the business sector in Australia to discuss the
possibility of sending Thai workers to Australia.
Over 20,000 workers have been requested by Australia, all of whom must
have experience and possess some English speaking skill that is
acceptable to Australian employers. She stressed that it is important
for them to be able to communicate in order to express their thoughts
Language skill is required for workers’ own safety and to prevent them
from being taken advantage of. To fulfill this requirement, the
Department of Employment and the Department of Skill Development will
provide those who are qualified for the positions with a language
Mrs. Songsri said, however, that both countries will have to discuss
this matter in details including the methods of selecting workers and
testing their skill and which sides should be responsible for the
State pawnshops prepare THB120 mil for new school year
CHIANG MAI, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – The Chiang Mai Pawnshop Office has
prepared a 120 million-baht cash reserve for locals who will be
depositing their belongings in exchange for money during the start of
the new school year.
A Chiang Mai Pawnshop official has expressed confidence that there will
be sufficient cash reserve for those planning to pawn their belongings
at the state-operated pawnshops as the new school year starts. A cash
reserve of 120 million baht has been allocated by the Chiang Mai
Municipality to the province’s three state pawnshops. Each office will
be granted a cash reserve of 40 million baht; however, if the amount is
insufficient, the Chiang Mai Municipality is ready to consider granting
them an extra 10 million baht each.
At present, there is already a 10% increase in the number of pawnshop
clients. Most personal effects being pawned include gold, watches and
miscellaneous products. The state pawnshop office has currently set the
limit of no more than 500,000 baht for each individual.
At the same time, the public are encouraged to pawn their belongings at
a state-operated pawnshop as they risk facing high interest rates and
property loss if dealing with non-traditional pawnbrokers.
SCB predicts 8.5% economic growth
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) - The Siam Commercial Bank Economic
Intelligence Center (SCB EIC) has predicted an 8.5% growth for the
economy in 2012 due to the industrial sector's speedy recovery.
SCB’s Chief Economist Sutapa Amornvivat has revealed that Thailand’s
economy in 2012 may see a growth of up to 8.5% given investor
confidence, which has brought the country's production back on its feet
sooner than expected. This could be seen from the Manufacturing
Production Index and the increased production capacity during the
beginning of the year.
The quick post-flood recovery of the industrial sector and growth in
domestic spending, especially in investment have prompted the center to
revise its Q2 economic growth up to 5.6-5.8%.
Furthermore, the center has predicted that the private sector’s
investment throughout the year will see a 12% increase, especially in
production. Meanwhile, the public sector’s investment will see an
increase during the second half of the year.
Thai entrepreneurs have been advised to be cautious as the 40% minimum
wage hike has sent the country’s overall production cost up by 3.3% and
inflation by 0.7%. At the same time, the higher energy price might also
force inflation up to 3.5-4%.
Public and private sectors brace for AEC
Bangkok, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – The Thai public and private sectors have
been busily readying themselves for the formation of the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) in 2015 ,while the textile and agro-product industries
have been urged to increase their productivity and worker’s skills.
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has held a seminar to discuss
the trends of Thailand's industrial sector and business opportunities
after the year 2015 in anticipation for the AEC formation. On this
occasion, Industry Minister M.R. Phongsawat Svastiwat has pointed out
that the AEC is expected to increase the GDP figures of member countries
by 8-10%. Thus, it is advisable for Thailand to brace itself for the AEC
by integrating the public sector’s management, human resources, relevant
legislations, IT communications, education, and public utilities; before
carrying out investment overseas. Additionally, he suggested that the
government pour more investment into the country’s infrastructure.
Meanwhile, FTI Chairman Phayungsak Chartsuthipol has expressed great
concerns for SME entrepreneurs, especially in the textile, food and
agro-product groups, given they are most vulnerable to the impacts of
the AEC formation. Thus, these groups of SMEs are encouraged to increase
their productivity as well as enhance the skills of their workers.
Mr. Phayungsak also said that Thailand has since 2010 been preparing for
its integration into the AEC by becoming a member of the ASEAN Free
Trade Area (AFTA). He added that even though Thailand possesses a strong
economic foundation, its industrial sector must have a back-up plan in
place to counter long-term impacts in order for it to be on par with
other AEC members.
Central Wage Committee yet to postpone new minimum wage implementation in 70 provinces
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – Thailand’s Central Wage Committee is yet to
consider postponing the implementation of the new minimum wage policy
throughout the country, as called for by the private sector.
Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labor Somkiat Chayasriwong, who
chairs the Central Wage Committee, said that the Committee’s meeting on
Wednesday has not looked at a proposal to put off the implementation of
the 300-baht minimum wage policy in 70 other provinces from 2013 to
The postponement proposal was made by representatives of the private
Mr. Somkiat said that the Central Wage Committee felt that such a
decision on the matter could be premature for the time-being, as the new
wage policy has only been implemented in 7 pilot provinces for one
He stated that constant changes may confuse business operators while
noting that the evaluation of the new policy implementation is scheduled
after 3 months since the raise has been in effect.
However, the Labor Ministry’s Permanent Secretary conceded that, in case
of global economic recession, the 300-baht minimum wage policy in other
provinces may have to be deferred.
NBTC satisfied with its performance during past 6 months
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – The country’s telecom regulator has
expressed satisfaction over what it has achieved during the first 6
months of its operation.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)
Chairman, Air Chief Marshal Thares Punsri, revealed on Wednesday that
the agency has achieved what it has hoped for since it began operations
on October 7th, 2011.
During the first 6 months from its inception, ACM Thares said the NBTC
has completed the master plan that involves frequency management,
telecom business, and broadcasting and television business, all of which
will be used in guiding Thailand’s broadcasting and telecommunications
He added that the NBTC has also been working on the bidding for the 3G
network development, which is hoped to take place by September, the
upgrade of Thai television to the digital system, the regulation of the
cable TV business and the community radio business, and all issues
related to the consumer protection in telecom and broadcasting business.
Towards the end of 2012, the NBTC is planning to make the 3G technology
bidding happen in order to accommodate high-speed internet service with
the maximum speed of 100 megabits and to launch the digital TV service,
with the trial run scheduled later this year and the completion expected
Top economic guru forecasts Thai GDP in 2012 at 6.0-6.5%
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) – A top economic guru has forecasted that Thai
economy will end up expanding healthily this year, as a result of the
recovery in the flood-hit industry.
Mr. Virabongsa Ramangkura, Chairman of the Strategic Committee for
Reconstruction and Future Development, said that Thai economy has shown
evident signs of continued recovery in the second quarter, a trend he
believes will go on until the end of this year.
He stated that local economic recovery has started since the first
quarter of 2012 after the manufacturing sector resumed operations that
were hit hard by the worst flood crisis in decades.
Mr. Virabongsa added that such a trend, backed by the government's
higher-than-expected revenue collection, led him to predict that
Thailand’s GDP will stand between 6 and 6.5 percent this year.
Other factors, which Mr. Virabongsa has considered in supporting his
forecast, include the special 120-billion-baht post-flood rehabilitation
budget and the allocation of 350 billion baht for the country's flood
prevention systems that will soon be circulating in the local economy.
He went on to say that reports from the Board of Investment (BOI) showed
that there has recently been a significant rise in the investment
However, he cautioned that the economic expansion during the second half
of this year may be hindered by a shortage of labor, after Myanmar has
opened its gate to the international community and Myanmar workers in
Thailand will likely return home soon.
BoT reports lukewarm response on state-initiated low-interest loans for flood victims
BANGKOK, 3 May 2012 (NNT) - The Thai central bank has reported lukewarm
public response to the government-sponsored low-interest loans, which is
blamed on technical hiccups.
Bank of Thailand (BoT)'s Deputy Governor Krirk Vanikkul said that the
central bank is now in the middle of discussions with various financial
institutions about the obstacles that have turned the public away from
the special loan project for flood victims.
The loan project was a brainchild of the government, which has allocated
300 billion baht to help those hit hard by last year's severe flooding.
According to the BoT, only 3 billion baht worth of loans have been
approved, to date.
Mr. Krirk said that the project's underachievement has largely been
attributed by the problems in IT works.
However, he is confident that more flood victims will apply for the
special loans from this month on.
The BoT's Deputy Governor also stated that, even though the government
has made the post-flood loan project one of its important policies, all
risk and credit analyses have been thoroughly reviewed and checked
before loans can be granted. This is to avoid the problem of bad debts
in the future, said Mr. Krirk.
Thai Cabinet extends free train, bus services
BANGKOK, May 1 -- The Cabinet on Tuesday extended free third-class train
and non-air conditioned bus services to the low-income Thai public for
another five months to help reduce their cost of living, and Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra convened a meeting with economic ministers
and other relevant agencies to deal with the rising cost of living and
Deputy Transport Minister Chatt Kuldiloke said that free rides on
third-class trains and regular (non air-con) buses will last through
Sept 30. The free transport measures ended April 30.
To continue helping low-income earners, the free ride will cost the
government some Bt1.66 billion as compensation for Bangkok Mass Transit
Authority (BMTA) and State Railway of Thailand (SRT).
The measures began in 2008 during the administration of the late former
prime minister Samak Sundaravej to assist low-income earners.
Under the free transport measures, the BMTA will provide 800 buses per
day for free rides while the SRT will run 164 rail trips daily.
Meanwhile, Ms Yingluck convened a meeting with economic ministers and
other relevant agencies in the afternoon to review the economic
situation and handle the rising cost of living, which has been affected
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister
Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, PM's Office
Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan, National Economic and Social
Development Board (NESDB) Secretary-General Arkom Termpitayapaisit and
Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul.
The premier assigned Mr Kittiratt and Mr Boonsong to seek solutions to
deal with rising prices of household and other consumer products.
She also called for related agencies to reduce inflation attributed to
increasing energy prices as an urgent issue and mapping out measures to
resolve problems and assist consumers.
Regarding Thailand’s inflation, Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong
Puangrach on Tuesday announced that Thai inflation rose in April by 2.47
per cent year-on-year, the lowest level in 29 months. He projected that
overall 2012 inflation would grow within a range of 3.9 per cent. (MCOT
April consumer confidence at highest in seven months
BANGKOK, May 2 - Thailand's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) last month
reached its highest point since last year's flood crisis, while the cost
of living hit a 21 month peak, according to the Centre for Economic and
Business Forecast of the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
Director Thanawat Polvichai said the CCI stood at 77.6 in April, up from
76.6 in March as a result of the economic recovery after the mega flood.
Thai consumers hope the country's economy and income will improve in the
future due to the government's economic stimulus measures, the Bt300
minimum wage rise, and public spending during the recent Songkran
However, Dr Thanawat said the CCI was still below 100, which
demonstrated that consumers were still uncertain regarding the country’s
overall status, particularly economic recovery after the floods and the
possibility of renewed flooding this year.
Other reasons included their concern regarding the higher cost of
living, likely in conjunction with possible higher energy prices and
political uncertainty amid global economic volatility due to the current
Eurozone debt crisis.
Dr Thanawat noted that the Consumer Confidence Index when considered
with future income moved up to a higher position from 95.9 to 97.1.
Nonetheless, worries continue on several issues such as future
employment due to uncertain economic situations, the minimum wage rise
which might drive some employers to lay off workers, and the high cost
The centre forecast that public consumption will slow down until the
second quarter of this year.
Dr Thanawat advised the government to speed up its measures to revive
the economy and to assure maintaining energy prices and the cost of
living maintain at an appropriate level. (MCOT online news)
Consumer confidence keeps on rising after floods
BANGKOK, 2 May 2012 (NNT) – Consumer confidence has increased for the
fifth consecutive month in April since the flooding last year while the
cost of living index in the same month has made a 21-month record high.
Director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting of the
University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thanawat Polwichai, said the
April consumer confidence index stood at 77.6, higher than the March
index of 76.6, due to economic recovery after the floods. In addition,
the higher confidence was a result of consumers’ hope that the economy
and their future income would improve following the government’s
stimulus measures, the 300-baht minimum wage hike and public spending
during the Songkran long holidays.
Still, the consumers showed concern over the high cost of living
following the spiraling of oil and product prices. They were also
worried by political instability and global economic volatility.
Mr. Thanawat predicted that the Thai economy would see significant
expansion in the second quarter this year and urged the government to
expedite rehabilitation and economic stimulus packages in a concrete
manner. He suggested that the government make sure that energy prices
and the cost of living were appropriate and in line with people’s
current income so that this year’s growth could reach 5.5-6.5%.
Thai central bank keeps policy rate unchanged at 3 per cent
BANGKOK, May 2 – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) maintains its policy
interest rate at 3.00 per cent to support a smooth economic recovery and
to keep inflation within target.
The BoT’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to maintain
the policy rate when it met Wednesday.
Committee secretary Paiboon Kittisrikangwan said the current policy rate
was deemed appropriate to continue supporting the smooth recovery of
economic activity to normal levels.
The MPC will closely monitor inflation although inflation in April was
slower partly due to the high base of the previous year and the falling
back of some fresh food prices to their previous levels.
However, upward inflationary pressure is projected in the period ahead.
In the context of a strong rise in domestic demand, higher oil prices
and minimum wage in tandem were expected to result in a greater
pass-through of higher costs to prices of goods and services, the BoT
said in its statement.
The MPC is ready to adjust its policies in response to the current need,
Mr Paiboon said.
The committee believed that the recent easing of monetary policy has
helped shore up private sector confidence and contributed to a
broad-based recovery which has been faster than expected. However,
external factors continue to be a major risk to growth while inflation
The real interest rate at the end of April remained at -0.3 per cent,
the lowest in the region, with no sign of any stability problems.
Reviewing the country’s economic performance, the committee resolved
that key economic figures showed signs of improvement. Capital flow is
in balance, due to a stable currency exchange rate.
The BoT will review Thai economic growth forecast on May 11. (MCOT
Thailand-New Zealand set to promote trade and educational cooperation
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012 (NNT) – Thailand is determined to promote mutual
cooperation with New Zealand in the areas of trade and education.
Upon the conclusion of his diplomatic term in the kingdom, the
Ambassador of New Zealand to Thailand, H.E. Bede Gilbert Corry, has paid
a visit to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The PM has expressed
contentment on the cordial Thai-New Zealand relationship, which has long
been one of a peaceful friendship. On behalf of the Thai government, Ms.
Yingluck has also extended gratitude to the New Zealand government for
having supported Thai people in their process of learning the English
language, especially the scholarships granted to Thai teachers to
further their studies in English language teaching.
Additionally, Thailand and New Zealand are also bound by a cooperation
in trade, of which the value has constantly been enhanced following the
signing of Thailand-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement in
Ms. Yingluck has reiterated that the Thai government will continue to
foster mutual cooperation in trade, education and science and technology
with New Zealand.
DPU Poll: 1/3 of employers may lay off workers due to minimum wage hike
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012 (NNT) – Durakij Pundit University's Research Center
(DPU Poll) has revealed that the government's minimum wage increase in 7
pilot provinces could prompt around 1/3 of employers to dismiss workers
in the next 12-18 months.
DPU Poll Director Kiat-anan Luankaew said that a recent survey on the
effects of the implementation of the wage hike in the 7 pilot provinces
revealed that production cost has shot up by 16.2%. The study also found
that in the next 8 months, 39% of the existing 900,000 SME entrepreneurs
in these provinces might stop hiring minimum wage workers, aged less
than 20 years old. Meanwhile, over 76.6% of the employers have chosen to
adapt to the wage hike by enhancing workers’ skills to match with the
higher pay, 61.3% are attempting to reduce other initial costs, and 45%
are planning to replace manual labor with machinery and equipment during
the next 12-18 months.
Once fully implemented, the 300-baht minimum wage policy will raise
Thailand’s minimum wage rate to be on par with that of the Philippines
while setting it higher than other ASEAN countries. Thailand’s rate will
be 14% higher than that of Malaysia, 92% higher than Indonesia, 220%
higher than Laos, 284% higher than Vietnam and 380% higher than
Cambodia. The wage hike will impact the competitiveness of Thai
entrepreneurs in the long run, especially those whose businesses rely
mainly on the labor workforce.
Meanwhile, the assistance provided by the government to SMEs has yet to
meet the demands of entrepreneurs. Despite its loan issuance for the
acquisition of new machinery, the government has not adopted any measure
to buy back old machinery at an appropriate price, which has caused the
production cost of new machinery to soar. Additionally, only one out of
three SMEs are benefiting from the existing assistance measures. The
government, thus, needs to monitor production cost, promote production
efficiency and improve SME operation process, as well as find new
markets and develop workers' skills to correspond to the changing
BoT reveals continuous economic recovery in March 2012
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012 (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has announced
that the country's economy in March 2012 saw a continuous recovery while
a positive trend has been predicted for the tourism sector this year.
During a press conference on the economic and financial situation for
March and the first yearly quarter of 2012, BoT Director for Domestic
Economy Methee Supapong pointed out a continuous improvement in the Thai
economy in March. He said that industrial production has recovered
significantly and is almost back to its pre-flood conditions, sending
industrial product export up from that of the previous month. Meanwhile,
consumption and private investment also expanded continuously. Mr.
Methee added that external debt has risen due to the acquisition of
loans for the adjustment of the country’s foreign currency position
while inflation rate has been stimulated by the soaring energy price.
The industrial sector is seeing a recovery in its production for the
fourth consecutive month, given most factories have resumed their
pre-flood production capacities, especially those who depend mainly on
domestic distribution. Additionally, some manufacturers have sped up
their production processes to compensate for the shortfalls incurred by
those who have not yet recovered. For instance, production in the
automotive industry has risen from 62.5% in February to 68.1%. However,
the industrial production index has shrunk 3.2% from that of last year,
given the limited production capacity in some businesses.
Mr. Methee said that the overall export situation is down by 6.8%.
However, the constant recovery in the industrial sector has led to an
improvement in industrial goods export, especially in the electronics
and automobile groups. On the other hand, agro-products export has
shrunk due to the high rubber price and the lower export quantity of
Regarding the tourism industry, Thailand has welcomed 1.9 million
tourists, a 12.2% increase from last year's figure, especially tourists
from China, Japan and Laos. The increased number of tourists has raised
hotel occupancy rates up from the previous month and is also a
reflection of tourists' confidence in the country despite the February
blasts in Bangkok.
Commerce Ministry: Business closure in Q1/2012 nearly doubled from 2011
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012 (NNT) – According to the Commerce
Ministry, the number of businesses closed down in the first quarter this
year is nearly twice as many of that of the same period in 2011 due to
the rise in minimum wage. The government is trying to do all it could to
assist the SMEs.
The Commerce Ministry has reported that almost 2,800 companies closed
down in the first quarter of 2012, a 96% increase from the first quarter
of 2011's figure. Meanwhile, the number of new business registration in
the first quarter of this year is 5% fewer than last year’s.
The ministry is trying to come up with assistance measures to soften the
impact of the rising production cost stemming from the 300-baht minimum
wage policy. Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kachornprasart has
assigned the Department of Business Development to study the assistance
plans for SMEs, focusing on franchise, restaurant, spa and service
Under the plan, the department will encourage SMEs to utilize more
e-commerce and increase import-export effectiveness. Mr Siriwat said the
entrepreneurs were dealt a heavy blow by the rising minimum wage, but
they will be able to adapt to it soon.
Statistical Office to collect business census
BANGKOK, 1 May 2012 (NNT) – The National Statistical
Office (NSO) has announced that it will dispatch representatives to
collect data on business and industry census for the 2012 year.
From May 1st- August the NSO will be asking for census from companies
and industries across the country. The representatives have been
contacting entrepreneurs asking them to cooperate by providing
information through interviews or internet surveys.
The NSO previously collected basic data in 2011 on a number of companies
in Thailand. According to the report, there were 2.2 million companies
and around 10 million workers.
The survey this time will collect data on companies’ incomes, expenses,
wages, and performances to be used as supporting data in the
government’s economic development plans. The private sector could also
use the data for business research and analysis.
The NSO is asking for cooperation from all businesses to give accurate
information to the officials. The detailed information of each business
will not be disclosed; only statistical report of overall Thai
businesses will be available to the public.