Thailand’s industrial growth to slow slightly this year
BANGKOK, Jan 28 – Thailand's Ministry of Industry today
predicted this year’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the
industrial sector will expand by 4-5 per cent, lower than last
year’s growth of 5.5-6.5 per cent.
Industrial Economics Office director Nuttapol Nuttasomboon said
the 4-5 per cent industrial GDP growth is based on an average
exchange rate of Bt31 against the US dollar while the
manufacturing production index (MPI) will be 3.5-4.5 per cent
higher and the volume of industrial exports will reach Bt6.2
Positive components leading to last year’s industrial growth
were domestic consumption, government investment in major
projects and expanded investment in the private sector due to
state stimulus packages such as the tax rebate on first-car
purchases and reduction of the policy interest rate, he said,
adding that the pressure from oil price and inflation was rather
mild while the Asian economy is stronger.
Mr Nuttapol, however, cautioned that risks remain in the
industrial sector, especially when the global economy has yet to
fully recover and the Bt300 daily minimum wage has posed an
additional financial burden to manufacturers.
If the Thai currency appreciates by Bt1 per US dollar and the
government fails to extend assistance, the value of industrial
exports will possibly fall by about Bt200,000 or 2.8 per cent
this year, contributing to a reduced GDP in the industrial
sector by 1 per cent, he said.
Most affected industries will be rubber, furniture, jewellery,
electrical appliances and electronics products, he said.
Mr Nuttapol called on the government to rely less on export to
lead the country to sustainable economic structure.
Regarding the automotive industry, he said this year’s vehicle
production will reach 2.5 million units, a 2.57 per cent
increase from last year, while 1.25 million units will be
exported. (MCOT online news)
Central bank sees signs of depreciating Thai currency
BANGKOK, Jan 28 – Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor Prasarn
Trairatvorakul said today that the latest market adjustment has
resulted in a weakened Thai baht after two straight weeks of
He admitted that the movement of the Thai currency is
fluctuating but the central bank is closing monitoring the
situation to ensure that the Thai baht moves in tandem with
other currencies in the market.
Mr Prasarn said the BoT is ready to discuss with the Federation
of Thai Industries (FTI) its seven-point proposal to help
manufacturers who have been negatively affected by the
appreciating Thai baht.
“In fact the central bank has taken action on some of the FTI’s
proposals. We are ready to take into consideration exporters’
request to extend the one-year deadline for holding US dollars
but a time frame is necessary, or it will be too risky” he said.
He urged exporters to rely more on local currencies in their
international trade to alleviate the risk of currency
Mr Prasarn said the BoT’s close monitoring has not found any
attacks on the Thai baht and the inflow of foreign funds is
mostly to invest for the short term in the bond market. (MCOT
Industrialist says stronger Thai baht only short term
BANGKOK, Jan 28 – A senior Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)
officer predicted that the appreciation of Thai baht will be
short term given its slight depreciation today.
FTI Secretary-General Thanit Sorat said the rapid strength of
the Thai currency was mainly due to the inflow of foreign funds
to turn a profit in Thailand where interest rates are higher
than in western countries.
Interest rates from the government’s bonds provide 3-3.5 per
cent yields, higher by 1 per cent than in the US and Europe, he
said, expressing belief that the inflow of foreign funds for
speculative investment in the Thai stock market will gradually
slow down and the central bank has closely monitored the
The current profit earning ratio in the Thai stock market has
increased 16 fold which is rather high, he said.
He added that manufacturers and exporters in the automotive and
electronics industries have cashed in on the strong Thai baht
while small and medium-size businesses are on the losing side
due to higher prices of imported raw materials.
The appreciating currency has weakened Thai exporters’
competitive edge by 1-2 per cent due to higher product prices
but they are more concerned with the fluctuating currency
movement rather than the strong baht, he said.
The most important factor favouring export growth is the
economic stability of Thailand's trading partners, not the
country's currency strength or weakness, he said, citing an
example in 2011 when the Thai baht was Bt29 to a US dollar but
Thailand enjoyed a 14-15 per cent export growth. (MCOT online
PM Yingluck pledges to keep public debt level below 50% of GDP
BANGKOK, 27 January 2013 (NNT) – The Prime Minister has assured
that the Pheu Thai-led government will strictly adhere to
financial disciplines in outlining the borrowing plan for the
country’s basic infrastructure projects.
Speaking on "The Yingluck Government Meets the People" weekly TV
program, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reiterated the
government’s plan to implement a set of national strategic
policies for the 2014 fiscal year to move Thailand forward.
According to the Premier, these strategies involve various
aspects, including the enhancement of the country’s
competitiveness with an aim to turn Thailand into a
middle-income country status, the reduction of economic,
political and social inequalities, the promotion of economic
growth with an emphasis on the quality of life, and the seeking
of a balance of and the improvement of the state administrative
PM Yingluck affirmed that the government’s borrowing plan for
more than 2.2 trillion baht would adhere to strict fiscal
disciplines while affirming to keep the level of public debt
below 50% of GDP.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said that the
government has been pushing for the construction of the rail
transport systemto help lower logistics costs in Thailand.
He added that the state investment in the high-speed train
system, introduced to enhance the distribution of goods, is
expected to proceed to the construction biddings for 4 lines,
including Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima,
Bangkok- Pattaya, and Bangkok-Hua Hin, before the end of this
Local LPG price hike to begin in April
BANGKOK, 27 January 2013 (NNT) – The price of liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) will be gradually increased from April,
according to the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO).
EPPO Director-General Suthep Liumsirijarern said that the
country’s LPG price will be increased by 50 Satang every month
for a period of 1 year, starting this April.
Mr. Suthep stated that the monthly increase will add a total of
6 baht to a kilo of LPG, which is now priced at 18.13 baht per
He added that, by next March, Thai LPG price will rise to be in
line with its cost of 24.82 baht a kilo.
When asked about of the National Energy Policy Committee meeting
on February 8, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra, Mr. Suthep said that the meeting will request an
approval to extend the fixed price for LPG of 18.13 baht another
3 months, or from January to March.
The LPG price pegging policy was supposed to expire since
December 31, 2012.
BoT might allow exporters to hold foreign currencies longer
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor
Mr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul said the bank will consider allowing
exporters to keep foreign currencies longer in a bid to better
manage their financial health as the baht is showing no sign of
According to Mr. Prasarn, the BoT will look into exporters’ as
well as the private sector’s requests to extend the time they
are allowed to hold foreign money. The extension is deemed as a
tool to safeguard them against impacts from drastic fluctuations
in the baht currency at the moment.
The governor affirmed that the central bank will do all it can
to help keep the business sector afloat. He also said any
suggestions from the Federation of Thai Industries regarding
measures to cope with the baht appreciation will be most
welcomed. However, he admitted that the BoT has not had the
chance to discuss the matter with the federation yet.
Mr. Prasarn explained that the recent decline of the Thai baht
was in line with the market mechanism. Nonetheless, he warned
businessmen to be cautious as the global economy remains
unstable and the baht has a tendency to fluctuate again.
DBD speedily uplifts Thai service businesses ahead of AEC
BANGKOK, 28 January 2013 (NNT) - The Department of Business
Development DBD is speedily enhancing the Thai service sector in
line with its 2013 strategy in order to prepare Thailand for the
introduction of ASEAN Economic Community.
According to Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua, he has
assigned the DBD to help the Thai entrepreneurs improve their
businesses, especially those in the service industry, to be in
line with the standard in the international market.
While the department last year focused on 3 major businesses,
including restaurants, spas, and elderly care services, it will
attend to 4 more segments this year: massage, software
development, auto-maintenance, and accommodation businesses that
are not hotels or resorts.
All the strategies implemented this year will be under the AEC
framework, which allows commerce and trade to be conducted
without barriers among members. Therefore, the Thai
entrepreneurs must gear themselves up for fiercer competitions
brought on by the advent of the AEC.
Think tank warns of surging public debt, overspending
BANGKOK, Jan 25 – The Thailand Development Research Institute
(TDRI) urged the government to reduce the country’s public debt,
especially due to the annual Bt200 billion loss incurred from
the highly-criticised rice pledging scheme which is set to drag
on to 2017.
Somchai Jitsuchon, a leading TDRI economist, said today that
investment in infrastructure in preparation for the ASEAN
Economic Community, water management projects and the new
corporate tax structure are some of the factors contributing to
escalating public debts in 2013-2017.
He forecasts that Thailand’s economy this year will grow at
least 5 per cent with inflation at 2.8 per cent, while export
will be slightly higher than last year at 4.2 per cent.
The government should control public spending and adjust some
projects he described as being exhorbitant while increasing
certain taxes such as the land tax, construction tax and value
Debt per capita will exceed 60 per cent if Thailand’s annual
economic growth is lower than 6 per cent, the TDRI economist
said, indicating that successful spending control will result in
public debt control.
Somkiat Tangkitvanich, TDRI president, said the Bt300 daily
minimum wage has boosted workers’ income, but negatively
impacted some small-sized businesses in several industries.
The TDRI proposed that the government announce 2013-2022 as a
decade of productivity growth for Thailand’s businesses by
boosting labour skills, investment in research and development
and launching education reform. (MCOT online news)
Transport Ministry to spend Bt3 billion in airport development nationwide
BANGKOK, Jan 25 - Civil Aviation Department plans to spend a
three billion baht budget to construct and develop six Thailand
airports nationwide to link with transportation routes with
other countries in ASEAN, according to Director-General Voradej
The six airports include Betong Airport in Yala province (Bt1
billion budget to be complete in 2015), Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai
International Airport (Bt1 billion budget for runway expansion
and construction of a new terminal to be finished within three
years), Nakhon Ratchasima Airport (Bt400 million for runway
expansion of 2,500 metres), Ubon Ratchathani Airport (Bt300
million budget for development to support large aircraft), Udon
Thani Airport (Bt270 million to improve its passenger terminal
within two years), and Narathiwat Airport.
Mr Voradej said the airport improvement is in accord with the
government's policy to make Thailand as a centre to connect
transport among ASEAN people, while benefits are to be offered
as an incentive to attract airlines to use Thailand's airports.
He said service systems in all airports will also be improved,
while passengers will be expected to spend no more than one hour
at an airport, from the current almost three hours.
On a related matter, as ASEAN member states reached a
multilateral agreement on air transport liberalisation, he said
all countries are expected to ratify the agreement before the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) takes effect in 2015, despite
some problems on the matter in Laos, Indonesia, and the
According to Mr Voradej, more than 10 airlines have recently
registered with Thailand's Civil Aviation Department for
aviation business operations. The trend continues to rise, he
said. Most of them provide charter flights. (MCOT online news)
Thailand to upgrade its airports to prepare for AEC
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT) – The Department of Civil
Aviation is preparing to upgrade provincial airports in a bid to
accommodate increased air travel from 2015, when the ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) comes into being.
Director-General of the Department of Civil Aviation Woradej
Harnprasert said air transport services in Thailand need to be
improved in preparation for the country’s integration into the
ASEAN Community. The department plans to propose a budget of
over 1.7 billion baht to carry out repair work and expand
sections in airports nationwide.
Mr Woradej said the department will inject a fund of 760 million
baht to expand runways and construct additional terminals at Mae
Sot Airport in Tak province. A new airport is also poised to be
built in Betong district of Yala province with an investment of
1 billion baht.
He voiced his belief that the kingdom is fully prepared to
become a regional aviation hub once the AEC is realized in the
next couple of years.
Special Report: Industry group blames rice pledging program for drop in rice export
Thailand lost its crown as the world’s top rice exporter last
year to India and Vietnam while an industry group blames the
government’s rice-pledging program for the drop in exports.
According to the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the kingdom
exported 6.9 million tonnes in 2012, down 35.5% from the 10.7
million tonnes it shipped in 2011. Of the 6.9 million tonnes
Thailand exported, around 1.7 million were registered as
government-to-government deals. Meanwhile, the US Department of
Agriculture’s figures report that Vietnam’s rice exports for
last year reached 7.6 million tonnes while India's exceeded 9.5
The exporters' association blamed the country's drop in exports
on the rice-pledging scheme, under which the government has
agreed to buy unhusked white rice from farmers at a fixed price
of 15,000 baht (US$484) per tonne, which is 50 percent more than
the market price and high-quality jasmine at 20,000 baht per
The government has said it will continue the scheme, which is
one of the ruling Pheu Thai Party's election pledges, throughout
2013. The scheme has been hailed by local farmers as it boosted
their incomes, but analysts warn that it compromises Thailand's
Since it started the scheme in October 2011, the government has
stockpiled more than 10 million tonnes of rice as the price of
Thai rice jumped to nearly $200 above its competitors on the
international market. The World Bank last month estimated that
Thailand would lose 115 billion baht on last year's stockpiled
rice if it was forced to sell at current prices.
The Yingluck administration has defended the program by arguing
that buying rice at above market prices will not impact exports
because Thailand has the highest quality rice and therefore can
sell it abroad at higher prices.
At the moment, Thai exports are being further hindered by the
strengthening baht currency, which the government blames partly
on quantitative easing by the central banks of the U.S. and
Japan. With the Thai currency appreciating to nearly 30 baht
against the US dollar, the Federation of Thai Industries has
expressed concerns that the strong baht could affect Thailand’s
BOI to hold seminar on investment promotion in East
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT) - The Board of Investment of
Thailand (BOI) is urgently clarifying its new investment
promotion policy to investors nationwide, especially those in
the eastern region where investment is continuously expanding.
A seminar will be held for the eastern investors to explain the
BOI’s new investment promotion policy and listen to the
investors’ opinions. Conclusions from the seminar will be used
in designing strategies specifically for investment promotion in
the region. In 2012, the BOI approved support for 768 projects
worth more than 300 billion baht. Most of them are in the
automotive, mechanical parts, metal, petrochemical, paper and
plastic, and service and utility industries.
The new investment promotion policy of the BOI entails
privileges that motivate investors to put their money into
research and development as well as environmental protection and
encourage more investment in industrial estates and industrial
clusters. Investment in these fields is in line with the
country’s development direction towards a more knowledge-based
Special Report: Food security standard set up to improve trade within and beyond ASEAN
As the ASEAN Economic Community is approaching, the grouping has
come up with many agreements to facilitate trading within the
region and beyond. The standard for food security is also an
important step for the region to move forwards to being world’s
top food producer.
ASEAN, in 2006, set up the ASEAN Good Agricultural Practices for
fresh fruit and vegetables, known as GAP, as a standard practice
for farmers and transporters to follow. The GAP is considered a
step forward for the improvement of regional producers, as it
prevents risks associated with production, harvesting, and
post-harvest handling of fresh produce.
The GAP has been designed under four modules: food safety,
environmental management, worker health and safety, and produce
quality. Once all farmers and distributors follow the
procedures, consumers will be guaranteed of the food quality and
their own safety. This practice will earn trusts from European
and US importers in terms of food standards in ASEAN.
Besides, farmers must also follow the Maximum Residue Limits
(MRL), which is the maximum amount of chemical allowed in fruit
and vegetables for sale. Fruit such as mango, pineapple, durian,
papaya, grapefruit, and rambutan also have their own ASEAN
quality standard to make sure that they are suitable for
consumption after going through all the preparation and
Additionally, livestock farmers must also abide by standards for
animal vaccines and the criteria for accreditation of livestock
establishments, which have been endorsed for all ASEAN farmers.
In other areas, ASEAN is strengthening its genetically modified
food testing network, developing guidelines on good management
practices for shrimp, developing a code of conduct for
responsible fisheries, and implementing the Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control Point (HACCP) in the fish production and
In 2004, the ASEAN Food Safety Network was established as a
platform for ASEAN officials to exchange information on food
As for Thailand, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Yukol
Limlamthong has said Thailand's agro industry is now ready for
the formation of ASEAN Economic community (AEC), given Thai
agricultural products are of higher standard when compared to
those of other countries; in addition, over 200 Thai
agricultural products have already been standardized.
According to the minister, the National Bureau of Agricultural
Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) has been promoting the Thai
products in the ASEAN market, relying on their quality to set
the benchmark for this region. He also pointed out that Thailand
stands to enjoy the benefits of lower production cost than many
other nations, which will help Thai exporters compete with their
counterparts in the ASEAN market.
UTCC: 300-baht wage policy triggers a rise in GDP by 1.4%
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013 (NNT) - The University of the Thai
Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) revealed that the 300 baht minimum
wage policy would help trigger the country's GDP by up to 1.4
UTCC Economic and Business Forecasting Center Director Thanawat
Polvichai said the 300 baht wage scheme that took effect
nationwide on January 1st would inject 150 billion baht into the
Thai economic system, resulting in an increase of people’s
purchasing power. He elaborated that the 7 pilot provinces that
the wage policy has been pressed forward since April last year,
would send over 80 billion baht into the labor market, while
another 70 billion would be circulated in the rest of the
country. As a result, the increased amount of money injected
into the Thai economy will drive up the country’s GDP by 1-1.4
He said the daily wage adjustment does not just trigger the
economy, but people can save up money and pay back their debts.
However, he pointed out that the government should also increase
the capability or potential of the labor in line with the wage
adjustment, so that the SME segment can be more productive,
which he said could prevent lay-offs or factory shut-down.
A UTCC survey shows that those companies affected by the wage
rise are mostly small and medium sized enterprises, especially
in the agricultural sector and labor-intensive service business.
However, it is still too early to assess the production cost,
employment and profit decline, and the number of factory
shut-down for the moment.
New rice stock under pledging scheme to be auctioned
BANGKOK, Jan 24 – Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has
ordered a new bid for rice under the rice pledging scheme given
increasing demand in the local market.
He said the Thai Rice Packers Association and the Thai Rice Mill
Association are keen to buy rice from the government’s stock,
while farmers have sold nine million tonnes of rice to the
government from their current crop under the rice pledging
Mr Boonsong pledged that the government’s warehouses are capable
of stocking the rice even though the Marketing Organisation for
Farmers was instructed to find additional storage locations.
An estimated 11-12 million tonnes of rice will be bought by the
Commerce Ministry under the pledging scheme in this harvest
year, and rice has been gradually distributed to buyers since
December, he said.
Korn Chatikavanij, former finance minister and Democrat Party
deputy leader, said the government has not adhered to financial
discipline, particularly regarding the rice pledging scheme and
the water management projects under a Bt350 billion loan.
This Friday marks one year of the loan approval but only Bt4
billion has been earmarked, while the law sets June as the
deadline to allocate the entire loan, he said.
Theerachai Puvanartnaranubala, finance minister in the previous
Pheu Thai cabinet, said Thailand will encounter the problem of
having am unsustainable economy in the long term with the public
debt approaching a critical point.
Corruption, an inefficient bureaucratic system, state officials
subordinated to politicians and populism are some of the
challenging factors working against the country’s development,
he said. (MCOT online news)
Thailand posts 3.12% export growth, Bt543 billion trade deficit last year
BANGKOK, Jan 24 – Thailand’s trade deficit reached US$18.1
billion (Bt543 billion) last year when exports and imports
increased by 3.12 per cent and 8.22 per cent respectively from
2011, according to the Commerce Ministry.
The ministry reported that December’s exports at $18.1 billion
represent an increase by 13.45 per cent from December 2011 while
December’s imports totalled $20.5 billion, or 4.67 per cent
higher than December 2011.
Thailand’s trade deficit in December alone was $2.37 billion,
the ministry said.
The latest figure contrasted with an earlier forecast by Reuters
that Thai export and import growth in December should reach 21.1
per cent and 5.95 per cent respectively while the trade deficit
in the final month of 2012 was predicted at $1.33 billion.
Srirat Rastapana, director general of the International Trade
Promotion Department, blamed the ongoing European economic
crisis and sluggish economies in Japan, China and US for
Thailand’s unfavourable export growth in December.
The appreciating Thai currency is another factor that will
affect Thailand’s exports this year, especially among small- and
medium-sized businesses, according to the Commerce Ministry.
The ministry is optimistic, however, that the stronger baht will
not have a negative impact on Thailand’s exports this month.
The Commerce Ministry’s targetted export growth at 8-9 per cent
this year was based on an assumed exchange rate of Bt30 against
the US dollar. It will review the target in May.
The Thai currency appreciated to Bt29.77-29.80 against the US
dollar on Wednesday – the strongest in the last 17 months. (MCOT
World Bank says manipulation unrelated to stronger baht
BANGKOK, Jan 23 – A World Bank economist today ruled out an
attack on Thai currency as the factor leading to the rapid
appreciation of the baht.
Kirida Bhaopichitr, World Bank senior economist for East Asia
and Pacific, pointed to an influx of foreign funds moving into
Asia in general, as well as Thailand, to invest in stock markets
and short-term bonds, and high liquidity in the global financial
An upswing in the Thai baht currency is unstoppable if foreign
funds continue flowing into the country, she said, urging
exporters to be cautious regarding the fluctuations and risk
Businessmen and exporters adjusted well to the situation in the
past and they should have purchased risk insurance, she said,
adding that despite the baht appreciation, Thai exports once
expanded more than 10 per cent thanks to favourable global
economy and trade.
The strongest impact of exports is on global trade, not currency
appreciation or depreciation, while a stronger currency is
advantageous to the private sector in importing raw materials
and machines, Ms Kirida said.
The World Bank economist said the baht movement is moving in
tandem with regional currencies and the Bank of Thailand is
believed to be capable of managing the Thai currency or
intervening in the baht by buying US dollars.
Calling on the private sector to be cautious, Ms Kirida said the
influx of foreign funds is mainly for speculation in the stock
and bond markets – a short-term activity.
The Thai currency will be weakened and fluctuate once foreign
funds are pulled out, she warned.
A leading Thai industrialist earlier today blamed the rapid
appreciation of Thai currency on attack by speculators and urged
the government to tackle the problem by implementing a policy of
deterrence, not prevention. (MCOT online news)
Kittiratt: First-car scheme not to be blamed for awful traffic
BANGKOK, 23 January 2012 (NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Finance Kittiratt Na-Ranong has dismissed the
speculation that the worsening traffic congestion in Bangkok and
its vicinity is a result of the government’s first-car project.
Mr Kittiratt confirmed that the first-car tax rebate scheme was
not the cause of the growing traffic volume in the Bangkok
Metropolis, reasoning that only 26% of the new cars were
registered in the capital, whereas the rest were registered in
other provinces. He also noted that the vehicles under the
scheme had been delivered to the buyers in a gradual manner.
At the same time, Mr Kittiratt stated that the tax money that
would be returned to the first-car owners had been acquired from
the car buyers themselves as well as from other financial
sources of the government.
Regarding solutions to the problem of worsening traffic
conditions, the deputy premier said public transportation must
be improved for higher efficiency and convenience in order to
persuade people to use public service instead of personal cars.
He said he disagreed with a method to carry out more road
construction as roads would definitely not suffice the
increasing number of cars in the future.
Commerce Ministry sets team to promote Thai rice in China
BANGKOK, 23 January 2012 (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce is
urgently promoting Thai rice exports by sending trade
representatives to Shanghai late this month. The
representatives’ mission is to restore confidence of Chinese
consumers on the quality of Thai rice, especially Thai jasmine
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said on Wednesday that
the Thai representatives would include 6-7 major Thai rice
exporters in the Chinese market, such as CP Intertrade, Asia
Golden Rice and Uthai Produce. The representatives will visit
China between 24-26 January 2013 and meet with the mayor of
Shanghai as well as Chinese rice traders in a bid to negotiate
on the expansion of market for Thai rice. The Thai team and the
Chinese rice traders will also brainstorm solutions to rice
The representatives will visit a PR event to promote Thai rice
jointly held by the Department of Foreign Trade, the Office of
International Trade Promotion in Shanghai, major Thai rice
exporters and CP Lotus. The event will seek to help Chinese
consumers learn the difference between Thai jasmine rice and
other types of jasmine rice while also promoting the logo that
is used to certify Thai jasmine rice.
Government pledged to keep close watch on baht movement
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has
assigned the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Thailand and the National
Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) to closely monitor the
baht movement after the currency hit a record high.
PM Yingluck said that the baht strengthened after many countries
announced the implementation of the quantitative easing policy.
She called on all sides not to panic since there had been no negative
signs for the Thai economy, so far. The PM also assured that the
government would make sure the baht appreciation poses no effect on the
export sector while pledging to provide assistance to the private sector
through investment incentives.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt
Na-Ranong confirmed that the Thai economy remains strong and is still
He added that foreign investment, which has kept flowing into Thailand
because of its sound economic conditions, attributed to the appreciation
of the baht and other regional currencies.
Mr. Kittiratt stated that that the government has prepared measures to
cope with the baht fluctuation.
As of Wednesday, the Thai currency has been moving between 29.70-29.95
baht against one US dollar.
DITP: Thai exports missed 2012 growth target with only 3.12% expansion
BANGKOK, 24 January 2013 (NNT) – Official data from the
government shows that Thai exports have expanded less than
expected in 2012.
Departmentof International Trade Promotion (DITP)
Director-General Srirat Rastapana said on Wednesday that Thai
exports totaled 229.18 billion US dollars last year. That is
equivalent to a 3.12% on-year growth, the record that is
considerably much lower than the 5% target.
Mrs. Srirat blamed the global economic conditions, shaken by
crises in the US and EU, for sluggish exports of Thai farm
products, which shrunk 10.8% in 2012.
However, she said that Thai exporters have been quick enough to
switch to countries with high potential, such as China, India,
Indonesia, the Middle East and Africa, to make up for the
contraction in major markets.
The DITP chief stated that officials have been visiting
entrepreneurs to provide updated knowledge and information to
help them overcome all hindrances.
In 2013, Mrs. Srirat conceded that the strengthening of the baht
may hit the export sector while calling on the government to
stabilize the Thai currency and keep it from over-appreciation.
She added that the Commerce Ministry will also be monitoring the
situation surrounding the export industry as such factors as
labor costs, raw materials and interest rates may still affect
In addition, trade representatives from all over the world will
join in a meeting in May to assess the world trade situation and
set up a new export growth target. The DITP Director-General
said that, until then, the Commerce Ministry will keep its
original growth target at 8-9% for this year.
Furthermore, she revealed that Thailand registered a trade
deficit of 18.07 billion US dollars in 2012, mainly due to
higher global oil prices, the country’s imports of machineries
and more raw materials for production and subsequent exports.
Thai Exchange warns investors to be more cautious while trading
BANGKOK, 24 January 2013 (NNT) – The Stock Exchange of Thailand
(SET) has issued warnings for investors after suspecting
speculative trading might be at play on the local bourse.
SET President Charamporn Jotikasthira said on Wednesday that
securities trade on the Thai market during the first 2 weeks of
this year has seen a continued rise of the index, from 1,392
points at the end of December 2012, to more than 1,400 points,
Mr. Charamporn added that daily trade volume on the SET also
surged by around 71% from an average of some 30 billion baht to
over 50 billion baht.
He said that some securities appeared to be the targets of
active speculation, which means that investors should be
extra-cautious while trading and keep a close watch on news from
The SET President stated that investors may seek assistance and
look up for information of any suspected securities by visiting
the Thai Exchange’s website, at
Thailand enhances trade ties with Czech Republic
BANGKOK, 24 January 2013 (NNT) – The Czech Republic’s Industry
and Trade Minister is leading a delegation to Thailand to
discuss preparations for the First Meeting of the Joint
Commission on Economic Cooperation (JEC) between Thailand and
Czech Republic, set to be held in Prague in June.
Czech Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba yesterday paid a
courtesy call on Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs
Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, after which they co-chaired
the first meeting of the Thai-Czech Joint Commission on
Bilateral Cooperation. At the meeting, both ministers signed an
Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the Government of the
Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Czech Republic.
The agreement covers economic and technical cooperation
framework and calls for the setting up of a joint economic
commission (JEC). The Czech Republic agreed to host the first
meeting of the JEC in Prague this June.
Both Thai and Czech ministers also witnessed the signing of a
Cooperation Agreement between the Federation of Thai Industries
and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic.
While in Thailand, Mr. Kuba also attended a business forum
organized by the Thai-Czech Business Council and the Ministry of
Commerce. The forum provided a stage for business people of the
two countries to meet and discuss potentials for joint trade and
Mr. Kuba’s visit to Thailand is part of his Southeast Asian tour
which also includes Vietnam and Myanmar. His delegation
comprises government officials and 40 Czech business
Special report: PM places emphasis on education, reducing social gap to move nation forward
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has made an announcement on
her new strategy to move Thailand forward, at a meeting of heads
of government units and state enterprises held in Bangkok.
Ms. Yingluck said her strategy had been developed to address
internal and external factors influencing the Thai economy which
relies mostly on export incomes.
During her speech at Centara Grand Central World, the Prime
Minister said in order for the national economy to grow it is
important that the government focuses on improving education,
raising social equality, tackling corruption and drug abuse as
well as increasing competitiveness.
Ms. Yingluck pointed out that Thailand was lacking behind in
competitiveness as previous governments did not encourage large
scale investments in the country’s infrastructure. In the past,
she said, infrastructural investments were launched following a
year-by-year budget planning, not on a sustainable basis. In
addition, Ms. Yingluck said, her 16-point urgent policy, funded
by the budgets allocated during the 2012 to 2013 fiscal years,
has progressed as planned.
The Premier boasted the flood relief program, the minimum wage
rise, tourism growth and the first car policy among other
projects that her government has succeeded in.
She also claimed that investor confidence rose during the period
mentioned as tax collections exceeded the target. The number of
foreign direct investments in Thailand rose by 2,500 last year
compared to the year earlier.
Ms. Yingluck said she is confident that the government will
achieve a better economic growth rate within the first 6 months
of this year. According to her, there is also sufficient capital
reserve to sustain economic expansion.
She speculated Thailand’s GDP to reach 5.5% this year while the
inflation rate will rise to no more than 3% of the GDP. The
Ministries of Commerce and Finance have been tasked with keeping
the inflation rate under control.
The Prime Minister reiterated to the heads of government units
attending the meeting that the 2014 budget expenditure that each
unit will draw up should complement the mentioned strategy in
order to ensure efficient disbursement of the budget.
ICT Ministry to install 300,000 free WiFi service points in Q2
BANGKOK, Jan 23 - Thailand's Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) Ministry has set a goal to install free 300,000
WiFi service points nationwide in the second quarter of this
ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the government is pushing
the smart Thailand project to provide the public access to the
Internet. Part of the move is to welcome the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC), which will take effect in 2015.
Thailand installed 100,000 free WiFi service points countrywide
last year, he said.
Mr Anudith spoke of the progress with free WiFi service in the
country at an academic seminar among Thai and Japanese-related
agencies on “Wireless Broadband Experience”.
At the seminar, Japan expressed interest in the growing
direction of Thailand's ICT business.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Shigekazu Sato said Japan's investment in
Thailand last year reached a record high at Bt370 billion, while
the number of Japanese travellers entering Thailand rose 20 per
cent, reflecting the continuously growing Thai economy.
Last week’s visit to Thailand of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
signalled that Japan is ready to collaborate with Thailand on
linking trade and investments with other countries in the
region. (MCOT online news)
KBank first Thai bank linked to China’s UnionPay for online payments, e-commerce
BANGKOK, Jan 23 -- Thailand’s KasikornBank (KBank) has connected
its online payment system with UnionPay International (UPI),
China’s credit card giant, to serve the growing number of
Chinese tourists visiting Thailand, with 3.3 million visitors
expected this year.
Online payment for products and services using credit and debit
cards emphasises Thailand’s leadership in e-commerce, KBank’s
top executive said today, and the bank expects a 30 per cent
rise in card acceptance this year by Bt60 billion (about US$2
KBank CEO/President Banthoon Lamsam said the bank and UnionPay,
the Chinese credit and debit card service provider with the
world’s largest cardholder base, inked a payment system
connection agreement to facilitate Chinese tourists and
cardholders living in Thailand with more convenience in their
financial transactions, starting with K-Payment Gateway. KBank
is the first Thai bank with such a service.
Initially, the system can accept UnionPay credit and debit cards
issued by KBank and Chinese financial institutions, with
acceptance of additional cards it and other international
financial institutions issue in future.
The number of UnionPay cardholders worldwide is the world’s
highest at 3.23 billion, with 2.8 billion in Asia Pacific, while
merchants accepting UnionPay cards number at least 5.65 million.
More than 1.37 million ATMs in 107 countries also accept
Spending in Thailand using UnionPay cards totaled approximately
Bt34.5 billion ($1.15 billion) in 2012, while ATM cash
withdrawals using the card were Bt1.56 billion, a rise of 38 per
cent. Spending via KBank’s electronic data captures (EDCs) was
at Bt7.7 billion, a jump of 38 per cent.
The agreement with UnionPay lets merchants using K-Payment
Gateway accept UnionPay credit and debit cards, to support
boosting sales with e-commerce in Thailand.
The move allows online business extension, as Chinese are the
largest group of foreign tourists in Thailand, more than from
Malaysia. In 2012, more than 2.8 million Chinese visited
Thailand, a rise of 62 per cent from the previous year. The
number is expected to rise to 3.3 million in 2013.
KBank hopes to develop more services for Chinese clients and
will also issue UnionPay cards to Thais.
K-Payment Gateway now serves international credit and debit
cards in 36 major currencies. In 2012, more than Bt45 billion in
card acceptance was conducted using K-Payment Gateway, marking
its top player position with more than a 70 per cent market
Mr Banthoon said KBank sees the agreement with UnionPay as
helping boost card acceptance via its K-Payment Gateway with
least 30 per cent growth, some Bt60 billion. (MCOT online news)
Energy Ministry mulls Bt2 billion fund for energy conservation
BANGKOK, Jan 23 – The Energy Ministry is considering setting up
a Bt2 billion revolving fund to boost Thailand’s energy
conservation, according to a senior official.
Amnuay Thongsathitya, director general of the Department of
Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), said the
Bt2 billion fund will enable the Energy Ministry to co-invest
with energy conservation-oriented companies which offer yields
in less than seven years.
He was confident that the investment is in line with the
ministry’s projected reduction of energy consumption by 25 per
cent in 2030.
Wichianchot Sukchotrat, deputy minister, said the ministry has
encouraged the private sector to invest in energy conservation
ventures in the last five years through the formation of the
ESCO Fund – a Bt500 million grant from DEDE.
The non-profit Energy Conservation Foundation of Thailand
(ECFT), appointed by DEDE as fund manager, has invested in clean
and renewable energy. It is authorised to provide capital and
assist small- and medium-sized businesses in project development
and technical assistance.
A total of 170 companies joined the first phase of the ESCO
Fund, contributing to a total investment of Bt3.31 billion on
energy conservation enterprises. The investment has led to
energy conservation at a value of Bt545 million per year.
Pol Maj-Gen Wichianchot said the second phase of ESCO Fund
(2012-2013) will result in energy conservation at a total value
of over Bt5 billion per year.
The Energy Ministry is proposing the third phase of ESCO Fund at
Bt500 million – an investment that will boost the efficiency of
Thailand’s industrial sector and competitiveness in the global
This is part of the government’s 20-year energy conservation
plan, aimed at reducing energy consumption by 25 per cent within
2030, he explained. (MCOT online news)
BoT predicts easing economic risks & recovering exports in 2013
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is
offering a somewhat rosy outlook for the local economy in 2013
as the global economic conditions look set to gradually pick up
BoT Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said on Tuesday that the
central bank has completed its prediction of the Thai economy in
2013, which suggested lower economic risks because of the
recovering global economy.
Mr. Prasarn added that the BoT believes private investment will
also continue to expand, due to strong domestic demand.
The central bank also forecast that the export sector will start
to recover toward the level, which it will become a driving
engine for the Thai economy again during the second half of this
The BoT Governor stated that all these positive factors will
significantly help drive the local economy to expand further,
even though parts of the state-initiated stimulus measures will
expire sometime this year.
He went on to say that the inflationary pressure is likely to
ease in 2013 as the recent nationwide implementation of the
daily minimum wage should not have any impact on consumer prices
because most entrepreneurs have already worked out their cost
structures and boosted their productivity to cope with this
Finance Ministry ready to support key strategies to prompt Thailand for AEC
BANGKOK, 23 January 2013 (NNT) – The Finance Ministry has
announced its readiness to support key state-initiated
strategies to prompt Thailand for the realization of the ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong
said on Tuesday that the Thai economy is estimated to be worth
around THB12 trillion at present, even though it has been hit
drastically by the severe flood crisis in 2011.
Mr. Kittiratt stated that the Finance Ministry is set to work in
accordance with a set of key strategies designed to help bring
Thailand forward, in order to help prepare the country for the
AEC realization in less than 2 years, as called for by the Prime
He added that as Thailand has been having quite a low level of
state investment, the country’s basic infrastructure development
has accordingly been mediocre.
The Finance Minister stressed that more and speedy investment
into railway, land, marine and air transportations mush be made
to enhance the country’s competitiveness and boost the economic
growth as well as help Thais make more income.
Mr. Kittiratt said that the state budgeting for fiscal 2014 will
see a small current account deficit, which has been designed to
benefit the economy.
Central bank ready to unveil anti-currency speculation measures
BANGKOK, Jan 22 – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is closely
monitoring the movement of Thai currency and ready to apply
measures, if necessary, to tackle baht manipulation, Governor
Prasarn Trairatvorakul said today.
He said financial losses to be incurred by the BoT are not an
obstacle in taming currency speculation since the central bank
is duty bound to maintain a balanced growth of the economy and
stability of the monetary system as well as the movement of
currency and fluctuation.
“We have the tool and we’ll use it accordingly if we find
manipulation in the market,” said the BoT governor. “We still
want the baht movement in line with the market mechanism.”
He would not disclose the BoT’s future actions to balance the
Thai investment abroad totalled US$11 billion last year while
foreign investment in Thailand was $8 billion, Mr Prasarn
reported, adding that Thai investment in overseas securities was
$8 billion but foreign investment in Thai securities and bonds
was $12 billion.
Describing the values as “rather balanced” and not needing BoT
intervention, Mr Prasarn said Thai investors will greatly expand
their business overseas in the future – a trend that contributes
to Thailand’s competitiveness and full use of the strong Thai
He said the baht appreciation, though as high as 5-6 per cent
this year, is in tandem with Malaysia’s ringgit and the
He admitted that the Thai currency is too strong in the short
term but, based on the economic fundamentals of Thailand and
neighbouring countries, it has not departed from the trend in
the last few years.
The low policy interest rate may indulge the private sector into
excessive debt and stimulate depositors to invest in risk assets
– factors that may lead to imbalance and a financial bubble
situation, he said.
He added that foreign commercial banks will be given licences to
operate in Thailand early next year while a framework
negotiation will be set for Thai commercial banks to expand
their businesses under the ASEAN Economic Community’s Qualified
ASEAN Bank and penetrate into non-banking and micro finance
services. (MCOT online news)
Government insists on keeping fiscal discipline
BANGKOK, Jan 22 - The government insists on keeping discipline
over its budget and is confident that a budget balancing
spending and revenue will be achieved within three years.
Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong spoke
at a seminar on the government's policies and strategies to
drive the country, pointing to the 2014 fiscal budget.
He said the spending budget for the 2013 fiscal year is set at
Bt2.4 trillion, while the revenue target is set at Bt2.1
trillion. The government will follow a policy on enhancing
budget spending efficiency to reduce the deficit to Bt300 bilion
this year, and to Bt2.5 billion in 2014.
The Finance Minister said the government's investment budget at
Bt2.2 trillion is not considered as increasing its debt burden.
The government can settle this debt within 7.5 years. Inflation
will increase 0.1-0.2 per cent but no more than 3 per cent, he
said. (MCOT online news)
Toyota’s surging car sales to fall slightly this year
BANGKOK, Jan 22 – Toyota Motor Thailand predicted its
historic sales of 1.4 million vehicles last year to decline by 10 per
cent to 1.2 million units this year, according to the company’s top
President Kyoichi Tanada of Toyota Motor Thailand said the government’s
policy of tax exemption for first-car buyers last year had pushed the
sales of Toyota cars to a record high with more than half of the total
production for the domestic market.
Last year’s domestic sales increased by 78 per cent and exports were 62
per cent higher while the total value of exports, including spare parts,
was recorded at Bt242.6 billion, he said.
Without the government’s stimulus, this year’s car sales will be less
active but still high at about 1.2 million units.
Mr Tanada said Toyota Motor will invest Bt12 billion this year to expand
its assembly plant in Chachoengsao which will boost production from
220,000 units/year to 300,000 units/year.
He said about 30,000 domestic spare parts suppliers have been negatively
affected by the Bt300 daily minimum wage, adding that Toyota Motor has
asked its suppliers to improve their production efficiency.
Ninnart Chaitheerapinyo, Toyota Motor Thailand vice president, said the
company supports the government’s planned tax collection based on gas
emissions but called on an extension of the enforcement, scheduled for
the next three years, to five years to enable automotive manufacturers
to adjust to the measures.
It takes about four years to launch a new model, he said. (MCOT online
THAI president to propose 500 million baht incentive-allowance budget to board
BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 (NNT) - As a way to settle the demand
from his employees, Thai Airways International President Sorajak
Kasemsuvan has stated that he will propose a 500-million baht
extra diligence allowance to the board meeting.
Mr Sorajak said that the Labor Union Leader has met with the
executive board and acknowledged the company's performance,
bonus value, and how the company calculates the bonus. However,
the union still demanded that the board increase the
incentive-allowance budget to 500 million baht up from the 200
million initially earmarked for employees' bonus. He said that
this issue will be discussed during the board meeting on
According to the THAI President, the union was satisfied with
the discussion and promised not to stage any more strike until
the day the board met. The labor union leader also apologized to
THAI passengers for causing delays and inconveniences to them.
Mr Sorajak said employees on strike on Saturday would not face
Cabinet extends diesel tax cut for another month
BANGKOK, 21 January 2013 (NNT) - The Cabinet has approved the
extension of the diesel tax reduction policy for one more month.
However, the move is expected to cost the government 9 billion
baht in its diesel tax collection revenue.
Government Spokesman Tossaporn Serirak said the Cabinet has
agreed to a 1-month extension for the collection of reduced
diesel excise tax. Under the policy, diesel with the amount of
sulfur of not more than 0.005% of its weight, generally known as
Diesel B2, as well as diesel with fatty acid methyl ester of not
less than 4%, or Diesel B5, are both taxed at 0.5 satang per
The newest round of extension will begin from February 1st to
28th. According to the Spokesperson, this extension will likely
reduce the government’s revenue from diesel excise tax
collection by as much as 9 billion baht.
THAI gets $240 million loan to purchase 2 Airbus A330s
BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 (NNT) - Kasikorn Bank, along with
foreign financial institutions, is lending 240 million US
dollars to THAI Airways International to purchase 2 new
According to Kasikorn Executive Vice President Vasin
Vanichvoranun, the bank is joining hands with French Credit
Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Germany-based
Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen, to loan 240 million US dollars to
THAI Airways International, to purchase two Airbus A330-300s.
The loan comes with a 12-year repayment term. According to him,
the loan has made Kasikorn the first Thai commercial bank to
provide this type of international financial services.
In the meantime, THAI Airways International President Sorajak
Kasemsuvan said the purchase is in accordance with the company's
3-year program of aircraft procurement, in order to develop its
fleet and raise its financial potentials. The new Airbus330-300s
have been operating since September last year, on the
Bangkok-Taipei-Hong Kong-Japan route.
DBD uplifts Thailand’s logistics system
BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 (NNT) - The Commerce Ministry has given
certificates to road transportation businesses which passed the
quality standard in 2012, as a mean to encourage others in the
logistics industry to follow suit and help them uplift their
Department of Business Development (DBD)Deputy Dirctor-General
Ittipol Changlum said his department has been playing an
important role in preparing Thai entrepreneurs, especially the
logistics businesses, ahead of the emergence of ASEAN Economic
To encourage Thai logistics businesses, the DBD has awarded
those entrepreneurs, whose standards, in 2012, have met the DBD
requirements. The director said the move would help enhance the
capability of Thai SMEs to be on par with their counterparts in
the ASEAN region.
He said logistics businesses are vital to the country’s economic
development. They involve transportation, warehousing and
storage, inventory management and packaging, etc. They create an
income of 820 billion baht per annum. At present, about 16,000
logistics businesses have registered with the department, with a
total of 234 billion baht in registered capital.
Finance Ministry considering helping debtors of loan shark
BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 (NNT)BANGKOK, 22 January 2013
(NNT)-People indebted to loan sharks may no longer have to avoid
paying exorbitant interest rates as the Ministry of Finance is
considering a move to allow government financial institutions to
refinance their obligations. Director-General,Fiscal Policy
Office (FPO) Dr.Somchai Sujjapongse has reportedly proposed to
the Finance Ministry a solution to help those struggling to pay
off their underground loans by asking government banks to either
provide them with new loans or refinance existing ones.
According to Dr. Somchai, the goal of his proposal is to stamp
out shady money lenders by helping people refinance their debts.
A special lending window will be provided at every state-owned
bank, he added.
As for those who are unable to find common ground with their
lenders, a team of police and the Revenue Department will be set
up and tasked with negotiating for lower interest rates charged,
in an attempt to help debtors improve their financial situation.
He said later that the bank would only grant debtors loans to
pay off their lender only after they became financially sound.
The Director General said Finance Minister Mr. Kittiratt Na
Ranong had agreed with his proposal although further study on
the subject was needed.
The Office might ask community leaders overseeing both the
community welfare and village funds to take part in the program,
given they are already lending their hands to those who owed
underground lenders; by requiring debtors to save their money in
their savings accounts for a period of time before giving them
the loans to pay off their underground debts.
Seminar on trades held to prepare Thai business sector for AEC
BANGKOK, 22 January 2013 (NNT)-The Department of
Trade Negotiations has recently held a business seminar to provide a
platform for businessmen and women to discuss and exchange ideas over
investment prospect within the framework of ASEAN Economic Community
Director General of the Department of Trade Negotiations Mrs. Srirat
Rastapana said the seminar was organized with an objective of gearing up
the business sector in Thailand, particularly those small and medium
enterprises, for the advent of the AEC in 2015.
The event received support from the United Nations Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific or UN ESCAP. Experts on trades and
sales promotions from both Thailand and overseas gathered at this event
to share their thoughts on challenges and opportunities for investors in
the ASEAN region.
They also discussed other important issues including intellectual
property rights and trade barriers as well as business ventures.
According to Mrs. Srirat, her department has come up with several
solutions aimed at helping SME owners stay in business; one among which,
for example,is the lowering of participation fees for those wishing to
showcase their services or products in trade exhibitions both in
Thailand and overseas.
Thai Airways staff rally for higher pay, disrupt operations at Suvarnabhumi
BANGKOK, Jan 19 -- Some 600 Thai Airways International (THAI)
employees protested at Suvarnabhumi Airport today, demanding a 7.5 per
cent pay rise and two months bonus.
The rally interfered with today's flights, airline officials said.
In addition to the rally itself, THAI staff refused to move the
airline's aircraft from their assigned waiting areas interfering with
operations so that the flights of other airlines could not take off or
land at the airport.
The protest interfered with luggage handling, forcing the delay of
luggage reclamation by almost one hour.
The protesters also called on airline chairman Ampon Kittiampon to
resign from his post.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt ordered national flag
carrier President Sorajak Kasemsuvan to meet with the employees who
staged the protest.
He vowed to move against workers who left their duties to join the
protest which caused disruption of flights and affected many travellers.
The protest reportedly delayed the flight by 10 to 15 minutes. (MCOT
THAI employees end strike after salary increase agreed
BANGKOK, Jan 20 A protest by hundreds of Thai Airways employees
at Suvarnabhumi Airport to demand increased salary and bonus payments
ended after THAI board of director agreed to raise salary by the maximum
level of 7.5 percent.
After the meeting and negotiation between THAI board and representatives
of the labour union, the maximum of 7.5 percent salary increase was
Regarding the demand for a two-month bonus payment, the airline’s labour
union is scheduled to meet with THAI president Sorajak Kasemsuvan on
Monday to learn about the company’s performance, on which the bonus
payment is based.
Currently, the situation at the country’s main international airport is
back to normal and the operations have resumed normally.
The strike led by the labour union started on Friday afternoon (January
18) at Bangkok’s main international airport. The rally was aimed at
calling for the 7.5 percent salary hike and the two-month bonus.
The protest disrupted operations, delayed some flights and interfered
with luggage handling, forcing delays at luggage claims. (MCOT online
Thai central bank revises 2013 growth forecast to 4.9%
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BANGKOK, Jan 18 – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has revised
its growth forecast for this year upward by 0.3 per cent to 4.9
per cent, giving credit to rising exports, private consumption
and investment, said Paiboon Kittisrikangwan, BoT Assistant
The bank said in its monetary policy report that Thailand’s
growth projection was revised upward for last year and this year
is still driven mainly by private consumption and investment.
Last year's growth forecast was revised up to 5.9 per cent from
the earlier projected at 5.7 per cent.
This year’s growth forecast was revised up to 4.9 per cent from
4.6 per cent while next year’s GDP is forecast to grow 4.8 per
Mr Paiboon said the global economic risks in the worse-case
scenario have declined, given the lower probability of Greece’s
exit from the euro area and the recent progresses on fiscal
concerns in the US Exports still suffer from the global
slowdown, but seem to have bottomed out and show incipient signs
Exports this year are projected to grow nine per cent from 3.6
per cent last year and 9.7 per cent growth is forecast for next
State and private investment are positive factors for economic
growth. Private and state investment is likely to expand 12.1
per cent and 17.1 per cent respectively. However, the government
must invest within the timeframe to avoid any adverse effect on
the latest growth forecast, he said.
This latest forecast, however, has yet included Bt2.2 trillion
investment in basic infrastructure as it is still unclear and
needs time for implementation.
A risk factor for the Thai economy which needs to be monitored
is the fluctuation of fund flows, which may influence the
currency exchange rate. The rapid appreciation of the Thai baht
may be short-lived but it benefits the imports of heavy
Other risk factors are acceleration of credit and household debt
and results of the second round of minimum wage rises, which is
initially assessed to not impact inflation, but small
enterprises could go out of business.
The central bank maintains this year’s inflation forecast at 2.8
per cent for headline inflation and 1.7 for core inflation.
(MCOT online news)
Finance Minister: Government has measures to stabilize Baht
BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 (NNT)-Finance Minister Kittiratt
Na Ranong has downplayed the continuous rise of the Thai baht
against the US dollar, saying a stronger baht had been in
anticipation due to depreciation of the American currency in
overseas markets. Compared to other currencies, the Minister
said the baht did not rise significantly.
Mr. Kittiratt said the baht rise would affect the export sector
only if the baht rate went to 29 baht per US dollar. One US
dollar was valued at around 30 baht on Friday. He said the Bank
of Thailand (BoT) would be allowed to intervene in the market on
a temporary basis as the rise of about 20 satang in the daily
baht value was not a welcoming sign.
The Finance Minister also remarked that it was the BoT’s duty to
keep the influx of foreign capitals under control. He said
however that it was common for the baht to fluctuate, but
fluctuations must not be too frequently.
The Minister also mentioned that the advantages of Baht rise
include cheaper import goods and fuel as well as low inflation
rates; however, a stronger Baht could have significant impact on
the export sector as its income would be lower.
He further stated that the government will not enforce any
measures to tame the Baht but will encourage industrialists,
particularly SMEs, to import more machinery to replace the old
ones. It will also try maintaining the current account balance
at no more or less than 1% of the GDP in an attempt to stabilize
Transport Ministry inks MOU to build Red Line stations
BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 (NNT) - The State Railway
of Thailand has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with
contractors to build Bangsue station and maintenance facilities,
at the cost of nearly 30 billion baht.
According to Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthiphan, the agency
has signed the first contract with SU Group regarding
Bangsue-Rangsit Red Line extension plans, which are expected to
be completed in 2015.
The second contract on the construction of stations along the
Red Line is set to be inked next month, pending Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s approval of loan
Mr Chatchart elaborated that SRT Governor Prapat Jongsa-nguan
has been assigned to oversee the development of commercial space
in the Bangsue station, transport connections linking the Red
Line, and other transport services in Bangkok.