Thailand’s jobless rate in Q1 falls to 0.73%
BANGKOK, May 28--- Thailand’s unemployment rate in
the first quarter of this year dropped to 0.73 per cent from 0.83 per
cent year-on-year thanks to the post-flood recovery, a
government-related think tank reported.
The jobless in the 2012 first quarter rate stood at
0.73 per cent, equivalent to 285,000 unemployed persons countryside,
Secretary-General Arkhom Termpittayapaisithm of the National Economic
and Social Development Board (NESDB) announced on Monday, adding that
the unemployment was considered at the low rate.
Meanwhile, the employment rate rose 1.2 per cent, compared to the
corresponding period in the previous year, because plants hit by last
year’s mega flood have resumed operations since February.
Employment in the agricultural sector increased 2.5 per cent as last
year’s inundation forced farmers to postpone their off-season rice paddy
planting to the first quarter, Mr Arkhom said.
The NESDB secretary-general added that employment in the
non-agricultural sector, particularly in the industrial sector, was up
0.5 per cent after the labour force began returning to their formerly
Official data on May 1 indicated that the factories in seven industrial
estates submerged by last year’s floods have resumed their operations,
reporting that 72 per cent of the flooded plants--615 of the 839
industrial operations—have fully resumed operation.
Although the overall employment rate improved, it only slightly impacted
the overall economy in terms of economic value, Mr Arkhom reported.
The reductions in hours of work and rises in seasonal unemployment
reflected the disguised unemployment characteristics.
He explained that the number of people working less than 35 hours a week
increased by 18.8 per cent, or 7,940,000 employees, year-on-year as well
as disguised unemployment, including persons working less than 10 hours
a day and seasonally unemployed persons, reached 1.44 per cent, or some
Regarding the Bt300 wage hike which took effect on April 1 in seven
major provinces, the NESDB reported that entrepreneurs paid Bt300 a day
for workers in line with the government’s national daily minimum wage.
Some entrepreneurs decided to pay wages higher than the daily minimum
wage for skilled and experienced workers.
In the short term, the business sector had no plans to immediately lay
off a large number of workers but opted to cut their production cost
However, in the long run some entrepreneurs tend to use more machines in
order to reduce the labour cost. (MCOT online news)
IFC helps increase financing for flood-affected exporters in Thailand
BANGKOK, May 29 – The International Finance
Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing
financing to TMB Bank in Thailand to increase lending to small- and
medium-sized exporters affected by last year’s floods, helping them
revive their businesses and create jobs at a time when U.S. dollar
liquidity is tightening.
The $100 million loan to TMB—formerly known as the
Thai Military Bank--is part of IFC’s multi-phase Thailand Flood Response
Strategy, which complements the government’s post-flood stimulus program
by providing export-oriented businesses with funding through local
banks. In the first phase, IFC will offer immediate liquidity to
businesses in flood-affected areas, especially small and medium
enterprises, helping them expand their operations, buy new machinery or
“TMB is proud to partner with IFC as an intermediary in an endeavor to
empower small and medium enterprises to operate with higher efficiency
and increase their competitiveness,” said Boontuck Wungcharoen, TMB
chief executive officer. “It enables businesses to do their part to
improve the Thai economy through job creation, income generation, and
Thailand’s export-oriented economy rebounded strongly in the first
quarter after shrinking late last year because of the floods. However,
the World Bank says the global economic slowdown could reduce Thai
exports this year.
“IFC’s support to TMB reflects our countercyclical role in helping
address financing gaps for small and medium enterprises,” said Karin
Finkelston, IFC Vice President for Asia Pacific. “As a leading bank in
Thailand with a strategic focus on small companies, our partnership with
TMB will deliver critical support for these businesses amid challenging
global market conditions, helping them grow, create jobs, and sustain
economic recovery,” she said. (MCOT online news)
Bt64 bn circulation expected during Euro 2012
BANGKOK, May 29 -- The upcoming UEFA European
Football Championship ‘UEFA EURO 2012’ is projected to result in Bt64
billion (over US$2.13 billion) in circulation in Thailand, according to
a survey by University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC)
The UTCC Economic and Business Forecasting Centre
surveyed 1,196 respondents on the spending behaviour and the impact of
the 14th Euro 2012 football tournament on Thailand's economy and its
society, the centre’s director Thanawat Ponwichai reported on Tuesday.
Dr Thanawat announced that the spending during the Euro 2012 beginning
on June 8-July 1 was expected to be some Bt64 billion, up 8.1 per cent
from the spending during the FIFA World Cup 2010.
Despite the projected rise in money circulated during the high-profile
sports event, spending is unlikely to be robust and lively and will only
be able to slightly boost the overall economy, the academic said. He
explained that the country’s economy was not fully recovered owing to
the higher prices of consumer goods.
However, the Thai economy this year is forecast to expand by 5.9 per
cent, Dr Thanawat said. The country’s economic expansion in the next
four years would likely to grow between 5-6 per cent based on several
key factors, particularly the domestic political atmosphere.
The survey found that some Bt41.7 billion was expected to be spent on
football gambling activities, a 63.6 per cent increase compared to the
World Cup 2010, while around Bt19.6 billion and Bt2.2 billion would be
used for purchasing consumer products and electrical appliances
Meanwhile, approximately Bt1.2 billion would be spent on other Euro
In terms of the economic and social impact, survey respondents viewed
that the Euro 2012 would lead to gambling most, followed by
gambling-related debts, crimes and gambling debt collection.
Co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, the tournament will promote sport and
exercise among Thai youth, strengthen family relationships and stimulate
the economy during that period.
Apart from gambling, most respondents were concerned about the reduced
efficiency in work and study and accidents related to overconsumption of
alcohol during the Euro 2012 football tournament. (MCOT online news)
Labor Ministry helps uplift Thai labor for ASEAN integration
BANGKOK, 29 May 2012 (NNT) – The Labor Ministry has
held a seminar to help uplift Thai labor skills in preparation for the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The ministry is cooperating with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)
to help improve labor skills in industries such as automobile,
furniture, and metal, among others.
Permanent Secretary for Labor Somkiat Chayasriwong said the ministry
will discuss with other ASEAN nations ways to improve standards of labor
skill in this region as many countries, such as Cambodia, Laos, and
Myanmar, do not have labor skill assessment.
Under the project, workers will be tested for their academic knowledge,
talents, and attitude to see if they are suitable for their respective
fields and find ways to improve them.
PTT to explore Myanmar for natural gas
BANGKOK, 29 May 2012 (NNT) – The PTT Exploration and
Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) has announced that it will
begin the exploration for natural gas in Myanmar.
According to PTTEP President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tevin
Vongvanich, an agreement will be signed on June 6th, allowing the
company to explore a 10,000-square kilometer area in Myanmar. The
exploration is expected to last three years.
Mr Tevin stated that the PTTEP will seek more areas in Myanmar for
further exploration as the neighboring country has abundant natural
resources. He added that the company will continue to explore an area
called M3 in Myanmar. If it finds enough natural gas reserve, it will
use the area for gas distribution to Yangon.
Special Report: Mrs Fields cookies make a delicious return to Thailand
Thailand is welcoming back a world-class premium
cookie brand, Mrs Fields, at Siam Paragon shopping center after the
franchised stores in the country closed down in 2007.
Mrs. Fields was first launched in Palo Alto, California in 1977, and is
now one of the largest retailers of freshly baked, on-premises specialty
cookies and brownies in the US. Its franchise systems include over 300
franchised and licensed locations throughout the US and in 22 other
Since the early 1990’s, Mrs Fields’ Famous Brands has opened branches in
China, South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. According to
Mrs Fields’ Regional Operations Manager for Asia-Pacific, Chito
Lumanlan, in 2007, the previous franchisee pre-terminated the brand
agreement in Thailand, due to their conflicting views on the brand’s
This month, DKSH (Thailand), the local arm of the DSKH Group, a
Switzerland-based market expansion services enterprise, is
re-introducing the globally beloved cookies to Thai consumers. The first
branch is now open at Siam Paragon and the company is planning to open 4
additional branches this year and 10 more next year.
DKSH’s Food Retail Business Manager, Kayvalee Wongprecha, said the
company realizes the promising growth potential of this business sector
given premium-branded soft cookies is a virtually untapped market in
Thailand. According to Ms Kayvalee, the company is confident that they
will be able to fill the opportunity gap and build a stronger brand
presence in the kingdom.
Mr Lumanlan said that Mrs Fields is hoping their new pan-Asian expansion
project would surpass the level of success the previous licensee had
achieved, with 17 stores precendently launched across the region.
He added that Mrs Fields stores are also expected to be debuted in new
markets such as Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia, with a goal of opening 30
more stores in 5 years.
NESDB: Employment rate lowered but household debts increase in 2012
BANGKOK, 29 May 2012 (NNT) - The Office of the
National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has revealed that
even though unemployment rate has gone down this year, household debts
NESDB Secretary-General Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has
announced that the unemployment rate in the first quarter stood at
0.73%, lower than that of the same period last year, which was at 0.83%.
He cited that most workers have returned to the work since February
although many factories are not fully recovered from the flood.
However, Mr Arkhom said up to 557,000 workers are not gainfully
employed. Nearly 112,000 of them work less than 10 hours a week and need
more jobs; around 450,000 of those are waiting for seasonal jobs.
According to the NESDB, household debt has increased as a result of the
government’s flood rehabilitation, first car and first house loans.
Other types of personal debts, such as credit card debts, have also
DPU: Thai SMEs least competitive among 5 ASEAN nations
BANGKOK, 29 May 2012 (NNT) – A recent survey
conducted by Dhurakij Pundit University Research Center (DPURC) found
that Thai SMEs' competitiveness has dropped to the last place among five
ASEAN nations due to the minimum wage hike and entrepreneurs'
unpreparedness for the ASEAN integration.
DPURC Director Kiatanantha Lounkaew explained that the center has ranked
the competitiveness of ASEAN member countries based on the World Bank's
Enterprise Survey Data from 2006 to 2009 of 3,161 enterprises from five
countries, namely Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and
Malaysia. The study found that the 300-baht minimum wage hike in
Thailand sent production cost skyrocketing and, thus, dragging
Thailand’s status down from the second place to the lowest spot amongst
its neighbours, while Vietnam has become the region's most competitive
The center’s Director suggested that the government should rush to
enhance the skills of workers and carefully study measures to
appropriately establish clear development strategies for each industry
in order to bring Thailand back in the game.
Additionally, the center also revealed the result of a survey conducted
on 1,073 SME entrepreneurs from 18 provinces nationwide on their
preparation for the upcoming ASEAN integration. The study found that
one-fourth of the respondents already have clear preparation measures,
while the remaining are not sure about how they should adapt to the
Kittiratt: WEF allows Thailand to show political-economic stability
BANGKOK, 29 May 2012 (NNT) – The Thai government has
expressed its readiness to play host to the upcoming World Economic
Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2012, while a WEF representative explained that
Thailand has been chosen as host for its economic stability and role in
the ASEAN region.
At a press conference on the organizing of the 21st
WEF on East Asia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Kittiratt Na Ranong stated that the meeting will follow-up on the
previously discussed issues at the WEF meeting in Davos, Switzerland,
held in January. Thus, it will be an important venue for Thailand to
manifest its political and economic stability and progress to the
international community. Meanwhile, leaders from both the public and
private sectors will be granted the opportunity to meet and discuss the
strengthening of bilateral and regional cooperation.
At the same time, WEF Senior Director and Head of Asia Sushant
Palakurthi Rao said that Thailand has been chosen as host of the 21st
WEF on East Asia 2012 given it is the second most important country in
the ASEAN region and that its economic growth rate is on a positive
trend. Moreover, the country is strategically located in the midst of
fast-growing economies, such as that of China and India.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will also be participating at
the meeting in Thailand. This is her first trip abroad in 24 years. It
is expected that Suu Kyi will be discussing the topic of opportunities
and challenges of the region.
Held under the theme of “Shaping the Region’s Future through
Connectivity”, the WEF on East Asia 2012 will be held during 30 May – 1
June at the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok. Over 600 delegates from 50
countries across the world are expected to attend the meeting in
Manufacturing Production Index in April rises 0.5% year-on-year
BANGKOK, May 28 – Thailand’s Manufacturing Production
Index (MPI) in April reached 166.2, an increase of 0.54 per cent
year-on-year, according to the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).
OIE Deputy Director General Aphiwat Asamaporn said
the MPI in April demonstrated the recovery of major industries such as
electronics, electrical appliances and auto industries hit by last
Major industries positively impacting the MPI in April were the
automotive, petroleum, breweries, electrical appliances and
The fast recovery of the auto industry contributed to the rising MPI in
April and the overall manufacturing index turning positive for the first
time after the crisis. However, the electronics and hard disk drive
industries have not yet fully recovered.
Compared to the MPI of 192.90 in the previous month, the MPI in April
shrank 13.84 per cent, a negative impact, resulting from decreasing
production of hard disk drive, sugar and electronics components.
Looking into particular industries in April, the auto industry recorded
production and sales growth of 83.12 per cent and 65.56 per cent
respectively following last year’s drastic drop, caused by supply chain
problems, an impact from Japan’s tsunami.
Production and sales of air conditioning units and components increased
13.8 per cent and 2.24 per cent respectively thanks to higher
temperatures this year. (MCOT online news)
Commercial attachés urged to promote Thai export
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry
has told commercial attachés abroad to inform foreign traders that Thai
entrepreneurs have fully recovered from the flood.
Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol said many Thai producers have to
reduce their production capacity after the country has been hard hit by
flood, but the industrial sector has fully recovered and Thai producers
are now able to produce more for export. As the Greek debt crisis has
been affecting several of its trading partner countries, the Minister
has informed all commercial attachés to help promote Thai products so
that foreign traders place more orders for Thai products.
The ministry expects the Thai export sector to expand by 15% this year.
Mr Poom said the Commerce Ministry is supporting Thai entrepreneurs to
be more competitive in the world stage. The ministry has been helping
entrepreneurs increase their product and service value and lower
He indicated that average production costs of Thai producers accounted
for 14.5% of the GDP, adding that if the percentage is reduced, Thai
entrepreneurs would gain more advantage.
Special report : Steps Thailand has taken to become part of AEC in 2015
In preparation to become part of the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) in 2015, 3 steps have been taken by Thailand to ensure
its smooth transition into such integration that would empower ASEAN
against major economic powers.
1. The Ministry of Foreign affairs has proposed the establishment of an
ASEAN unit, which will be responsible for increasing the ability of
civil servants enabling them to effectively interact with their foreign
counterparts. Language training such as English and a 3rd language
spoken by other ASEAN nations will also be carried out. Certain Thai
laws will be amended to pave the way for a smooth integration under the
2. The Thai public will be informed of and prepared for the AEC via
various channels such as media and education. The Ministry of Education
has already incorporated ASEAN studies in the national curriculum which
is targeting students at an early age. Other activities include
seminars, which have already been held over 200 times in the recent
past, and an ASEAN Youth camp, as well as information to raise awareness
in print and broadcasting media.
3. As for the private sector, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the
Federation of Thai Industry and the Thai Bankers’ Association have
pulled together to help enhancing competitiveness in this sector and
preparing them to take advantage of the ASEAN market. Strategic
approaches have also been developed to cushion whatever impact the AEC
may have on SME businesses.
AoT in full decoration for upcoming World Economic Forum
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT)-The Airport of Thailand
(AoT) is now in full preparation for the upcoming World Economic Forum
on East Asia 2012 or ‘We Forum,’ to which Thailand will be playing host.
The 'We Forum' will kick off this Wednesday and conclude on Friday. The
AoT has decorated Suvarnabhumi Airport with beautiful floral
arrangements both in and outside of the passenger terminal.
Small gardens of plants and floral center pieces have been placed around
the gates to create a pleasant atmosphere for foreign officials who will
arrive in Thailand to participate in the economic forum.
‘We Forum’ banners and information have also been displayed on the
express ways and appearing on the TV screen at the passenger check-in
counters to promote the event.
Bangchak to gradually reduce benzene distribution
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – Bangchak Petroleum PCL
has been gradually changing the oil dispensers from Benzene 91 to
Gasohol E20, as the government has been expanding the price gap between
benzene and gasohol to encourage gasohol use.
According to Bangchak President Anusorn Saengnimnuan, 300 Bangchak gas
stations now have Benzene 91 dispensers while 470 stations are providing
Gasohol E20. He is confident that Bangchak will be able to increase the
number of stations with E20 dispensers to 600 within this year.
Mr Anusorn affirmed that the country's overall gasohol consumption will
more or less increase as a result of the E20 promotion strategy. He
pointed out that E20 is now nearly seven baht per liter cheaper than
benzene, which should be able to persuade more people to use it.
AOT airports ready for World Economic Forum on East Asia in May
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) - The Airports of Thailand
(AOT) is preparing Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi International Airports to
welcome world leaders and delegates attending the World Economic Forum
on East Asia 2012.
Thailand will be the host country for the 2-day World Economic Forum on
East Asia, which will be attended by leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries,
as well as leaders of China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand
and India. The WEF will be held at the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok from
May 30th to June 1st .
More than 600 foreign delegates willl be attending the forum, utilizing
both Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airports as gateways in and out of
Thailand. Therefore, both airports have prepared all necessary security
measures and facilities; closely collaborated under the advice of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Airport ambiance and surrounding
environment has been revamped, both inside and around the Passenger
Terminals; for example, welcome booths in Arrival Halls, flower and
plant decorations, among many others.
The AOT said its management and staff have placed great importance on
the preparation of the airports for the upcoming Forum, as they are the
“Gateways to Thailand". It added that all staff are to ensure that all
delegates are welcomed with a great and memorable first impression of
The WEF will be officially opened by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
on May 31st.
DITP: Thailand-Australia join hands to tackle trade barriers
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – The Department of
International Trade Promotion (DITP) has revealed that Thailand and
Australia are collaborating to bring down existing trade barriers while
an agreement has been signed with an Australian retail giant in hopes of
boosting Thai fruit sales.
Following her trip to Australia with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
during 26-28 May, DITP Director-General Nantawan Sakuntanak said that
Thailand and Australia are working closely to enhance mutual cooperation
in various dimensions. She added that with the launch of the ‘Thailand:
Kitchen to the World’ strategy in Sydney, the Commerce Ministry has
asked Australia to ease up on sanitary measures for plant and animal
products, such as shrimps and chicken meat. Meanwhile, the ministry has
asked Australia to consider providing more flexibility on the required
English language skill level of Thai chefs working abroad.
On the other hand, Australia has asked Thailand to reduce the tariff on
hot and cold rolled steel to 0% within 2015 under the Thailand-Australia
Free Trade Agreement in order to boost Thailand’s steel import from the
country. At the same time, Thailand is to consider reducing excise tax
on large and off-road vehicles as well as lifting the ban on the import
of five Australian fruits, consisting of cherries, apricots, plums,
peaches and nectarines.
Additionally, the DITP has signed an MoU with Woolworths, a large
supermarket chain with over 1,600 branches across Australia, in order to
co-organize promotions on farm products and boost the latter’s import of
Thai fruits, especially coconuts and durians.
Electrical appliance to see price increase in June
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – Consumers may be forced
to face a price increase of no less than 5% in electrical appliances
from June onward given entrepreneurs inability to bear the burden of
increased material and labour costs.
Chairman of the Electrical and Electronics Club under the Federation of
Thai Industries, Mr. Supachai Suthipongchai has revealed that the prices
of electrical appliances will see a gradual increase of 5% during the
second half of the year in line with the higher initial cost of about
10%, caused by price increase of raw materials imported from abroad as
well as the 300-baht minimum wage hike.
At present, electrical appliances manufacturers are attempting to
control all initial costs to maintain the current product prices.
However, they will be obliged to adjust product prices upward if the
Mr. Supachai pointed out that the price increase will vary according to
the group of products. Retailers, such as Power Buy, have begun to
receive requests to raise the prices, especially in the household
appliance group; for instance, 5% increase for air conditioners, 5-7%
for washing machines, and 3-5% for refrigerators.
Meanwhile, the electrical appliances market sees a 10% growth
year-on-year during the first yearly quarter given the need to buy new
electrical appliances to replace those damaged by the flood of 2011. The
hot weather has also raised the sales figures of electric fans and air
conditioners. Thus, it is expected that the electrical appliance market
will see a 10% growth, worth 200 billion baht, this year.
Commerce Ministry refutes claims of products overpricing
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Permanent
Secretary has insisted that the higher product prices at present are not
inordinate, while expecting that the ready-to-eat meal price control
scheme will be ready within two weeks.
Commerce Permanent Secretary Yanyong Phuangrach has disclosed that the
recent 2-4% increase in product prices is the consequence of last year’s
devastating flood combined with the poor economic situation at present.
Thus, the Ministry is closely monitoring product prices from their
origins to retail shops in order to prevent excessive pricing.
Meanwhile, Mr. Yanyong said that the price control scheme of
ready-to-eat food should be finalized within the next two weeks. The
plan will be discussed among the Subcommittee in charge of ready-to-eat
meal prices before being submitted to the Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Finance, Mr. Kittiratt Na Ranong, for approval.
FT charge could increase by 8 satang per unit
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – The Energy Regulatory
Commission (ERC) said that it will consider lifting the Fuel Adjustment
Tariff (FT) charge, possibly by eight satang per unit, starting
September this year.
The ERC said the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has
been shouldering the extra costs of fuel after the FT charge increase
has been delayed thanks to the government's measures to help people cope
with high living costs.
According to the the regulator, the EGAT can no longer carry the burden;
saying it has had to pay 20 billion baht extra for the price difference
in the past. The ERC has a plan to return around 14 billion baht to the
EGAT by mid 2013 for the extra FT charge incurred from January-May, so
the EGAT could use the money for its other development projects.
In addition, service fee charged by counter service is rather high,
which is actually a double fee. It is therefore considering lowering the
fee, explaining the savings could be used towards paying part of the FT
charge in the future.
Thai exporters worried about EU crisis
BANGKOK, 28 May 2012 (NNT) – The Thai National
Shippers’ Council (TNSC) has expressed its worries over the European
debt crisis, saying it could reduce the Thai export expansion this year.
As the country has been recovering from the flood devastation last year,
the Commerce Ministry recently predicted that the export sector this
year would expand by over 15%. However, TNSC Chairman Paiboon Ponsuwanna
stated that the global economic crisis, particularly in Europe, the
United States, and Japan, is affecting the Thai export sector, possibly
allowing the export expansion to be just around 12%.
Despite this year’s expected timid growth in export, Mr Paiboon expects
the crisis to die down in 2-3 years. For the time being, he suggests
that exporters seek new markets, particularly within Asia, and reduce
production costs in order to stay strong in the global competition.
Economic crisis in Europe drags down Thai exports in April to drop 3.6%
BANGKOK, May 25 -- Thai exports in April fell 3.67
per cent year-on-year thanks to Europe’s economic crisis, said the
Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol.
Exports in April were valued at US$16.9 billion
(Bt515 billion). In the first four months of this year, Thailand’s
exports were worth US$71.5 billion, a drop of 3.86 per cent.
Exports to major markets in April fell due to worries in European
economies. Those markets included the European Union, Japan, the US,
South Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, the Middle East, Russia,
Canada, Switzerland, the Indochina countries and Myanmar.
It was believed that the economies in the Euro Zone have officially
entered recession, according to the Office of Economic & Financial
Affairs Royal Thai Embassy, United Kingdom and Europe .
In April, Thailand recorded trade deficit of US$2.8 billion, a drop of
37.5 per cent from the previous month, while its trade deficit in the
first four months was US$8.05 billion.
The ministry projected Thai exports this year to grow 15 per cent,
compared to last year. (MCOT online news)
Government approves special budget to help pineapple farmers
PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, 27 May 2012 (NNT) – The
government has approved a special budget to help pineapple farmers, who
have been suffering the problem of falling prices.
Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor Weera Sriwathanatrakoon said on Saturday
that Prachuap Khiri Khan’s pineapple, which is its major crop, has been
battling the problem of plunging prices for some time.
As the problem has not shown any sign of easing, the government has
approved a special budget to buy up more than 60,000 tons of pineapples
at the price of 4 baht a kilo.
Mr. Weera is confident that the government’s assistance will effectively
solve farmers’ plight.
According to the Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor, related state agencies
are speedily working on the budget allocation while the supply purchase
will likely start next week.
He added that all pineapples that the government has bought up will be
sent to the processing plants, which will transform the supply into
canned pineapple for sales whenever prices go up again.
Mr. Weera has stressed that crop supplies eligible for the state
incentives are to be of the same quality farmers have sold to factories
as young pineapples will not be of any use.
Commerce Ministry set to boost online trade with China
BANGKOK, 27 May 2012 (NNT) - The Commerce Ministry
has launched Thaitrade.com in China with the objective of boosting trade
with Chinese entrepreneurs via an online platform.
Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol has revealed that he has recently
led a group of executives and officials from the Department of
International Trade Promotion (DITP) to launch Thaitrade.com at the
Jewelry Shanghai 2012 fair in Shanghai, China. The move was an attempt
of the Ministry to boost online trade with Chinese entrepreneurs given
the internet is the most preferred channel for trade among Chinese
Mr. Poom stated that Thaitrade.com has been widely accepted by business
entrepreneurs worldwide since its official launch in the middle of 2011.
Statistics have indicated that Chinese entrepreneurs formed the largest
group to have engaged in business negotiations with the website's
members. Thus, the DITP sees the website as a proper channel for Thai
products to expand in China. Having attracted the attention of many
Chinese entrepreneurs wishing to purchase Thai products through this
online platform, Thaitrade.com is expected to generate higher income for
Thai exports in China.
Thaitrade.com is an official business-to-business (B2B) E-Marketplace
established by the DITP to enhance trade opportunity of Thai exporters
under the idea of pooling Thai export products in one marketplace to
serve as an efficient channel for international trade partners worldwide
to find refined products from Thailand.
Transport Ministry to request special budget for northern road/highway upgrade
BANGKOK, 27 May 2012 (NNT) – The Transport Ministry
is poised to request a special budget for the improvement of selected
northern roads and highways.
It is reported that the Transport Ministry is planning to ask the
Cabinet meeting on May 29th for an approval of the improvement plan for
a number of roads and highways in 5 upper northern provinces, including
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Phayao.
The proposal is part of a 5-year project of the Department of Highways
and estimated to cost approximately 3.6 billion baht.
The project involves improvement of a total of 686.8 kilometers of major
and minor roads leading to various sites of royal agricultural
development centers in the North. It will be executed in three phases,
i.e. 220 kms from 2012-2014, 390 kms from 2014-2016 and 77 kms in 2016.
If implemented, the project will be beneficial not only to officials and
farm workers at the royal agricultural development centers but will also
ease traveling problems of villagers in nearby areas.
Local petrol sales contribution to State Oil Fund to go up from Friday
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) – The National Energy
Policy Committee is to start collecting more contribution from petrol
sales to the State Oil Fund from Friday on.
Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon said that the National Energy Policy
Committee’s meeting on Thursday, which he chaired, has resolved to
collect, for the State Oil Fund, 0.90 baht from every liter of diesel
sold from Friday. The amount is increased from the previous collection
of 0.60 baht per liter.
A 0.50-baht increase has also been decided for Benzene-91 and Benzene-95
sales, resulting in a contribution of 4.50 baht per liter.
Mr. Arak said that the decision to raise the higher State Oil Fund
contribution has inevitably led to stable retail gasoline prices,
despite falling global crude prices.
He stated that the increase in the contribution is important to help
push the State Oil Fund’s minus-22.6 billion baht status back into the
Trade deficit surges in first five months
Hanoi, May 24 (VNA) — The trade deficit in the first
five months of the year surged sharply to 622 million USD, roughly 3.5
times higher than that of the first four months, the General Statistics
Office (GSO) reported. The country in the period fetched 42.86 billion
USD from exports, up 24.1 percent over the same period last year, while
spending 43.48 billion USD for imports, up 6.6 percent. Director of the
GSO's Trade Department Le Minh Thuy attributed the surge to the recovery
of domestic production, explaining that most imported goods were raw
materials serving local production. Thuy considered the Government's
decision to loosen monetary policies, cut interest rates and cool down
inflation as positive factors to boost domestic production as well as
export and import activities. However, the GSO noted that the trade
deficit of this year's first five months was equal to only a tenth of
the same period last year. The import of many raw materials declined
sharply compared with the same period last year. Imports of cotton
decreased by 33.8 percent, fibre by 14.2 percent, vehicle parts by 37.8
percent and fertiliser by 13.6 percent. Petrol and oil imports also
reduced by 13.3 percent in value and 23.2 percent in volume. The
decreases in imported gas value and volume were 17 percent and 27.6
percent. Despite the import reduction of many goods, the import value of
electronic and computer components saw robust growth in the first five
months to serve domestic production. The component’s import value rose
103.4 percent to more than 4.54 billion USD, helping the industry gain
an export turnover of 6.41 billion USD. Exports of phones alone
increased 110.9 percent to 3.67 billion USD, surpassing the export value
of crude oil to rank second among the country's biggest export earners.
Textiles and garments topped the list with an earning of 5.33 billion
Petrol prices cut as world oil markets cool down
Hanoi, May 24 (VNA) — The Ministry of Finance cut the
retail price of A92 petrol by 600 VND on May 23 afternoon, from 23,300
to 22,700 VND per litre. The price of diesel fuel was also reduced by
400 VND to 21,200 VND per litre. This move marked the second reduction
in fuel prices this month, following a 500 VND reduction in petrol
prices on May 10. The reductions were a response to declining world
petrol and oil market since early this month, said the ministry. The
average world price of RON 92 petrol in the first half this month
dropped by 6.94 percent from 131 to 122 per USD barrel in late April.
The Ministry of Finance the same day also reduced the retail price of
fuel oil by 300 VND to 18,900 VND per litre and the price of kerosene to
21,100 VND per litre.
Kasikorn supports Chinese SMEs in Thailand
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) – The Kasikornbank has set
the target for loan amount to Chinese SMEs in Thailand at 2 billion baht
in three years, to encourage Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in
Kasikornbank Executive Vice President Pipit Aneaknithi said Thailand has
been attracting Chinese businesspeople since the kingdom has many
Free-Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several countries. Thailand has para
rubber, cassava, and oil palm, for which China has high demands. At the
same time, Thailand is also located in the center of ASEAN.
Mr Pipit said although the Thai GDP last year expanded by only 0.1%, the
Thai-Chinese trade rose by 30%. At present, China is the country with
the second highest investment value in Thailand.
He further stated that most Chinese companies in Thailand received
investment supports from their mother companies; if the funding is
insufficient, they would seek loans from local Thai banks. The vice
president said that the bank, therefore, is gearing itself up to offer
those SMEs loans as well as investment advice on suitable locations for
business and their privileges from the Board of Investment of Thailand’s
support as well as business matching.
State measures to ease soaring cost of living on drawing board
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) – The government will
likely introduce more measures to help consumers shoulder the soaring
cost of living.
Commerce Ministry Permanent Secretary Yanyong Phuangrach, who chairs the
state-appointed sub-committee on ready-to-eat foods, said that the
committee has been discussing the details of its policy, which is aimed
at controlling prices of this item, as instructed by the Cabinet.
Mr. Yanyong said that, as a start, the committee will likely recommend
the implementation of price suggestion or price cap policies for
ready-to-eat meals in some areas, such as office buildings and
department store-located food centers.
In addition to the price suggestion or price cap measures, the committee
is planning to indicate the dishes that will be included in the list of
However, the Commerce Ministry Permanent Secretary maintained that the
price control policy will not have to be enforced on foods sold via
hawkers due to the fact that their prices are usually low.
He went on to say that the Commerce Ministry is now considering other
additional measures to help ease the impact of higher living cost, such
as the monitoring of ingredient prices and related expenses, which will
work effectively alongside the price control policy.
Mr. Yanyong said that all the details, once ready, will be reviewed by
Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong before being presented to the
Cabinet for a final decision as to whether or not ready-to-eat foods
should be included in the list of price-controlled items.
Transport Co to slash bus fare by 2 satang per km today
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) - National bus operator,
Transport Company Limited (TCL), has agreed to lower the bus fare by 2
satang per kilometer, effective today.
TCL President Wuthichart Kalyanamitra said that in light of the decrease
in global oil prices, the company’s board announced their decision to
cut the fare of TCL services nationwide. The TCL earlier raised its fare
price by 4 satang per kilometer.
However, the current rate will be applied until May 31, when the new
fare will be officially announced.
Passengers who have purchased advance tickets for May 25-31 can collect
the difference in prices at TCL-operated bus terminals nationwide, from
June 1 onwards.
For more information, passengers can contact TCL call center at 1490 on
a 24-hour basis.
State budget reports more than THB525bil in cash deficit since October 2011
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) – The Finance Ministry has
reported that the state financial position remains strong even though
its current fiscal budget has recorded a substantial amount of cash
Fiscal Policy Office (FPO)’s Director-General Somchai Sujjapongse said
that, during the first 7 months of fiscal 2012, which started last
October, the state revenue collection totaled 947.02 billion baht, or
26.42 billion baht more than it collected the same time of last year.
In terms of expenditure, the government has disbursed 1.42 trillion baht
from its budget, or around 128 billion baht more than last year.
As a result, the government has recorded a budget deficit of 479.86
billion baht. When taken into account the out-of-the-budget deficit of
45.72 billion baht, the government has a total deficit of 525.58 billion
baht during October 2011 and April 2012.
Despite this, Mr. Somchai has assured that the government’s current
financial position remains very strong as the Finance Ministry continues
to implement economic stimulus measures.
Commerce Ministry to hold Blue Flag campaign to help nationwide consumers
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry is
planning to organize more campaigns to offer low-priced products to
consumers, in another bid to ease the effect of soaring cost of living.
The Department of Internal Trade (DIT)’s Director-General Vatchari
Vimooktayon said on Thursday that the DIT, under the Commerce Ministry,
will hold more “Blue Flag” campaigns to offer cheap necessity products
to consumers across Thailand during the months of May and June.
Mrs. Vatchari said that the campaign has been devised into 4 main events
and several minor fairs for Bangkok and surrounding provinces, while a
total of 969 “Blue Flag” fairs will be organized elsewhere throughout
She added that a variety of necessities will be available at prices
which are 20-40 percent lower than those found in the market. Goods that
are confirmed to be on offer include such items as pork, chicken meat,
eggs, vegetable oil, rice, sugar, ready-to-eat foods and vegetables.
The DIT chief stated that the first event in Bangkok is scheduled during
May 26th and 28th in various locations while the first regional fair is
set during May 25th and 27th at the Chiang Rai City Hall.
PTT: Paying Thai labor in Libya with oil as wage may help ease soaring energy price
BANGKOK, 25 May 2012 (NNT) – The country’s energy
conglomerate has expressed its support to a suggestion to pay Thai labor
in Libya by oil instead of cash, an idea that is believed to help ease
the impact of rising oil price.
Labor Minister Phadermchai Sasomsub said on Thursday that the ministry
has been discussing with Thailand’s oil and gas giant, PTT, regarding
the latter’s role in solving the problem of higher energy prices in
Mr. Phadermchai said that he has proposed a negotiation with Libyan
companies, which have hired Thai workers to work in the country, in
hopes of convincing them to agree to pay wage in the form of oil instead
of cash and to let PTT handle the payout for them.
Initially, PTT executives have agreed with the idea and it is now the
task of the Labor Ministry to pursue the negotiation, according to Mr.
In addition, he conceded that the ongoing unrest in Libya is making the
situation too precarious to send Thai workers to resume work there.
However, the Labor Minister asserted that, as soon as the opportunity
allows, the ministry will promptly facilitate the dispatch of Thai labor
to Libya, through a government-to-government arrangement.
In related news, Mr. Phadermchai said that there has been a request from
international hoteliers with businesses in Thailand for 380 skilled and
trained workers to be staffed at all their outlets in the country.
He added that the Department of Employment has been assigned to handle
Industry Ministry to organize new event to help consumers
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) – The Industry Ministry is
set to organize another special event to help shoulder consumers’ burden
as the cost of living is still on a rise.
Industry Minister M.R. Phongsawat Svastiwat said on Wednesday that the
ministry is preparing to organize the “Outlet” project, aimed at helping
ease the impact of rising cost of living during June 2nd and 4th.
M.R. Phongsawat stated that the event, held at the Industry Ministry,
will feature a broad range of products, which will be shipped directly
from the factories and sold at lower-than-market prices.
He added that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will also visit the
event on June 4th.
The Industry Minister also said that a similar initiative will be
organized in other provinces on a later day.
Finance Minister confident Thailand immune from EU financial crisis
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) – The finance minister is
confident that Thailand will not be affected by the financial crisis in
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said that
even though the financial crisis among European Union countries looks
set to continue for some time and rattle regional economy, its impact
will not likely spread to other parts of the world.
Mr. Kittiratt’s confidence is backed by news on related governments’
moves to rein in the problems.
He added that the situation is not expected to escalate after major
Greek banks have successfully raise funds while some EU countries with
stronger position have lent help to some troubled member nations.
The Deputy PM also stated that there has been no sign that the crisis in
the EU will have a direct impact on Thailand, where local financial
institutions continue to demonstrate strong fundamentals with the
Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand still keeping a close eye on
Energy Business Dept: Local use of LPG on a rise
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) – The Energy Business
Department has expressed worries over an increase in the country’s LPG
Department of Energy Business (DOEB) Director-General Viraphol
Jirapraditkul said on Wednesday that Thailand’s use of Liquefied
Petroleum Gas (LPG) has continued to increase, particularly during the
past 7-8 years.
He said that the average consumption growth rate has been at 7-8
percent, compared to the normal growth rate of 3-4 percent almost a
Mr. Viraphol noted that the rise in LPG consumption has shown no
slowdown even though the government, last year, divided LPG prices into
Under the new scheme, LPG price for industrial use rose 12 baht a kilo,
while that for transport use went up 3 baht a kilo. The government has
left LPG price for household use unchanged at 18.13 baht per kilo.
The DOEB Director-General has called on the public to help prevent the
smuggling of LPG to neighboring countries, where prices are cheaper, due
to the Thai government’s subsidies for cooking gas.
PM targets food export to grow by 12%
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) - With its official launch
on Wednesday, the THAIFEX - World of Food Asia 2012 is expected to
generate no less than 420 million dollars in revenues as well as
contribute to a 12% growth for food export this year.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday presided over the opening
ceremony of the THAIFEX - World of Food Asia 2012, which displays
Thailand's potential as the center of food production and distribution.
Over 2,900 booths have been set up to showcase local and foreign
products and services to the fair's visitors. The event is estimated to
bring in no less than 420 million dollars while also contributing to the
country's market expansion and achievement of the targeted 12% growth in
the food export sector.
The PM deems the food and service industry an important revenue source
for Thailand as it generates over 2 billion dollars each year. In an
effort to build and regain confidence in the country following natural
disasters, the government will implement the strategies to promote the
Thai kitchen to the world and to develop the country's Halal food market
to a universal level.
The THAIFEX - World of Food Asia 2012, now underway, is held at Impact
Arena Muang Thong Thai during 23-27 May The first three days of the
event is reserved for business negotiations between Thai and foreign
entrepreneurs. The general public will be able to visit the THAIFEX on
26-27 May to purchase food products from various countries across the
globe. Additionally, a cooking contest will also be held by the World
Association of Chef Society (WACS) to find this year's best Thai chef.
Energy Minister aims to reduce energy use by 10%
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) - The Energy Ministry is
determined to recruit over 10,000 government agencies to join its
campaign to reduce energy usage by 10%, while targeting to save up to
1.61 billion baht.
Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon has disclosed that his ministry is set
to encourage the participation of over 10,000 government offices
nationwide in the effort to cut down energy consumption by at least 10%.
The objective of the campaign is to reduce the country's expenses in
fuel import. At the same time, energy conservation will be used as an
index to evaluate the performance of each agency. It is expected that,
with the participation of these government units, the cost of energy
will be reduced by 1.61 billion baht while carbon dioxide emission will
be lowered by 227,000 tonnes.
The energy conservation campaign will urge participating units from the
public sector to use electric fans, clean air conditioners, lower
air-conditioning temperature by 1 degree Celsius, reduce
air-conditioning usage by 1 hour, turn off unused lights during lunch
break, etc. They will also be encouraged to save energy by driving at
under 90 km/hour and use the carpool system, among others.
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Energy Policy and Planning Office
(EPPO) Suthep Liamsiricharoen said that with the participation of
government agencies, electricity usage will be reduced by 316.9 million
units, worth 950 million baht. Meanwhile, fuel consumption will be
reduced by 19.1 million liters, saving the country an equivalent of 669
Palm producers suffer price drop after government imports more palm
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) – Palm oil producers have
complained that since the government began importing palms to tackle the
shortage, they have been suffering from price drop.
The Oil Palm and Palm Oil Association has announced that the palm oil
price has been reduced to 4.40 baht from 6 baht per kilogram two weeks
ago. It said the price drop came as a result of the government’s
decision to import palm oil. It is asking for the government’s
assistance on the current matter.
The association will discuss with the Commerce Ministry over the planned
surcharge on palm oil export, which was announced on the royal gazette
on May 19, about which most of the exporters are still uninformed.
Finance Ministry confirms no extension to first-car scheme
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) - The Finance Minister has
announced that the first-car tax rebate program will not be extended
beyond the end of this year.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Kittiratt Na Ranong said
that the Finance Ministry will not consider postponing the expiry date
of the 100,000-baht tax rebate scheme for first-time car buyers. Thus,
Mr. Kittiratt has encouraged those wishing to benefit from this
privilege to make prompt decisions. Exceptions may only be applied to
special cases of delayed car productions.
The program, which gives up to 100,000-baht tax rebates to first-time
car buyers, aims to ease the people’s financial burdens. Additionally,
the program also boosts the country’s production, after sales service,
as well as create career opportunities and increase payment options for
Meanwhile, the Excise Department has reported that 40,000 car owners
have already registered for the tax rebate while another 200,000
eligible cars are waiting to be registered with the Department of Land
Transport (DLT). Additionally, an online platform has been launched to
take tax rebate applications; however, interested applicants must have
in their possession the car registration booklets from the DLT.
First-time car buyers will receive the tax refund within one year from
the purchase date. In addition, to prevent profiteering, the vehicle has
to remain in the possession of the buyer for at least five years before
it may be resold.
PM presides over launch of community fund project
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT) – Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra has presided over the launch of the community fund project,
reiterating the government’s willingness to solve debt problems in local
Ms Yingluck has launched the SML or small, medium, and large community
fund project, which is aimed at improving the skills and competitiveness
of the local people. The SML project is set to help increase their
incomes, while encouraging sufficiency economy, which will enable them
to live on their own.
A budget worth over 30 billion baht will be distributed to around 80,000
local communities across the country,which are supposed to manage it on
their own in order to improve their well-being. Ms Yingluck said the
government will not interfere with how the fund should be utilized,
leaving the communities on their own devices.
Intellectual property rights promoted in Thailand
BANGKOK, 24 May 2012 (NNT)-The Department of
Intellectual Property (DIP) is joining hands with its Korean counterpart
in promoting awareness about intellectual property rights and improving
the Thai digital content to compete in the global market.
In a seminar entitled ‘2012 Korea-Thailand Copyright Forum Digital
Content Industry Promotion & Copyright Protection’, creators of digital
content get to learn how they can protect their creations and profit
from royalties collected from the third party using their content.
Deputy Director General Mrs. Duangporn Rodphaya said the advance of
technology encourages widespread IP infringements with or without the
knowledge of consumers. She said some owners of such content were not
aware that they could make profits from license fees.
To raise public understanding and promote the importance of IP rights
protection, the DIP and the Korean IP rights Commission have decided to
hold the seminar to educate business people who are in the digital
content industry. It will also, according to her, raise the standards of
IP rights in Thailand and boost the country’s image in this field in the
Vietnam braces itself for AEC
BANGKOK, 23 May 2012 (NNT) - Vietnamese
Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Nguyen tien Minh has
expressed his confidence that Vietnamese people are ready to enter the
ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
Representatives of press members under the supervision of the Public
Relations Department (PRD) paid a call on Mr. Nguyen tien Minh on
Wednesday as part of the Media Practitioners Exchange Program under an
MOU between the PRD and the Voice of Vietnam. The director-general said
the PRD representatives’ recent visit to Vietnam to collect information
about Vietnam for dissemination to Thai people could ready the two
countries for the AEC which would soon come into force. Mr.Nguyen tien
Minh said he hoped that such a public relations activity would help
Thais learn more about Vietnam and create closer Thai-Vietnamese ties.
The director-general also emphasized that Vietnam gave high priority to
the AEC and would do its utmost to be a strong, agile and responsible
member of the AEC and cooperate with other member states to strengthen
ASEAN. He confirmed Vietnam has strictly followed the ASEAN Charter.
Vietnam has been campaigning for the AEC to encourage Vietnamese people
to be active and understand the role and importance of the AEC. In 2015,
one year before the AEC enters into force, Vietnam will accelerate its
work in educating Vietnamese people about the AEC so that the country is
fully ready to become part of the community.
Asia Aviation plans initial public share offering
BANGKOK, May 22 - Asia Aviation, a holding company
owning a majority 51 per cent of Thai AirAsia, will offer its shares
through an initial public offering (IPO) on May 23-25, according to
Chief Executive Officer Tassapon Bijleveld.
The company's shares are to start trading on the Thai
stock market on May 31. It set an IPO price of Bt3.70/share, which is to
be offered Wednesday through Friday this week.
Mr Tassapon expressed confidence that the share price will be higher
than the IPO price, as a positive feedback during roadshows was
demonstrated by investors who wanted Thai AirAsia stocks 11 times the
number of shares offered.
That Asia Aviation is listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
will help strengthen the company's financial stability and make it
easier to double its fleet size, CEO Tassapon said. The firm is planning
to have 48 Airbus-A320 aircraft in the next five years from its current
National Securities' Managing Director Suvapa Charoenying said Asia
Aviation has about 1.2 billion IPO shares, calculated as 25 per cent of
its paid-up capital, with a market capitalisation of Bt18 billion.
Thanachart Securities Plc and CIMB Securities (Thailand) are joint lead
underwriters for the Thai AirAsia IPO stocks.
Ms Suvapa said the company's earning and profit are growing at a rate of
around 20-25 per cent per year. The first quarter alone earned a profit
of Bt600 million. The company will not pay dividend to its shareholders
in the first three years.
Meanwhile, Asia Aviation CEO Tassapon said the decision on whether the
airline will be moved to operate at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport will be
made within 1 to 2 months.
He viewed there are still many business opportunities for low-cost
airlines due to a limitation on airline service providers which does not
comply with the large population of about 680 million in the South East
Having open new more routes, Thai AirAsia aims to attract 8 million
passengers this year from 7.2 million in 2011. The passenger
ratio/flight is set to increase 81-82 per cent, from 80 per cent last
year. (MCOT online news)
Toshiba investing Bt2 bln in new Thailand air-con plant
PATHUM THANI, May 21 - Toshiba Carrier (Thailand)
announced a new investment of Bt2 billion for its second
air-conditioning unit plant at this central province's Bangkadi
The new plant is set to double the capacity of the
older Toshiba factory in the same area, covering an area of 19,100
square metres. The investment affirms Japan's confidence in investment
in Thailand and will support higher buyer demand.
The new production unit will produce 97 per cent of its output for
export, according to Managing Director Akio Ozaka, and will focus on
commercial air-conditioning units and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF)
"This plant will be Toshiba's biggest air-con production base. It was
planned since before last year's flood," said Mr Akio.
He said the company was confident in Thailand's flood prevention system
and thus moved forward with the project.
The first production line will start in February next year for export to
55 countries worldwide.
Meanwhile, Toshiba Thailand's chairwoman Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said
the investment reflected the company’s confidence in investing in the
Bangkadi Industrial Park itself created confidence among investors by
building flood embankments within its area, which the industrial park
claimed to be able to withstand heavy waterflows for another 70 years.
About one-third of the wall has been completed, and the remaining
portion is to be finished by August. (MCOT online news)
Commerce Ministry: Rice mortgaging scheme not affect rice exporters
BANGKOK, 22 May 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry
has insisted that the government’s rice mortgaging scheme does not
affect Thai rice export, saying Thailand is the world’s number one rice
exporter in the first four months this year.
Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong Phuangrach said Thailand
exported 2.7 million tons of rice, the most in the world, in the first
four months of this year. The United States and Vietnam came in second
and third most in the world.
Mr Yanyong said the government’s rice mortgaging scheme, under which
rice is sold at 15,000 baht per ton did not affect the competitive edge
of Thai rice exporters, adding that the scheme helps push global rice
price from 566 dollars per ton last year to 669 dollars this year.
According to the permanent secretary, Thailand exported 10.6 million
tons, worth 200 billion baht in 2011. This year the Commerce Ministry
has set the target at 8.5 million tons, which is lower than last year’s
given many crops were damaged from the flood. But it is expected that
the value of rice export this year will be over 200 billion baht.
In the meantime, the ministry is prepared to hold the Thai Rice Fair in
Nakhon Sawan Province from May 25-27, with over 100 types of Thai rice
on offer. A conference on world rice standard and business matchups will
also be held.
Billions of baht in circulation at Money Expo 2012
BANGKOK, 22 May 2012 (NNT) – The Money Expo 2012
attracted over 850,000 visitors and recorded as much as 92.91 billion
baht worth of transactions.
Chairman of the organizing committee of the Money Expo 2012 Santi
Viriyarungsarit has disclosed that the total visitor count of the 12th
Money Expo stood at over 850,000. Organized during 17-20 May, the
four-day event saw over 92,729 transactions, worth over 92.91 billion
baht, for services with participating financial institutions, such as
banks, gold traders and insurance companies.
The most popular product during the Money Expo 2012 was home loans, with
a total value worth 56.16 billion baht. Mr. Santi explained that home
loans have always been the most subscribed to service at the Money Expo,
generating a revenue of 50-60 billion baht/year, with the exception of
2011. He also pointed out that the government’s 0% loan scheme for
first-time home buyers has contributed to the increased value of home
Other popular services among visitors of the event included SME loans
(25.58 billion baht), savings (5.18 billion baht), mutual fund (1.51
billion baht), personal loans (1.13 billion baht) and insurance policies
(808 million baht).
ASEAN: AEC will boost Thai GDP
BANGKOK, 22 May 2012 (NNT) – The formation of the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 is expected to send Thailand's
GDP skyrocketing while regional service liberalization will benefit the
The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) have tasked the Economic Research
Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) with conducting a mid-term
review of the AEC Blueprint, which revealed that much progress has been
made in the regional attempt to reduce tariff barriers among member
countries. The tariff rate in original ASEAN member countries, including
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei,
currently stands at an average of 0.5%. Meanwhile, new ASEAN
members--Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam-- have also lowered their
tariffs to 2.6%.
The review also suggested that, despite much progress, significant
differences still exist in the level of service liberalization, trade
and investment facilitation of each member country.
According to the study, Thailand is the second country in the ASEAN
region, after Vietnam, to benefit the most from the upcoming regional
trade liberalization. Moreover, Thailand's integration into the AEC is
expected to contribute greatly to the expansion of the country’s GDP.
Additionally, Thailand will receive more benefit if ASEAN considers
expanding service liberalization as well as trade and investment
facilitation with its dialogue partners under the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6
cooperation, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and
NESDB: Thai economy grows 0.3% in Q1 2012
BANGKOK, May 21 - The Thai economy grew 0.3 per cent
year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012 and by 11 per cent compared
with the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Office of the National
Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).
Secretary-General Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the
first quarter growth was mainly due to the recovery of production,
consumption, investment and tourism sectors alike after the massive
flood in 2011.
This year's economy was forecast to grow 5.5-6.5 per cent driven by
domestic demand and the production sector's recovery.
Household consumption and investment were expected to increase 4.5 and
12.3 per cent respectively, while export value would rise 15.1 per cent.
Inflation rates would stay within the range of 3.5-4.0 per cent,
employment rate at 0.7 per cent, and the current account surplus at 0.7
per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), Mr Arkhom said.
He noted this year's economic policy will focus on speeding up budget
disbursement for the rehabilitation process, building confidence among
investors, restructuring national economy to boost long-term competitive
capability; finding solutions for the recovery of flood-hit production
businesses, particularly electric appliances, electronics, and textiles
and leather affected by local economic problems respectively.
In addition, other priorities include measures assisting entrepreneurs
affected by the minimum wage raise policy, promoting production's
efficiency, measures helping labourers dismissed during the business
adjustment period; tackling rising consumer goods prices and
implementing monetary policy in response to current economic conditions
. (MCOT online news)
National Police forewarn public on traffic inconvenience during WEF
KANCHANABURI, May 21 – In preparation for next week’s
World Economic Forum (WEF) East Asian summit here next week, the
National Police Bureau has been instructed to keep the public informed
about possible traffic inconvenience, according to a government
Deputy Spokesperson to the Prime Minister’s Office
Anusorn Aiamsa-ard told a news briefing after yesterday’s Cabinet
meeting in Kanchanaburi that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has
instructed the National Police Bureau to explain to the public which may
be affected by motorcades of participants to the WEF on East Asia
He said that on May 31, leaders from many countries will visit Thailand
for the meeting, so participant motorcades may affect daily public daily
life and cause inconvenience.
As the government has not announced it as a public or school holiday,
cooperation from the public is requested, he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Thani Thongphakdi said earlier that around
700 people are expected to attend the meeting.
The presidents of Indonesia and Myanmar as well as the prime ministers
of the Lao PDR and Bahrain have confirmed their attendance.
Others attendees will include ministers and leading private sector
representatives and the international media.
The meeting will focus on creating regional cooperation by adapting
ASEAN’s regional connectivity to other regions of the world as well as
discussing measures to handle other challenges. (MCOT online news)
NESDB: GDP in Q1/2012 expands 0.3% y-o-y
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) - The National Economic
and Social Development Board (NESDB) has announced that the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter this year has increased by
NESDB secretary-general Arkom Termpitayapaisit said the GDP in the first
quarter has increased only 0.3% when compared to the growth of the same
period last year; however, the increase is 11% from that of the fourth
quarter last year.
He stated that factors contributing to the expansion are industrial
recovery from flood, increasing consumption, investment, tourism, and
Mr Arkom expected the overall GDP this year to grow 5.5-6%, driven by
domestic demand and production recovery. The inflation rate is expected
Foreign Minister: Thailand-Qatar to enhance cooperation in food security and energy
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) – The Foreign Minister has
disclosed that Thailand and Qatar are keen to elevate mutual cooperation
in the fields of food security and energy.
Following Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s official visit to Qatar
during the previous week, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has
disclosed that the leaders of both countries were content with the
progress of mutual friendship and cooperation. In addition, the two
premiers had also stressed their determination to enhance cooperation in
various fields of mutual interest.
Mr. Surapong pointed out that the PM regards the Thai-Qatari economic
partnership an important matter of concern. Thus, she has urged the
private sector of both countries to elevate their level of cooperation
in the fields of food security, tourism investment, and energy.
The Minister stated that on the occasion of the PM’s official visit,
Thailand and Qatar have signed an agreement on the recruitment of Thai
workforce in Qatar, an MOU on health cooperation, an agreement on
cultural cooperation, and an agreement on cooperation in the field of
trade and investment in agricultural products and commodities,
especially halal food.
Qatar is an important partner of Thailand in the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) and in the Middle Eastern region. Meanwhile, Thailand,
with its strategic location in the Southeast Asian region, will become
Qatar’s gateway and hub of ASEAN and nearby regions once the ASEAN
Community is established in 2015.
PM to chair ESCAP meeting and budget bill deliberation today
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is today
scheduled to chair and deliver inaugural statements at the 68th annual
Commission Session of ESCAP under the theme, “Enhancing Regional
Economic Integration in Asia and the Pacific” at the United Nations
Conference Centre in Bangkok.
The meeting followed Ms Yingluck’s return from the 4th mobile cabinet
meeting in Kanchanaburi province yesterday.
The premier is also set to chair a cabinet meeting today to deliberate
on the Budget Bill at the Government House.
Meanwhile, Bhumjaithai party spokesperson Suphachai Chaisamut said that
after a meeting with party members and representatives of the National
Budget Bureau, the party is planning to question the government’s
projected spending for the next fiscal year during the deliberation
Mr Suphachai elaborated that the party will begin its session to
question the budget bill on projects related to the current government’s
water management plans, Thai Medicare card scheme, and budget proposals
by the Ministries of Agriculture and Cooperatives and Tourism and
Sports. The session is expected to last 3 days.
DPM insists on 2013 budget bill transparency
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) – The Deputy Prime
Minister has indicated that the entire process of budget-making for the
2013 fiscal year is transparent and free of corruption.
Deputy Prime Minister Pol. Capt. Chalerm Yubumrung has insisted that the
drafting of the 2013 Budget Bill had been carried out with absolute
transparency. The overall budget draft for the 2013 stands at 2.4
trillion baht, which is an increase of 20 billion baht from that of the
previous year. He pointed out that the new budget will facilitate more
investment as well as the implementation of urgent policies.
One of the key focuses of the 2013 Budget Bill deliberation is education
given the government's aim to prepare Thailand for its integration into
the ASEAN Community in 2015. Thus, the Education Ministry's budget
proposal stands highest at 460 billion baht.
Meanwhile, the Deputy PM also explained that the increased budget for
drug eradication is a reflection of the government’s seriousness to put
an end to the chronic social problem.
The parliament session to deliberate the 2013 Budget Bill, now underway,
is scheduled to last 3 days from 21 to 23 May.
SET: Listed companies earn 210 billion baht profit in Q1
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) – The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has
revealed that the economy has recovered well from the flood, as the
first quarter profit of listed companies stand at 210 billion baht.
SET President Jarumporn Chotikasatian said companies in various fields
earned huge profits during the first quarter of this year. The net
profit for agriculture and food, service, and resource sectors in
particular have increased by 22% profit from the previous year's.
He stated the profits earned in the first quarter have increased from
the the figure of the fourth quarter last year as well as from that of
the same period of last year, coinciding with the improving economy
after the flood.
Listed companies with most profits in the first quarter are PTT, PTT
Exploration and Production (PTTEP), Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), Siam
Commercial Bank (SCB), and PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC).
Commerce Minister: High G-to-G demand for Thai rice
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) – Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has
boasted that many foreign countries are keen to make
government-to-government (G2G) purchases of rice from Thailand.
Following his visit to Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, Mr.
Boonsong said that Thai rice export under G2G contracts is expected to
stand at over 2 million tonnes this year given many countries' interest
to purchase rice from Thailand and the signing of the MoUs with a number
of foreign countries, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The Minister explained that the soaring demand for G2G rice deals will
push this year's total rice export quantity up to 8.5-9 million tonnes.
Mr. Boonsong added that during his discussion with the UAE’s Ministry of
Economy, he has proposed the five rice producers of the ASEAN region,
including Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, as a rice set
up a reserve rice stock for the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC), comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.
The UAE has agreed to the possibility of cooperation between ASEAN and
the GCC and has assigned its Department of International Trade
Negotiation to follow up on the progress.
CP believes AEC will benefit Thailand
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) – Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) has urged the
government to come up with clear strategies in leading the Thai private
sector into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, believing Thai
entrepreneurs could greatly benefit from the integration.
CP Vice President Sarasin Veerapol said all sides must join hands in
walking Thailand toward the ASEAN Community. He indicated that Thailand
has a geographical advantage from its location in the heart of ASEAN;
hence its potential to become the center of ASEAN in many aspects.
Mr Sarasin said that Thai workers must improve their skills in order to
attract large foreign investors. Besides, the government must be more
transparent while civil servants must uphold their responsibilities and
refrain from being anyone’s political tool.
The CP Vice President saw that Thailand could reap great benefits from
the ASEAN integration. Additionally, he urged the government to solve
the rising living cost at haste, explaining that the factory or farm
prices of consumer goods are indeed relatively low, unlike the retail
Meanwhile, Mr Apirak Kosayodhin, Economic Development Sub-committee
Chairman, said the government’s 300-baht minimum wage policy has made
Thailand less attractive to investors. He explained that Thailand must
improve workers’ skills as well as production efficiency, particularly
for SME owners who may not be ready for the rising competition.
Interior Ministry issues measures to ease Thais’ utility expenses
BANGKOK, 21 May 2012 (NNT) - The Ministry of Interior
is collaborating with its arm of state enterprises to assist Thai people
with their basic infrastructure expenses in the midst of rising cost of
Secretary to the Interior Minister Mr. Padung Limcharoen conceded that
the upcoming new school term may be adding extra expenses to the already
increasing household bills of Thai families. He assured that the
Interior Ministry understands the problem and has come up with a set of
measures that would alleviate people’s burden from their hefty payments
on basic infrastructure, such as water and electricity.
Both the Provincial Waterworks Authority and the Metropolitan Waterworks
Authority have agreed to allow people to pay their water bills for the
month of May in three installments until August. As for the May
electricity bills, the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the
Provincial Electricity Authority will postpone the due date for one
People who wish to receive these privileges can contact their local
water and electricity authority. The assistance will be granted upon
In addition, water dispensing machines will be installed throughout
Bangkok by the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority to provide drinking
water to the general public at the cost of only 1 baht per 5 liters. The
Market Organization will also open its booths to sell fresh food and
farm products at low prices at various state enterprise offices that are
under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior.