Cabinet agrees to not control prices of cooked meals
BANGKOK, May 14 - The Cabinet on Monday agreed to not
control prices of cooked meals, for it would be difficult and consumers
can choose where to buy their food depending on personal taste,
quantity, and quality, Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittirat
Price controls on some cooked items were previously proposed for Cabinet
consideration by the Ministry of Commerce.
The Cabinet assigned the Commerce Ministry to
cooperate with related agencies to closely monitor the prices of cooked
meals in order to prevent merchants to mark up their prices and to
reflect the real production cost. Mr Kittirat said it should be
acceptable if goods prices are adjusted for a short period in accordance
with seasonal changes.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon said the latest National
Energy Policy Committee meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime
Minister/Finance Minister Kittirat, postponed for another three months a
monetary contribution toward benzene 91, 95 and LPG to the state oil
fund in order to cut costs for the public.
Mr Arak said oil prices in the world market have continued to fall, so
entrepreneurs cannot claim expensive energy prices in order to increase
their product prices.
Deputy Permanent-Secretary Kurujit Nakornthap said the committee
postponed the planned increase of LPG and NGV prices for the transport
sector for another three months. (MCOT online news)
Treasury Department inks agreement to sell/buy coins from UK's Royal Mint
BANGKOK, May 14 - Thailand's Treasury Department on
Monday signed a selling/buying agreement with the United Kingdom's Royal
Mint for 500 million nickel plated steel coins of Bt1 each in value.
The signing ceremony was chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Viroon
Techapaiboon, and attended by other high-ranking officials from Thailand
and the UK, including Secretary of State for Wales the Right Honourable
Cheryl Gillan MP, and British ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad.
The Royal Mint won the bid at US$8.58 million, or Bt266.68 million.
The agreement reflected the close ties of the two nations, along with
other relations on trade and investment, Mr Viroon said.
He noted the Royal Mint will provide assistance to Thailand on minting
as well as exchange knowledge, technology, and training.
Thailand's Treasury Deparment in past years bought other types of coins
from the UK's Royal Mint to circulate in the Thai economy. (MCOT online
Surapong says Bahrain interested in investments in Thailand
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT)-Foreign Minister Mr.
Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Bahrain is interested in investing in
Thailand particularly in spa and health tourism businesses.
The Foreign Minister said after paying a courtesy visit to His Majesty
King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa that HM was rapturous that Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has visited Bahrain, saying that the two
nations have been close since Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra was the Thai Prime
The Bahrain Prime Minister will be accommodating Ms. Yingluck and
showing her places by himself during her visit. According to Mr.
Surapong, HM said he placed Thailand at the top of trade and investment
nations for Bahrain.
With this, HM stressed that he has confidence in the Thai government and
that Bahrain investors have shown interests in investments in Thailand
especially in health and spa tourism.
Mr. Surapong said, besides discussions on trades, representatives from
both nations have also discussed financial options for Bahrain
investors, which, he said, would encourage business expansion in
7-month government revenue higher than expected
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) - Government revenue in
the first seven months of the fiscal year 2012 has exceeded its target
by 375 billion baht due to economic recovery and the fast rebounding
Director of the Fiscal Policy Office Somchai Sujjapongse said the
government’s April 2012 revenue was 139.5 billion baht, higher than
forecast by 5.6 billion baht or 4.2%. The increasing revenue in April
caused the government’s seven-month revenue, from October 2011–April
2012, to rise above target by 375 billion baht or 4.1%. Most of the
extra revenue was from important taxes, such as value-added tax, import
duty and corporate and personal income taxes, as well as state
enterprises’ earnings paid to the government at a higher amount.
However, Mr. Somchai said the revenue from car and petrol taxes was
below the forecast as a result of the flood crisis last year and the
government’s extension of the diesel tax cut policy.
Growth in domestic consumption and the import sector, the government’s
economic policy and the recovering automotive sector had positively
affected the government revenue, the director said.
The Ministry of Finance has expressed confidence that the government
revenue for the whole year will be near the target of 1.98 trillion baht
despite the continued diesel tax decrease.
Cabinet approves addendum to ASEAN-EU financing agreement
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) – The Cabinet has agreed
to issue an addendum to the financing agreement between ASEAN and the
European Union (EU) on migration and border management.
The Cabinet meeting today, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior
Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, gave the green light to the issuance of the
Addendum to the Financing Agreement under the Migration and Border
Management Program between ASEAN and the EU. The Cabinet also granted
clearance to the ASEAN Secretary-General to sign this addendum, as put
forward by the Royal Thai Police.
The addendum is set to provide additional terms for the agreement which
include defining roles for both parties and specifying the terms of
mutual financial assistance. The agreement is aimed at supporting the
development of an integrated border management system in order to
facilitate the legal movements of goods and persons as well as to combat
transnational crimes, such as human-trafficking and illegal immigration.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will now seek further approval for the
addendum to the bilateral agreement from the ASEAN Secretariat. The main
addition to the original contract lies in Article 4-Period of Execution,
where the Cabinet is proposing an extension to the current length of
Taxi fare to remain unchanged for 3 more months
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) - The Department of Land
Transport (DLT) has announced that the taxi fare will not yet be raised
at this time as the government has agreed to delay the increase of NGV
and LPG prices for three months.
Deputy Director General of the DLT Jirut Wisarnjit revealed after a
meeting of the National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC), chaired by
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, that the
prices of NGV and LPG will not be adjusted until the next 3 months. The
postponement of the price increase is in accordance with a previous
proposal by the Energy Policy Administration Committee (EPAC).
As a result, there will be no need for taxi operators to raise their
fares for the time being, and the current starting rate will be kept at
Mr. Jirut added, however, that while the gas prices are being
maintained, a study will be conducted by the Energy Research Institute,
Chulalongkorn University, to gauge the impact the measure would have on
transport operators. He further said that if the impact is significant,
price adjustments for both gases will be considered.
Meanwhile, truck companies have voiced their concerns over the
insufficient number of NGV stations in the northeastern part of the
country and called on the government and PTT Plc to open more service
stations in the area. PTT presently has a total of 467 NGV stations
across the country and is reportedly planning to raise the number to 500
within this year.
Thailand to discuss rice cooperation with ASEAN neighbours
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) – Thailand is scheduled to
discuss rice cooperation with Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of May in
hopes of boosting the global market price and prevent price war.
The Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) has revealed that in an attempt to
collaborate in rice trade with ASEAN member countries, Thailand will
hold a joint meeting with Vietnam and Indonesia later this month with
the objective of boosting the global market price and preventing the
problem of price-slashing among competitors, which may eventually lead
to a drop in the overall price and impact the farmers of all the three
countries. The meeting is expected to be successful as rice cooperation
has long been on the table for discussion.
Thailand will be assisting Cambodia to get a toehold in the global rice
market. Initially, Thailand plans to have rice mills process and package
Cambodian paddies for export. However, Cambodian rice must be kept under
close watch to prevent it from infiltrating the Thai rice market or the
rice pledging scheme.
NGV, LPG prices to be pegged until 15 August
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) – The National Energy
Policy Council (NEPC) has agreed to peg the NGV and LPG prices for
another three months or until August 15th and temporarily halt the
benzene and gasohol oil fund contribution collection.
After the meeting with the NEPC on Monday, Finance Minister Kittiratt
Na-Ranong revealed that the council had approved assistance measures to
help alleviate people’s hardship from the rising costs of living. He
said the National Energy Policy Committee would reconsider appropriate
retail energy prices and the amount to be contributed to the oil fund.
For the time being, the oil fund contribution for benzene 95 and 91 will
remain at 4 baht per liter, gasohol 95 at 2.20 baht, and gasohol 91 and
diesel at 0.60 baht per liter. The contribution will not be increased
for three more months.
The council also agreed to maintain the NGV price at 10.50 baht per
kilogram until August 15th, 2012, instead of raising it by 0.50 baht
every month as previously agreed. The Institute of Industrial Energy,
Chulalongkorn University will consider NGV’s real production cost to
come up with appropriate retail price after August 15th.
For LPG, the price will remain at 21.13 baht per kilogram until August
Commerce Ministry to propose Cabinet add cooked meals into price control list
BANGKOK, May 13 – The Commerce Ministry will propose
the Cabinet add cooked meals into the price control list on May 14, said
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom on Sunday.
The committee on prices of goods and service will
propose the Cabinet on May 14 add cooked meals in the price control
list, Mr Boonsong said.
After cabinet approval, menus, prices, and selling locations will be
specified in 7-10 days.
The minister said prices of some food ingredients have dropped and
operators should reduce prices in accordance with real capital costs.
The measure to control cooked meals is likely to be implemented for
about two months and it will be considered again whether or not it
should be continued to be put into place.
The Commerce minister on Sunday inspected the Si Mum Muang Central
Market, a large wholesale vegetable market in Pathum Thani province
adjacent to Bangkok, with about 3,000-4,000 tonnes of fresh vegetables
bought and sold per day.
The minister was briefed by market officials on vegetable prices, that
prices of some vegetables such as Chinese kale and cabbage are higher
because of damage and lower harvests because of the extremely recent hot
However, the price of medium-sized limes has dropped from six baht to
three baht, while the price of string beans remain high at 60-70 baht
Mr Boonsong said vegetable prices are likely to drop in the next two
week as produce grown in May comes to market.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to tackle higher good prices, the Commerce
Ministry plans to open 1,000 local retail shops under its “Took Jai
(favorite) shop” campaign across the country by the end of this month in
order to supply goods at fair prices to consumers. (MCOT online news)
Thai PM visits Bahrain, Qatar to boost cooperation
BANGKOK, May 13 -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra would officially visit Bahrain and Qatar between May 13-16 to
foster relations and seek cooperation and particularly investments from
the Middle Eastern countries.
Ms Yingluck and her entourages would leave Thailand
at 12.50 pm on Sunday for Manama and visit Bahrain during May 13-25. She
then would fly to Doha to visit Qatar during May 15-16.
The primary purposes of the visit is to strengthen ties at all level and
promote good cooperation in all dimensions.
During her visit to Bahrain, Ms Yingluck was scheduled to pay a courtesy
call to HM King Hamad bin Isa Al and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al
The Thai premier would later bring a delegation of officials and
business representatives to pay a courtesy visit to Bahrain Prime
Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa and attend a plenary
session between Thailand and Bahrain.
The bilateral discussion would cover bilateral and multilateral issues
where Thailand and Bahrain have mutual benefits. Thailand would thank
Bahrain for its support with Thailand's handling of problems in the
three southernmost provinces at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Thailand would push for increased private sector roles in construction
projects in Bahrain and cooperation in healthcare services.
On this occasion, Thai and Bahrain would sign Memorandums of
Understanding (MoU) on tourism cooperation between the two governments.
Ms Yingluck would also give an opening address at the Thai-Bahraini
business meeting and would meet with the Thai community in Bahrain.
This was the first visit to the Middle Eastern region for the premier
and would mark the 35th anniversary of Thai-Bahraini diplomatic ties.
At Doha, Ms Yingluck would pay a courtesy call on Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa Al-Thani, the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar, at Amiri Diwan
Palace before holding bilateral discussions with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim
Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar.
Medical cooperation will be on the agenda for discussion between the
Thai premier and Qatari leaders, as Thailand's health care services is
considered well-developed and of high standards, particularly for
Ms Yingluck was scheduled to return to Thailand on May 17. (MCOT online
First-car tax rebate program to see possible extension
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) – The government is set to
extend the tax privilege period for first-time car buyers, given only
20,000 applicants out of the targeted 500,000 have, so far, signed up
for the program.
Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lekuthai has disclosed that the
government is considering whether to extend the 100,000-baht tax rebate
scheme for first-time car buyers, stating that the decision will be
reached within 2 months. The project's initial target has been set at
500,000 applicants; however, only 20,000 have requested the tax rebate
so far. Thus, the government is looking to stretch out the program's
period to allow the public to fully enjoy the benefits of the offer.
In case of an extension, the program's deadline will be postponed to
March or April 2013. However, if the government chooses to maintain the
date initially set at the beginning of the program, which is the end of
2012, those who place an order for a car within this year will be
eligible for rebates. Previous conditions, however, stipulated that the
program's applicants will receive a refund once they have finalized the
purchase and obtained a car registration within 2012.
PM’s Office Minister: School uniform prices rise only slightly
BANGKOK, 14 May 2012 (NNT) – Prime Minister’s Office
Minister Nalinee Taveesin has said that the school uniform prices have
been adjusted only slightly from last year's, citing that the prices
outside of Bangkok were expensive because of the rising transportation
Ms Nalinee visited one of the largest garment markets in Thailand,
Bobae, to inspect the prices of school uniforms ahead of the beginning
of the school session. She said the uniform shirts are priced at 60-75
baht depending on the quality, adding that the prices have only
increased by around four baht from that of last year.
As for the prices in upcountry, which are higher than Bangkok's, the
minister explained that sellers have to transport the products from
Bangkok to sell in other provinces; given they have to pay for the
transportation costs, the uniform prices have to be increased by 10-20
baht each, which is considered low.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has also agreed that
the uniform costs have not risen as much as feared, indicating that the
300-baht minimum wage policy does not create much impact on school
uniform production costs.
Prices of consumer goods to be fixed for another 4 months
BANGKOK, 13 May 2012 (NNT) – Major consumer goods
distributors will be requested to peg prices of their products for 4
According to Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade (DIT)
Vatcharee Vimuktayon, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom will on
Tuesday summon more than 200 consumer product manufacturers and
distributors to acknowledge the government’s policy of pegging prices of
necessary goods for 4 consecutive months.
The DIT director-general is of an opinion that the government will
receive full cooperation as it is providing relief measures to maintain
production costs for private manufacturers regarding fuel prices and the
300 baht minimum wage. According to Mrs. Vatcharee, Saha Pathanapibul
PLC, Thailand’s leading consumer goods distributor, has also assured
that prices of its products can be stabilized until Q2-Q3.
Some modern trade stores have increased product entrance fees, rebate
percentage, and advertising rate paid by their partner suppliers which
will eventually impact prices of ready-to-eat products. In response,
Mrs. Vatcharee said appropriate solutions to the mater will be sought in
the meeting of the subcommittee overseeing ready-to-eat foods, chaired
by Commerce Permanent Secretary Yanyong Puangraj.
UNESCAP: Populism pushes domestic food prices up by 5%
BANGKOK, 13 May 2012 (NNT) – A United Nations agency
has estimated that food prices in Thailand will skyrocket by 5% this
year as a result of the country's populist policy and natural disaster.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific (UNESCAP) has indicated that the rising food prices, which
Thailand and other Asia-Pacific countries are currently facing, have
impacted the weaker groups of the regional population and may eventually
bring about a severe social problem in the long run.
The soaring food prices, which have been a recurring problem since the
second half of 2010, have caused over 19.4 million people in the Asia
Pacific region to face famine.
The UNESCAP has cited a preliminary estimate as showing that Thailand
will face a 5% increase in its domestic food price in 2012. This is due
to the government’s populist policy aimed at increasing the people’s
income combined with the uncontrollable natural disaster.
In order to handle the increasing food prices in the long run, the
UNESCAP has suggested that Thailand increase its agricultural production
by promoting technology development while also reforming its
agricultural environment with a variety of modern knowledge.
Additionally, the UNESCAP has also advised that farmers be provided
financial assistance in the acquisition of fertilizers and seeds.
THAI reports THB3 bil profit in Q1
BANGKOK, 13 May 2012 (NNT) – Thai Airways
International Public Co., Ltd. has reported an increase in its first
quarterly profit, which stands at 3.64 billion baht, while adjusting its
strategies to deal with the rising fuel price and fierce competition.
Thai Airways President Piyasvasti Amranand has disclosed that the
national carrier has made a net profit of 3.64 billion baht during the
first quarter of 2012, thanks to the increased foreigner influx into the
country following the end of the flood crisis.
Even though the rising fuel price and the fierce market competition at
present are still impacting the company’s overall performance, Thai
Airways has responded by improving its services, adjusting ticket sales
strategies, as well as modifying flight schedules, routes and
frequencies, in order to correspond to the passengers’ needs.
During the first three months of 2012, Thai Airways saw a total
passenger count of 5.16 million, a Revenue passenger kilometer (RPK) of
15.6 billion/km, and 78.2% in cabin factor.
China keen to cooperate in high speed rail projects
BANGKOK, 13 May 2012 (NNT) – China has expressed
enthusiasm to cooperate with Thailand in the construction of the
Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Bangkok-Nong Khai high speed rail projects.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport expects construction process to
commence in 2013.
Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said that Mr. Wang
Shengwen, the Director-General of the Department of Outward Investment
and Economic Cooperation under the Commerce Ministry of China is
visiting Thailand and has expressed enthusiasm in Thailand’s projects to
construct 2 high speed rail routes, namely Bangkok-Chiang Mai and
According to Minister Chatchart, China has conducted initial studies on
the projects and suggested that the Bangkok-Chiang Mai railway should
concentrate on passenger transport using trains running at a speed of
250-300km per hour. China has also suggested that 87% of the route
should be constructed on elevated grounds to avoid the problem of
Meanwhile, the Bangkok-Nong Khai route should aim for both passenger and
cargo services, with trains running at a speed of no less than 160
km/hour. This route is highly attractive to China as it will create rail
links among Thailand, Laos, and China.
However, Mr. Chatchart said Thailand has not yet decided who will be
granted the construction contract as it has also received proposals from
Japan and Korea. Once the decision is reached, the Ministry of Transport
expects construction process to commence within 2013.
Textile-garment industry to relocate production base
Bangkok, 13 May 2012 (NNT) - In the wake of the
300-baht minimum wage policy, textile and garment entrepreneurs are
considering relocating their production bases elsewhere in order to
relieve its financial burdens.
The Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA) has predicted that
garment exports in the second half of 2012 will experience a limited
growth due to the US and European economic crisis. Furthermore, the
export value in the first quarter of this year at 749 million US dollars
represented a negative growth of 6.94% from the same period last year.
With its main trade partners like the US and the EU struck by an
economic crisis, the Thai garment industry must adjust its strategies
and turn its export focus to the Asian market, including China, Japan
and ASEAN. If the export target in Q2, which is normally the peak season
for garment export fails to be achieved, it can be assumed that the
industry will be seeing a whole-year negative growth.
The association stated that the new 300-baht minimum wage has proved to
be problematic for the textile and garment industry given the sector is
labour intensive. Additionally, entrepreneurs' lack of preparation and a
shortage of workers have prompted the industry to consider relocating
its production base to neighbouring countries, such as Myanmar, Cambodia
and Laos, due to their lower wage rate. SME businesses which cannot
afford to relocate might be forced to close down.
Meanwhile, the Thailand Textile Institute said that the overall growth
in the textile and garment industry since the start of 2012 has been on
a declining trend as a result of its trade partners' economic situation.
However, positive signs have begun to show in the Asian market. The
institute pointed out that the minimum wage hike to 300 baht daily has
caused textile production cost to rise by 4% while pushing garment
production cost up by 8%.
Thailand's economic growth projected at 5.5% this year: IMF
BANGKOK, May 11 -- The International Monetary Fund
(IMF) projects that Thailand's economic growth in 2012 will be 5.5 per
cent, but warned that significant downside risks still remain due to
uncertainties from the global economy and the progress of
flood-prevention measures, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT).
The BoT said in a statement issued yesterday that the
IMF Executive Board on April 27 concluded an Article IV Consultation
with Thailand and commented that that the Thai authorities’ policy
response to last year’s floods has propelled the strong recovery.
The IMF said that Thailand’s economic growth is projected at 5.5 and 7.5
per cent in 2012 and 2013, respectively. While the short-term outlook is
favourable, significant downside risks remain due to uncertainties
related to the global economy and the progress of flood-prevention
The current expansionary fiscal and monetary stances are appropriate,
BoT said. However, the authorities should reduce their supportive policy
roles as the recovery takes hold and move to a medium-term consolidation
The main challenge is to speed up reconstruction while maintaining
macroeconomic stability and promoting inclusive growth, the IMF said.
There is a scope for scaling back subsidies and tax credits, in order to
create the necessary fiscal space.
Income redistribution policies need to be closely monitored to contain
fiscal costs and improve efficiency.
Minimum wage increase should also be accompanied by measures boosting
labour productivity to preserve competitiveness.
Capital inflows are likely to remain volatile in the near term.
Nevertheless, there is room to increase exchange rate flexibility.
The executive board supported the authorities’ plans to gradually
further relax restrictions on capital outflow while ensuring adequate
The board welcomed progress made in developing financial markets and
called for swift action to mitigate risks from government-owned
specialised financial institutions, by refocusing them on their core
mandates, improving risk assessment standards and strengthening
Under Article IV of the IMF Articles of Agreement, it usually holds
bilateral discussions with members annually.
A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial
information, and discusses with officials the country's economic
developments and policies.
On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the
basis for discussion by the executive board.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the managing director, as board
chairman, summarises the views of the executive directors, and this
summary is transmitted to the national authorities. (MCOT online news)
Flood-affected SME operators affected by floods resume production: Industry Ministry
BANGKOK, May 10 - All of Thailand registered Small
and Medium-Size Enterprises (SMEs) forced to suspend production by last
year’s flood have resumed operation, according to Industry Minister
All 5,664 business operators, including about 3,000
SMEs in 34 provinces, registered to seek help from the government’s
post-flood rehabilitation project. About Bt148 million was set aside to
run the project from March to July.
The Department of Industrial Promotion was assigned to work with
educational institutions, advising companies, and financial institutions
to provide help to these flood-affected operators in the first phase
including inspection and machinery repairs.
The project now is proceeding to in-depth rehabilitation to look into
all business administration system from production to marketing
processes to be prepared for risk factors and more competition ahead of
the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
About 1,000 operators are subject to undergo these rehabilitation
procedures. So far, 40 per cent have been completed and the programme
will be finished by this July.
The industry Ministry planned to increase the number of advisors to
support more than two million SMEs and to set up centres in neighbouring
countries to conduct marketing studies there.
The ministry policy is to develop Thai industry at all levels,
particularly SMEs. In the short term, Thai SMEs are facing risks such as
higher production costs as labour, transportation, raw materials and
rising energy costs. Thai operators must be well prepared to handle any
obstacles to run their businesses strongly and solidly, the minister
said. (MCOT online news)
ICT ministry contracts to buy Chinese tablets for Thai students
BANGKOK, May 10 – Thailand’s Ministry of Information
and Communication Technology has contracted to purchase the first lot of
400,000 tablet computers to be delivered by a Chinese supplier in 60
ICT Minister Group.Capt Anudit Nakhontap on Thursday
signed a contract with the Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development, as
part of the Thai government's project to distribute one million basic
tablet computers to primary school students.
Each unit costs US$82 including its android operating system and the
cost of delivery to Suvarnabhumi Airport. The remainder of the orders
will be sent to Thailand within 90 days.
First grade students are expected to receive the computers by July.
The minister said the specifications in the contract are higher than
those the procurement committee had specified earlier. The new tablets
are specified to be equipped with a 1.2 GHz CPU, 1 GHZ ram, 3,600 mAh
battery and GPS.
Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Guan Mu said the tablet quality is high
and the price is reasonable.
Tablets produced for children are not as complicated as those for
adults. The Chinese company and the Thai agency will set up service
centres in Thailand and will have spare computers for use during
repairs. (MCOT online news)
Finance Minister to propose disaster warning alert on mobile phone
BANGKOK, 11 May 2012 (NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister
and Finance Minister, Kittiratt Na-Ranong said his ministry is set to
propose a disaster-warning alert and coordination system via SMS to the
consideration of the flood and water resource management committee and
the Ministry Of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Mr Kittiratt said on the sideline of his official visit to Japan from
May 9-13 that he was invited to Japan’s Meteorological Agency to be
briefed on the country’s disaster management system.
He said he believed an alert service offered by the NEC, which
broadcasts early warning messages on earthquakes to subscribers, will
benefit Thailand’s current warning system. The Finance ministry is
planning to forward the suggestion to the ICT ministry for further
Tomorrow, the Finance minister is scheduled to attend the annual Thai
Festival in Tokyo, where Thai ready-to-eat meals, fruits and OTOP
products will be on display. Over 300,000 local visitors are expected to
attend the festival.
BTS operator to procure more trains and offer discount to seniors
BANGKOK, 11 May 2012 (NNT) - Skytrain operator
Bangkok Transit System Co (BTSC) has revealed that it recorded 176
million passengers in the past year, an increase of 21% from the year
earlier. To accommodate the spike in passenger traffic, the BTSC is set
to procure additional train compartments.
BTSC chairman and chief executive officer Keeree Kanjanapas, said that
last year the skytrain saw 21 percent more passenger journeys than the
previous year, estimated at 480,000 trips per day.
He elaborated that the increase in the passenger number is due to the
opening of an extension line on the Sukhumvit route. The company has
forecasted a revenue growth of 20% this year and a passenger growth of
Mr Keeree said that thanks to a growing number of commuters, the company
is working on upgrading their service, by importing 35 additional train
compartments from Siemens of Germany, scheduled to be delivered by
August. Another batch of 20 more compartments from China is expected to
reach Thailand by next year, to serve on an extended line between Wong
Wien Yai and Bang Wa. Two stations on the extended line will be open
late this year.
Mr Keeree also confirmed that a BTS fare rise is not on the cards for
the moment despite the higher operation cost. He said besides that the
operator is proposing a discounted fare for senior passengers aged 60
and over to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). According to
the scheme, expected to begin next month, the elderly will receive a 50
percent discount from the normal fare.
Construction material prices in April rise 5% y-o-y
BANGKOK, 11 May 2012 (NNT) - The Real Estate
Information Center has indicated that the prices of construction
materials rose by 5% year-on-year in April.
According to the center, the average material prices in April increased
by 1% from March, and by 5% from April last year. Concrete costs rose
the most, to the tune of 19% year-on-year; sanitary ware, electrical
appliances, and metal saw only a 2% increase.
Wood material prices have increased by only 0.1% from the figure last
year and did not rise at all from March. On the other hand, costs of
tiles in April are lower than March's by 2%, although the prices have
increased by 4% year-on-year.
BoT: European elections, the cause of forex volatility
BANGKOK, 11 May 2012 (NNT) – The Thai central bank
chief has blamed political uncertainties in Europe for the volatility in
global currency values.
Bank of Thailand (BoT)’s Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said that
worries from elections in Europe have led to fluctuation in the world
He said that political uncertainties there have scared investors to
mobilize their funds to assets with lower risks, such as the US dollar.
However, Mr. Prasarn is optimistic that such volatility will be
short-lived and the market will soon be able to adjust itself.
The BoT chief added that the weakening baht is nothing out of the
ordinary as its movement remains in line with regional currencies and
the central bank needs not to intervene yet.
Still, he conceded that all factors are to be closely monitored for a
while, particularly the policies of the new French government under the
leadership of Mr. Francois Hollande and the formation of the new
government in Greece.
PDMO disagreed with latest Fitch Ratings report on Thailand
BANGKOK, 11 May 2012 (NNT) – The Public Debt
Management Office has expressed its disagreement with the latest credit
analysis report by a leading ratings agency.
The Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) Director General Chakkrit
Parapuntakul commented that Fitch Ratings’ latest affirmation of
Thailand’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings
at BBB and A-, with stable outlooks, has not accurately mirrored the
current status of the country.
In its latest report, the agency has also affirmed the short-term
foreign currency at F3 and the country ceiling at BBB+ for Thailand.
According to Fitch's Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings team, all ratings
and outlooks reflect Thailand’s strong external financial position and
signs of political stabilization following the peaceful election in
However, Fitch said that risks to the government’s fiscal transparency
and policy management remain, while buoyant credit growth means the
banking sector will need to be monitored.
In addition, the agency expects Thai economy to grow by 5.5 percent this
year, following a flat growth last year, due to the devastation from the
worst flood crisis in decades.
In any case, Mr. Chakkrit said that all the ratings from Fitch have been
lower than those offered by other ratings agencies.
Therefore, the PDMO is working on paths to improvement that will help
elevate Thailand’s credit ratings in the future.
UTCC: Consumers still wait for robust economic recovery
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) - The latest survey found
that most consumers remained wary about the local economic conditions.
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC)'s Center for
Economic and Business Forecasting Director Thanavath Pholvichai said on
Wednesday that a survey on public spending ahead of the start of a new
school term showed the amount Thai consumers have spent went up by more
than 50 billion baht, when compared with the average collected during
the same period of 2010-2011.
Mr. Thanavath stated that the increase, which is equivalent to a
7-percent rise, indicated that Thai economy is still to recover further.
This is in spite of 7 consecutive months of improvement in consumer
He said that higher confidence finding was attributed by the fact that
high-income earners have been increasingly aware about the pace of
economic recovery and low-income earners have been more careful in
The Center for Economic and Business Forecasting Director added that
Thai economy remains fragile due to political instability in Greece that
has put the world economy at risk.
Mr. Thanavath suggested that the government should inject more liquidity
into the system via several economic stimulus programs, such as the
flood prevention measures and the promotion of soft-loan policies by the
Bank of Thailand, in order to allow consumers more cash in their pockets
to spend on cheap and essential items.
Private sector to cooperate with state-initiated 4-mth price cap scheme
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) - The private sector has
pledged its cooperation in the government's goods price-cap scheme.
Mr. Payungsak Chartsuthipol, Chairman of the Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI), said on Wednesday that the meeting of the Joint
Private Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking, which comprises
representatives from the Board of Trade of Thailand, the FTI and the
Thai Bankers Association, has agreed to cooperate with the government in
the implementation of a scheme to cap goods prices for 4 months.
The meeting followed an official notification from the Commerce
Ministry, which asked the private sector to lend hands in the price-cap
program, aimed at helping consumers cope with the higher cost of living.
Mr. Payungsak noted that business operators, who cannot keep their cost
under control, will need to consult with the Committee before any price
can be adjusted up.
In any case, he assured that most operators have expressed their
readiness to join in the scheme.
Moreover, the FTI Chairman stated that small businesses, particularly
retailers and shops, are the worst-hit ones when costs continue to rise.
PM Yingluck expects goods prices to fall within few months
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) – The prime minister has forecast that local
goods prices will fall considerably within the next few months.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday that prices of
several items have been rising due to numerous factors.
However, the PM believes that the government’s campaign to offer cheap
products to consumers is viable option for the public to choose and an
opportunity for producers to seek ways to keep their costs and,
eventually, prices down.
The prime minister also expects that certain goods, particularly farm
products, will see their prices adjusted down by market mechanism,
during the rainy and cooler season, which is due to arrive in a few
When asked about public resentment towards the Commerce Minister’s
handling of higher goods prices, PM Yingluck said that the root cause of
the problem should be more about the work system and the measures
implemented than any individuals.
She affirmed that not everything is more expensive as prices of some
goods have come down or will likely fall soon.
The premier went on to say that the press and the media should help
inform the public of where they will be able to find cheap products
while the government is trying to lend them any possible help, including
a slowdown in the bus fare rise.
Low-priced product grand sale to be held in Bangkok on May 12-14
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration (BMA) has announced that it will organize a low-priced
product grand sale at Thonburi Market Sanamluang 2.
To help alleviate people’s hardship from the rising living costs, the
BMA will hold the cheap product grand sale from May 12-14 at the
Thonburi Market Sanamluang 2 in Taweewattana District.
Deputy Bangkok Governor Thaya Theepsuwan said the BMA is concerned with
people’s expenses at the moment, adding that many parents have to buy
school uniforms and learning aid for their children before the school
Ms Thaya said the event, held for the third time, will offer consumer
goods such as clothes, school uniforms, stationery, and food at
reasonable prices. School uniforms in particular will be sold at 70-80%
discount, starting from 49 baht.
BMA eyes 50% discount BTS tickets for senior citizens
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
(BMA) is currently in the process of negotiating for a 50% discount in
BTS Skytrain fares for senior citizens, hoping to implement the new rate
by the end of the year.
Deputy Bangkok Governor Teerachon Manomaipiboon said that the BMA is
looking to cut BTS fares by half for passengers over 60 years of age.
The BMA has already proposed this plan to the operator of the BTS
skytrain, Bangkok Mass Transit System Company (BTSC), who is expected to
give the BMA an answer next week.
With approval from the BTSC, the new rate is expected to be applied to
senior passengers before the end of 2012. In order to be eligible for
the 50% discount, the passenger must present his/her identification card
as proof at the ticket office.
Apart from senior citizens, the BMA and the BTSC have also been
discussing fare reductions for certain groups of people, including
children and community groups, as well.
Internal Trade Dept: Pork, egg prices increase due to rising demand
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) – Pork and egg prices at the farm have
reportedly increased, while the Internal Trade Department said the price
rise is normal as demand rises.
Internal Trade Department Director-General Vachari Vimooktayon said pork
prices at the farms have risen from 50 baht to 64-65 baht per kilogram,
while egg prices have increased from 2.20 to 2.40 baht per egg. She
commented that the increase is considered normal; saying it will allow
farmers to make a little profit.
She explained that retail prices in the market did not increase much,
adding that normally the prices would rise at the beginning of school
sessions due to the rise in demand.
Ms Vachari said the department has to take care of both the consumers
and farmers; it cannot force product prices down if farmers suffer
In addition, she stated that animal entrails prices have dropped
significantly, as there have been more imports from Europe, China,
Malaysia, and Vietnam. The department will discuss with related agencies
how to reduce the import of entrails.
FTI urges govt to allow product prices to adjust in accordance with market mechanism
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) – The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)
Vice Chairman Tanit Sorat has asked the government not to peg product
prices, reasoning the move could create supply shortages.
Mr Tanit said that instead of ordering entrepreneurs to lower their
prices, the government should examine the difference of product prices
between factories and retail markets to find out why the price gap is so
He also asked to government to help stop increasing production costs,
brought on particularly by energy prices and electricity bills which
have a considerable bearing on the costs. In the meantime, he suggested
the government take into consideration the economic mechanism,
explaining that naturally the inflation is around 3% per year and
product prices are adjusted in accordance with that rate. He said
pegging the product prices constantly is not a good move as
entrepreneurs will suffer losses and they will produce fewer products,
which, consequently, will create supply shortages.
ICT signs MOU with China, acquiring 400,000 tablets
BANGKOK, 10 May 2012 (NNT) – The Thai government has
signed an MOU with a Chinese tablet manufacturer who agrees to provide
Thailand with 400,000 tablet PCs worth altogether 32 million US dollars.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap
witnessed the signing of the agreement between his ministry and the
Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Co., Ltd. on Thursday. The Chinese
company will have to deliver the tablets within 60 days after the
The tablets will be distributed as learning enhancement tools to
first-grade students in Thai schools. Repeat purchase orders will be
made later for up to 1 million additional tablets.
The specifications of the tablets include a 1.2 GHz single core CPU, 1
GB RAM, Lithium Polymer battery; they also come with a two-year