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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).

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 countries.

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 scheme.

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 countries.

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 economic slowdown.

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 tonnes).

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 million tons.

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 jasmine rice.

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 fluctuation.

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 project.

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 (NBTC).

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 festival.

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 stability.

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 industry.

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 rates.




Back to Main Page

Thai shippers foresee export growth missing target

Thailand's retail business this year set to grow 12%

Thai rice exporter predicts another declining year for Thailand

Thai rice export projected at 6.5 million tons this year

PM Yingluck assigned Finance Minister to tackle stronger baht impact

Central Group spreads its retail wings to Nonthaburi

Autoparts makers want stable, reasonable Thai currency

MCOT collaborates with South Korea's leading digital business to generate higher revenue

Anti-Corruption Network follows up on 2 trillion baht project

Finance Minister affirms govt able to seek 350 billion-baht loan

Mobile service providers to be fined 134 million baht

Commerce Ministry steps up surveillance on pork prices during Chinese New Year

BoT might allow exporters to hold foreign currencies longer

Excise Dept: NPL on first cars only at 4%

Thailand takes 65% share of Asian MICE industry




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