Thai shippers foresee export growth missing target
BANGKOK, Jan 30 – Thailand’s appreciating baht currency in the
past month has affected exports despite a 2-3 per cent growth as
targeted, according to the Thai National Shippers’ Council
TNSC Chairman Paiboon Polsuwanna said today that exporters
continue to received purchase orders but the total export value
has been lower and some exporters are earning less profit.
He said Thailand’s exports this year may not reach the projected
nine per cent growth if the baht continues appreciating.
The Commerce Ministry predicted the country’s monthly export
value at US$20.5 billion but the combined value this month is
only $19 billion, Mr Paiboon said.
He said January is normally a slow month for exports and the
TNSC will wait for the first quarter performance before it
forecasts Thailand’s exports year.
Thai exports last year reached $229.5 billion, representing a
3.12 per cent increase, lower than the predicted growth of
4.6-5.9 per cent, the shipping council executive said.
The private sector looks forward to seeing the central bank’s
response to preventing profit-taking from a local interest rate
at 2.75 per cent, as interest is almost zero per cent in western
Mr Paiboon also called on the Bank of Thailand to see that the
baht does not fluctuate or becomes too strong compared to the
currencies of the country’s trading competitors.
The Labour Ministry has announced reduced contributions by
employers and employees to the Social Security Fund from 1.5 per
cent to 0.5 per cent until the end of this year in an attempt to
cool down the negative impact of the Bt300 daily minimum wage.
Regarding the reprieve, the TNSC chairman said the ministry was
barking up the wrong tree since the private sector’s financial
gains from the measure is insignificant.
It may give a psychological advantage to the government, which
is seen as taking prompt action to alleviate the entrepreneurs’
plight, he said, calling on the government to seriously upgrade
the efficiency of Thai labour force and promote the use of
technology in the industrial sector to enhance Thailand’s
competitive edge in the global market. (MCOT online news)
Thailand's retail business this year set to grow 12%
BANGKOK, Jan 30 - The Thai Retailers Association estimates that
the country's retail business this year will grow 12 per cent,
according to the organisation's president.
Busaba Chirathivat said the rise will be due to government
stimulus packages encouraging the public to spend more from
their higher income, such as from the Bt300 minimum wage rise,
the 'first-time car buyers' tax rebate, the rice -pledging
The projected 12 per cent growth in the retail industry will
partly result from more convenience stores opening upcountry,
particularly along Thailand's borders with other countries, in
order to welcome the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Meanwhile, Ms Busaba said the association is ready to cooperate
with the Commerce Minister to peg commodity prices to help
consumers although retail operators have been negatively
affected by the Bt300 minimum wage. Methods to increase higher
sales volumes will be applied to compensate for higher
production costs, the president said.
Thai Retailers Association also asked the government to consider
lower import taxes on some merchandise such as garments,
jewellery, and cosmetics. Ms Busaba said the import duties for
these types of goods are levied at 30-40 per cent, causing their
prices in Thailand to be higher than those in neighbouring
She said the lower taxes would attract foreign tourists to spend
more money in Thailand, another means to generate revenues.
(MCOT online news)
Thai rice exporter predicts another declining year for Thailand
BANGKOK, Jan 30 – The future of Thai rice exports remains dim
this year while last year’s export volume at 6.94 million tonnes
was 35 per cent lower than the preceding year, a leading rice
exporter said today.
Predicting a further decline in Thailand’s rice exports to 6.5
million tonnes this year, Kobsuk Iamsuree, chairwoman of the
Thai Rice Exporters Association, said Thai exporters have
encountered diverse challenges including tough competition in
the global market, higher prices for Thai rice and the global
Vietnam, the prominent exporter in the global market, has been
aggressive and dumped its prices to compete with India while
demands among major buyers like China, Indonesia and the
Philippines have declined, she said.
Vietnam has taken Thailand’s rice markets while many countries
have turned to a self-reliant policy, she said, adding that the
fluctuating and appreciating Thai currency has also negatively
impacted Thai rice exports.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted
this year’s global rice trade at 37.37 million tonnes, a
reduction by 4.35 per cent compared to last year, and forecast
that Thailand will be the world’s top exporter with an export
volume of eight million tonnes, to be followed by India (7.5
million tonnes), Vietnam (7.4 million tonnes), Pakistan (3.8
million tonnes) and the US (3.45 million tonnes).
This year’s top importer will be Nigeria at 2.7 million tonnes,
followed by China (2 million tonnes), Iran (1.6 million tonnes),
the Philippines (1.5 million tonnes) and Indonesia (1.45 million
Ms Kobsuk said the Thai government must urgently sell stockpiled
rice on a government-to-government basis – a factor that may
push up the export volume of Thai rice to eight million tonnes
as predicted by the USDA.
She said the fact that 15 million tonnes of rice is in Thai
stock will compel the country to release it as soon as possible
but prices will not be high. (MCOT online news)
Thai rice export projected at 6.5 million tons this year
BANGKOK, 30 January 2013 (NNT) - The Thai Rice
Exporters Association has estimated that Thailand will export 6.5
million tons of rice this year, a drop of 35 percent from last year.
President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association Korbsuk Iamsuree said
the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasted that international
rice trade in 2013 will stand at 37.37 million tons, down by 4.35
percent compared to the previous year. She said the USDA still ranked
Thailand as the top rice exporter, projecting this year’s export at 8
The association voiced their belief that Thai rice export can meet the
USDA’s expectation if this year’s government-to-government rice deals,
registered at 1.5 million tons, are included in the total number.
Thailand remains a major rice exporter to Nigeria, Iraq, Ivory Coast and
South Africa, with Hong Kong being the biggest export market for Thai
Ms Korbsuk warned that Thailand could face a further drop in exports
this year due to the strengthening baht currency and the high price of
Thai rice compared to its rivals.
PM Yingluck assigned Finance Minister to tackle stronger baht impact
BANGKOK, 31 January 2013 (NNT) – The Prime Minister has assigned
the Finance Minister to lead an effort to tackle the impact of
the stronger baht on business operators.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong
revealed on Wednesday that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
has held a meeting with the ministries of Finance, Labor and
Industry as well as the Bank of Thailand (BoT), the National
Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) and the state
committee tasked with the assistance for SMEs.
Mr. Kittiratt stated that the talks focused on the solutions for
the impact of the new 300-baht daily minimum wage and the baht
At the meeting, the BoT informed that the baht has been
fluctuating because of the short-term inflow of foreign funds
into the capital market while all sides agreed that a push for
Thai investors to make more overseas investments will be a
long-term solution to the stronger baht issue.
The Finance Minister said that the PM has assigned him to
discuss with the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee and
related agencies to quickly rein in the problem while keeping a
close eye on speculative trade.
Central Group spreads its retail wings to Nonthaburi
BANGKOK, Jan 29 – Thailand’s largest retail, hotel and real
estate conglomerate, the Central Group, today announced the
launch of a regional shopping complex in Bangkok’s northern
suburbs with a Bt10 billion (US$333 million) investment.
Wallaya Chirathivat, Senior Executive Vice President for
Business Development of Central Pattana Plc (CPN), said the
Central Gateway project is designed as a prototype for
super-regional malls in Asia. CPN is a property subsidiary of
the Central Group.
The megaproject is located on a plot of land covering more than
100 rai (40 acres) near Bang Yai intersection in Nonthaburi –
Bangkok’s closest satellite city.
The Central Group has invested 70 per cent while the remaining
30 per cent is jointly owned by varied trading partners and
allies. The project is set to open in 2015 and the group
envisages a daily visit by at least 200,000 customers.
Ms Wallaya said Bang Yai intersection is the gateway to Bangkok
from the northwest, potentially connecting the western ring road
and the western motorway linking Bang Yai-Ban Pong-Kanchanaburi
with the Dawei deep seaport in southern Myanmar and Thailand’s
Andaman Sea coast. Bangyai intersection also connects the
western ring road with the Chonburi motorway to the southeast of
Bangkok while the mass transit’s purple line runs from Bang Sue
to Bang Yai.
Central Gateway is expected to become the hub of regional
shopping in conjunction with the ASEAN Economic Community in
2015, she said, adding that the group is in search of suitable
locations for new one-stop shopping complexes, aiming at opening
three to four sites each year.
The ambitious plan is partly due to a survey which revealed that
Central World – a high-end shopping centre in the heart of
Bangkok – is the favourite shopping destination among overseas
visitors, she said, predicting the group’s retailing business to
grow by at least 15 per cent this year. (MCOT online news)
Autoparts makers want stable, reasonable Thai currency
BANGKOK, Jan 29 – Thai manufacturers of automotive parts today
called on the government to cap Thailand's baht currency at a
minimum Bt30 against the US dollar to facilitate private sector
imports and exports.
Atchana Limpaitoon, president of the Thai Autoparts
Manufacturers Association, said the appreciating Thai baht has
negatively impacted the automotive parts industry in
negotiations with overseas traders, suggesting that the Thai
baht be kept in tandem with other regional currencies.
Thailand’s export value for autoparts this year will be
equivalent to last year at around Bt15 billion--80 per cent from
original equipment manufacturers (OEM) designating replacement
parts made by the manufacturer of the original part, and 20 per
cent from general and replacement parts.
She said uninterrupted overseas orders has contributed to an
expanding local autoparts industry while pickup trucks and eco
cars are product champions that will continue to boost the
growth of Thailand’s automotive industry.
Thailand exported 2.45 million vehicles last year – the seventh
largest in the world – while its previous 13th rank as the
world’s biggest automotive manufacturer has moved up to the
10th, she said.
Ms Atchana added that Thailand has emerged as auto manufacturing
leader in the Southeast Asian region given its engagement in the
industry for the last five decades. (MCOT online news)
MCOT collaborates with South Korea's leading digital business to generate higher revenue
BANGKOK, Jan 29 - Thailand's leading broadcasting company, MCOT
Plc, on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with
South Korea's Intellicode Thai Company, to develop digital
business in Thailand, aiming to generate a higher income of at
least Bt65 million/year.
MCOT President Anek Permvongseni and Intellicode Thai CEO Hwang
Byoung Woo signed the agreement at MCOT, agreeing to jointly
develop MCOT's new media business, which comprises websites,
mobile phones, and smart TV, to provide the audience edutainment
varieties from South Korea.
Mr Anek told the news conference that he believed technology
from South Korea such as video search technology (Enswers Image
Recognition) and voice search technology (Enswers Audio
Recognition, or 'EAR') would enable MCOT to become a leading
provider in digital business in Thailand and ASEAN.
Mr Woo, meanwhile, said the collaboration will enable MCOT to
become the most advanced provider of digital content in Thailand
and ASEAN, as well as the most interesting station for those
enjoying or looking for South Korean edutainment through the
'Soompi' website, an English language website, and one of the
largest international Internet communities, providing coverage
of Korean pop culture (K-Pop).
The Soompi Thailand website will be established and developed to
attract the Thai audience.
Other areas of the cooperation include advancing Information
Technology, developing applications on mobile phones and smart
TV, transforming communication systems from analog to digital,
and enlarging Korean edutainment varieties.
Intellicode Thai Co.,Ltd. is partnered with Enswers, South
Korea's audiovisual search company and a subsidiary company of
Korea Telecom, and Alicast, one of the world's leading TV
software developers. (MCOT online news)
Anti-Corruption Network follows up on 2 trillion baht project
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) - The Anti-Corruption Network
said it would keep a close watch on the government’s spending,
especially the 2 trillion baht budget earmarked for
infrastructure projects, while revealing that Thailand is ranked
13th among world’s top money-smuggling countries.
According to Anti-Corruption Network(ACN) Chairman Pramon
Sutivong, the ACN is adjusting its strategies in order for them
to perform their tasks more effectively. It will focus on 4
missions: building credibility, building networks both inside
and outside the country, promoting more transparency policies,
and creating morale among people.
For now the ACN will mainly focus on the government’s 2 trillion
baht infrastructure projects. The network will follow up on
every step and transition made-- from procurement to auction
processes. He said the ACN had asked the government to sign a
written statement before any auction was to take place to
confirm its transparency.
He also revealed the findings of a research on money laundering,
conducted by the Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a
Washington-based non-profit research and advocacy organization,
saying Thailand is ranked 13th on the list of world’s top
money-smuggling countries, with over 2 trillion baht smuggled
out between 2001 and 2010.
Finance Minister affirms govt able to seek 350 billion-baht loan
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) – The Finance Minister
has assured that the government will be able to acquire the entire
amount of the 350 billion baht for its water management projects.
According to Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, the government’s
water management and flood prevention projects are expected to be opened
for bidding during February to April. He affirmed that the money for
these projects will be acquired through an issuance of executive decree,
allowing the ministry to seek loans of that amount. The government will
obtain the entire amount of 350 billion baht by June 30th.
As for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s proposition
to build the Ayutthaya-Bang Sai floodway, Mr Kittiratt said it was
beneficial to the country, saying the government will consider all the
bidders' plans. He insisted that all process will be transparent as this
is an international bidding project.
Meanwhile, Democrat Deputy Leader Korn Chatikavanij has submitted an
open letter to the Constitution Court stating that the government has no
repayment plan for the 350-billion baht loan or a clear water management
It explained further that only 4.6 billion baht or 1% of the budget set
aside since last year for water management has been disbursed so far,
which shows that the the matter is not as urgent as claimed by the
government. Mr Korn said the disbursed fund was also used for other
projects not related to water management. He alleged that the government
intended to wrongfully spend the money and no one could check it; the
move would thus breach financial discipline and damage the country.
Mobile service providers to be fined 134 million baht
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) – Mobile telephone service providers will
be forced to pay the Legal Execution Department retroactive fines they
owe to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission
According to NBTC secretary Thakorn Tantasit, the NBTC will ask the
Legal Execution Department to force 3 mobile service providers, DTAC,
AIS, and CAT TELECOM, to pay the fines they owe for not complying with
the prepaid-mobile regulations
He said the 3 providers will be fined up to 71.6 million baht altogether
for breaking the validity period regulation forbidding setting an
expiration date on the prepaid-phone numbers. In the case of failure to
register new users of prepaid SIM cards, 4 providers including AIS,
DTAC, TOT, and CAT Telecom will be fined 15.6 million baht each for the
violation. Therefore, the total fine for not complying with the rules
amounts to 134 million baht.
Concerning the regulations on voice-call rates, the secretary said the
NBTC is still waiting for answers from DTAC and AIS in relation to what
measures they will take regarding the combined 99 satang per minute
promotional call packages. However, the 2 providers have confirmed that
they have already complied with the rules.
Commerce Ministry steps up surveillance on pork prices during Chinese New Year
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry is stepping up
its surveillance on pork prices ahead the upcoming Chinese New Year
Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade Wiboonlasana
Ruamraksa said on Monday that local pork prices tend to rise
considerably during the Lunar New Year celebration.
Therefore, the Department of Internal Trade has started the survey on
the situation in the market before the festival takes place in February.
Ms. Wiboonlasana said that, so far, it has been business as usual
although butchers have already placed more orders for pork and pigs in
order to accommodate rising demand during the festival period.
She added that wholesale and retail prices have been going up in
Thailand now, before everything will likely come down after the Chinese
New Year festival.
The Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade went on to say
that department officials have been out on the street to check out
markets, where complaints of over-priced pork were lodged.
Ms. Wiboonlasana said that officials will keep monitoring pork prices
closely until the end of the Lunar New Year festival while asking
retailers to make sure all prices are clearly shown to consumers
otherwise they may face a maximum fine of 10,000 baht. And if any
retailer is found selling pork at the prices that exceed the
department’s limits, retailers will be subject to a maximum jail term of
7 years or a maximum fine of 140,000 baht or both.
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.
Excise Dept: NPL on first cars only at 4%
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) - The Excise Department is
expecting to see only 4 percent of non-performing loans among
first-car buyers, while urging those purchasing cars on a high
purchase basis and thinking they cannot afford to fulfill the
installment plan, to cancel their vehicle reservations.
According to the Excise Department, since the introduction of
the first-car-buyer scheme last year, there has been a massive
amount of loans issued to car buyers. However, the department
forecast that only 4 percent of the borrowers would be unable to
pay back the money.
It has therefore urged those granted with loans who think they
are incapable of clearing the debts to withdraw their orders if
they have not yet received the cars. In case the cars are
already delivered and tax rebates granted, buyers can still
return the money to the government and cancel the program.
Otherwise, they are obligated to having the cars under their
names for at least 5 years and unable to sell them.
Thailand takes 65% share of Asian MICE industry
BANGKOK, 29 January 2013 (NNT) – According to Thailand
Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Thailand last year took
around 65 percent of the market share in Asia in the areas of
meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibition, or the MICE
TCEB Acting President Thongchai Sridama said TCEB has been
focusing on Asian and ASEAN+6 markets in order to prepare the
country for the upcoming ASEAN community. According to him, Asia
has the biggest MICE industry in the world, boasting nearly
500,000 MICE visitors last year; with Thailand taking around 65
percent, the largest share in the region. The number-one MICE
travelers Thailand welcomed last year were from India, followed
by China, South Korea, Malaysia, and Japan.
The acting president said, last year, approximately 40,000
Indian MICE visitors were in Thailand, which resulted from the
marketing strategies implemented by the TCEB. He further
revealed that the TCEB will, this year, penetrate 3 more cities
in India, which are Coimbatore, Mangalore, and Pune; all of
which are industrial cities with significant economic growth