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First car' tax refund submissions reach nearly Bt100 bln in value

BANGKOK, Dec 31 - Tax refund submissions in the government's 'first car' scheme has reached nearly Bt100 billion in value.

Excise Department Director-General Somchai Poonsawat said the taxes the government will have to refund to first car owners, at no more than Bt100,000/car, has so far reached Bt91 billion from about 1.25 million car owners, as of 4:30pm on December 31, the last day for refund submissions, but which can be done until midnight if submitted online.

He said about 10 per cent of tax submission have been done through the internet, while sedans top the type of vehicles for which refunds are being sought at some 737,000 units, followed by other four-door vehicles and pick-up trucks.

Mr Somchai said about 5,000 first car owners submitted documents for tax refunds yesterday.

The Bt91 billion to be rebated is threefold higher than previously forecast, he noted.

About 47,000 persons have already been granted the refunds at the value of Bt3.4 billion.

The director-general said the government is expected to use around Bt20 billion to pay back the refunds from the 2013 fiscal year, from the earlier expected amount of Bt7 billion and Bt18 billion respectively.

Up to Bt35 billion is forecast to be spent for the 'first car' scheme in the 2014 fiscal year, he said.

Those wishing to submit documents online for refunds can log on through / until midnight. (MCOT online news)

Government asserts Bt2 trillion loans manageable

BANGKOK, Dec 28 – The Thai government’s plan to seek Bt2 trillion loans will raise the country’s public debt to 49.9 per cent in 2016, a level which is manageable, according to the Finance Ministry.

Chularat Sutheethorn, director of the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO), said a bill on the Bt2 trillion loans for infrastructure investment will be proposed by the government to parliament next year, adding that the amount of loans remain lower than the required fiscal sustainability level of 60 per cent.

She said the PDMO will start securing loans in the 2014 budget year if the bill is passed.

Apart from the Bt2 trillion loans, the PDMO will need to seek additional lending for several other projects in the next seven years including Bt340 billion for water management. The government has already acquired Bt10 billion for that purpose.

She said the PDMO plans to issue bonds in international markets for the Bt340 billion expenditure.

Ms Chularat added that Thailand’s outstanding public debt as of October this year was Bt4.82 trillion (about US$156 billion) or 43.27 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). (MCOT online news)

THAI boosts air, ground services for New Year passenger surge

BANGKOK, Dec 27 – Thai Airways International (THAI) will add 26 domestic and international flights during the New Year’s holiday to serve 7,000 more passengers, according to a company executive.

THAI President Sorajak Kasemsuvan said more ground staff will be on duty between December 28 and January 3 to facilitate inbound and outbound passengers.

It is projected that 19 million passengers will have flown on the national flag carrier this year, he said, adding that more staff will be hired next year to cope with increasing passenger load after THAI promotes its services using the Airbus A380-800 on three routes: Bangkok-Hong Kong, Bangkok-Tokyo (Narita Airport) and Bangkok-Frankfurt.

Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suwannatat inspected THAI ground service at Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday to ensure convenience for passengers during the busy holiday season.

The airline is currently short of ground staff by 30-50 per cent but management has been instructed to assign sufficient staff during the New Year, he said. (MCOT online news)

Bids for investment incentives rocket to Bt1 trillion

BANGKOK, Dec 27 – Applications for investment privileges in Thailand jumped to a historic volume of Bt1 trillion during Jan 1-Dec 20 this year, according to the Industry Ministry.

Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said most of the 2,180 applied projects involved infrastructure, energy, automotive spare parts and processed agricultural products.

Foreign investors. especially the Japanese, will continue to expand their investments next year and applications for investment privileges should be as high as this year, he said.

The Board of Investment (BoI), chaired by Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, yesterday approved 32 projects with a total investment of Bt108 billion (US$36 billion).

Most of the newly-applied projects are related to automotive spare parts and tyres which have grown rapidly thanks to the government’s tax exemption for first-car buyers, alternative energy and air cargo service.

The BoI Board of Directors has approved a new investment promotion policy which should be implemented in the next 6-7 months after hearings with all related sectors, Mr Prasert said.

The minister said listed companies in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) and the SET Market for Alternative Investment have been told to gradually reduce their employment of unskilled migrant workers in the next two years by laying them off at the rate of 25 per cent every six months.

Investment privileges in three southern border provinces will be extended for two years in an attempt to assist investors whose businesses have been affected by the insurgency, Mr Prasert said.

BoI Secretary General Udom Wongviwatchai said the measure requiring Thai employers to lay off migrant workers within two years was aimed at boosting local employment.

A total of 101 companies in Thailand legally hire about 9,000 migrant workers, mostly in the textile industry. (MCOT online news)

Government stimulus a blessing to Thailand’s GDP growth

BANGKOK, Dec 27 – Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year is adjusted upward slightly from 5.5 per cent to 5.7 per cent mainly due to the government stimulus actions in various projects, according to the Finance Ministry.

Somchai Sujjapongse, director general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said domestic consumption is its highest in eight years given the government policy on the Bt300 daily minimum wage, a salary increase for civil servants, the rice pledging scheme, tax exemption for first time car buyers and first time homeowners, and the gradual reduction of corporate income taxes.

He said Thailand’s growing export volume in the last three months will contribute to an export expansion to 4.5 per cent from an earlier estimation of 3.9 per cent.

Consumption in the private sector rose by 5.6 per cent from the original prediction of 3-4 per cent while private investment has increased from 14.1 per cent to 16.1 per cent.

It was earlier estimated that foreign tourists to Thailand this year would be 21.7 million people but the latest report showed 22 million visitors and that the inflation rate will be 3 per cent – a decline from last year in accord with the global trend of cheaper oil prices and commodities, Mr Somchai said.

The unemployment rate is 0.6 per cent and public debt 43.9 per cent – lower than the fiscal consolidation of 60 per cent.

He projected next year’s economic growth at 5 per cent thanks to the reduction of corporate income tax to 20 per cent and personal income tax and the government’s massive investment .

Palm farmers lack refineries to purchase produce

CHUMPHON, Dec 26 – Palm planters in this southern province, successful in pressing for government intervention to elevate the price they receive for palm nuts, are encountering a new challenge – there are not enough palm oil refineries to buy their produce.

Trucks loaded with palm nuts have queued at all refineries in the province as farmers wait patiently to sell their produce. The price of palm nuts has increased to Bt4-4.35 per kg thanks to the government’s partial subsidy following the farmers’ protest against declining prices.

Farmers said they have to wait a few days to sell their palm nuts to refineries. Those who have no trucks have to sell their produce to middlemen at less than Bt3 per kg.

Chumphon currently has 45,000 palm planters and nine refineries. Planting palm nuts is widespread in many southern provinces of Thailand due to the favourable prices in the last several years plus government encouragement to expand production of the crop.

New Year spending expected to reach several billion baht, highest in 7 years

BANGKOK, Dec 24 - Thailand's spending during the New Year period is expected to reach several billions of baht, which will be the highest amount in seven years, according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce University's Economic and Business Forecasting Center.

Center director Thanawat Polvichai said a survey on Thais' consumption behaviour during the festive season recently conducted demonstrated that spending would reach some Bt105 billion, a 15.6 per cent increase year-on-year.

Factors driving such result include the public's less concern on the US and EU economies, the government's support on the rice pledging scheme, the Bt300 minimum wage, and the 'first-time carbuyer' tax refund policy.

However, Dr Thanawat said the public are still careful in spending due to some worries on the country's economic situation. They would buy the same amount of goods but with higher value.

Those surveyed said they are planning their expenses on parties (29 per cent), followed by merit-making, buying consumer goods, luxury merchandise, durable products, and tourism.

Some 89 per cent of those voting for tourism said they plan to travel in Thailand with a forecast expense of about Bt49 billion. The rest, some 11 per cent, will travel abroad with expected spending of Bt27 billion.

Some 71 per cent said the Thai economy next year will improve slightly at 4-5 per cent with internal politics, particularly the referendum issue, regarded as one of the risk factors.

What the public worries most about during the New Year celebration is road accidents, traffic, insufficient pubic transport, and higher consumer goods prices.

When asked which politician they most wished to give a New Year’s present, some 53 per cent said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, followed by opposition Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, and the outspoken Chuwit Kamolvisit. (MCOT online news)

Thai automotive manufacturers jubilant as car sales break record

BANGKOK, Dec 25 – Thailand made another historic record with skyrocketing sales of 1.3 million cars in the first 11 months of this year, an automotive industrialist said today.

Vudhigorn Suriyachantananond, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Thailand, said the newest record, representing a 74.7 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period of last year, is broken down into 601,000 sedans or a 79.7 per cent increase, and 690,000 cars for commercial purposes or a 70.5 per cent increase. Cars for commercial purposes are mainly pick-up trucks.

The car sales volume in November alone reached 148,000 units, representing a great leap by 477 per cent – the highest sales volume per month in history. The sales of sedans (77,700 units) were five times higher and cars for commercial purposes (70,500 units) were four times higher than in November last year.

During the Thailand Motor Show in Bangkok early this month, consumers reserved more than 85,000 sedans and vehicles for commercial purposes. (MCOT online news)

Govt says B7BN tax system overhaul loss 'Acceptable'

BANGKOK, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong conceded yesterday the overhaul of the personal income tax structure would cost the state seven billion in revenue, but said the loss was acceptable.

Under the revamped tax structure, personal income tax rates, subject to progressive tax rates, are divided into seven brackets.

Those with a yearly income of 150-thousand baht or less will not be affected by the change. They remain exempt from income tax.

Those in the second-lowest bracket who earn between 150-thousand baht and 300-thousand baht will be taxed at 5%. Those who earn between 300 thousand and 1 baht to 500-thousand baht will be taxed at 10% while those in the 500-thousand and 1 to 750-thousand baht bracket will be taxed 15%, down from 20%.

Those who earn between 750-thousand and 1 baht to one million baht will be taxed 20%, the same as the current rate. Those who earn between one million baht and two million baht will be taxed 25%, down from 30%, while those who earn between 2,000,001 baht and four million baht will be taxed 30%.

Those who earn greater than four million baht will be taxed 35%, down from 37% currently.

Mr Kittiratt said that while high-income earners may not benefit much from the new table, low income earners will be able to save more.


Thailand enjoys higher economic growth this year

BANGKOK, Dec 25 – Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year will be higher than the original target of 5.5 per cent due to increasing consumption and investment in the private sector, according to a senior Finance Ministry official.

Somchai Sujjapongse, director general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said private consumption reached 5.2 per cent – a historic record in eight years. The highest consumption growth in the past was only 3-4 per cent.

With a rocketing result this year, the GDP next year should slow down to 4-5 per cent, contributing to a more balanced economy compared to this year, he said.

State investment, increased exports, private consumption and investment will be the driving factors for the country’s economic growth, Mr Somchai said.

He said Thailand’s economy will stabilise next year, whether according to the inflation rate or international reserves, while financial institutions will be strong this year and next year thanks to the average Bank of International Settlements (BIS) ratio at 15 per cent, much higher than the imposed BIS ratio of 8.5 per cent. Commercial banks’ non-performing loans are only 2 per cent and revenue growth is satisfactory, he said.

The improved global economy and Thailand’s increased exports will partly contribute to a projected 5 per cent economic growth next year while the core driving factors will be the state’s massive investment of up to Bt2 trillion (about USD65 billion) in transport infrastructure and spending on water management which was delayed this year.

Mr Somchai said at least Bt100 billion (more than $3 billion) will be injected into the economic system next year now that bid winners of various state projects have been announced.

He pointed out that several external factors may impact Thailand and need to be closely monitored, including the global economy, the Sino-Japanese conflict in the South China Sea, general elections in Germany and Italy, the United States’ launching of quantitative easing, or QE3 and QE4, and the strong Japanese currency which led to money flow into Asia and Thailand. (MCOT online news)

Public Health Ministry launches herbal gift baskets

BANGKOK, 21 December (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has launched eight types of herbal gift baskets for health conscious consumers for the New Year period.

According to Deputy Public Health Minister Dr Chonlanan Sikaew, the newly launched gift baskets are not only alcohol-free but also filled with local herbal products and fruits with nutritious or therapeutic properties.

Examples of these baskets include the Tri Than Thip gift set featuring three types of herbal juice, comprising Triphala which has cancer fighting properties, Malva nut which can cleanse the intestine and Roselle which can reduce blood pressure.

The Benja Kesorn tea set is packed with pollens from five types of flower which are Sarapee, Jasmine, Bullet wood, Cobra’s saffron and Sacred lotus which are cardio-tonic and refreshing.

Other gift sets are fruit baskets, products made of lotus, products made of nine types of grain, products made of ten types of spice, books on traditional Thai medicines as well as a set of five herbal plants.

The eight types of gift baskets can be purchased at all branches of Chao Praya Apai Phubet shops and numerous department stores.


Thailand's fuel import hits new record high

BANGKOK, 21 December 2012 (NNT) - Thailand has has broken its fuel import record, as it increased to over one trillion baht this year.

According to Energy Business Department Director-General Veerapol Jirapraditthakil, the total imports of crude and refined oils and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in 2012 have reached 929-thousand barrels per day worth over 1.1-trillion baht.

This figure is the highest in Thailand’s history and surpasses the 837-thousand barrels per day or 1.03-trillion baht last year in a sharp increase in demand and rising price of crude oil and LPG.

Meanwhile, the use of natural gas vehicles for cars has jumped 20.6 percent to 7.7-million kilograms of daily consumption, followed by an 11 percent increase in LPG consumption at 605-thousand kilograms monthly.

Mr Veerapol expected that the government will subsidize fuel consumption at 95.4-billion baht this year, while oil consumption next year will expand by 4-to-5 percent.


Daily Update


Back to Main Page

First car' tax refund submissions reach nearly Bt100 bln in value

Government asserts Bt2 trillion loans manageable

THAI boosts air, ground services for New Year passenger surge

Bids for investment incentives rocket to Bt1 trillion

Government stimulus a blessing to Thailand’s GDP growth

Palm farmers lack refineries to purchase produce

New Year spending expected to reach several billion baht, highest in 7 years

Thai automotive manufacturers jubilant as car sales break record

Govt says B7BN tax system overhaul loss 'Acceptable'

Thailand enjoys higher economic growth this year

Public Health Ministry launches herbal gift baskets

Thailand's fuel import hits new record high




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