THB to move 30.00-30.35 THB/USD this week
BANGKOK, 23 May 2011 (NNT) – Kasikorn Research Centre
(KResearch) has estimated that the Thai baht this week ending 27 May 2011
will move in the range of 30.00-30.35 baht per US dollar after it had
depreciated last week.
reported that the baht last week depreciated against the greenback following
other Asian currencies which all faced selling forces at the beginning of
last week when the Thai financial market was closed on a religious holiday.
Meanwhile, foreign investors were selling Thai stocks and bonds.
In addition, the selling of risk assets by investors gradually stimulated
the Thai baht depreciation. The baht on Friday closed at 30.27 baht per US
dollar, compared with 30.19 baht per US dollar in the previous Friday 13
As for this week, the baht is expected to move in the range of 30.00-30.35
baht per US dollar. Domestic factors that should be monitored are the Gross
Domestic Product for the first quarter this year, domestic politics and
intervention of the Bank of Thailand to stabilise the baht.
External factors that should be monitored are the Greek debt crisis and
reports of many economic figures from the US.
SET to fluctuate in narrow range this week
BANGKOK, 23 May 2011 (NNT) – Kasikorn Research Centre
(KResearch) has projected that the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) this
week from 23 to 27 May 2011 will fluctuate in a narrow range with a chance
to adjust upward after last week’s fall.
reported that the SET index last week closed at 1,072.94 points, down 1.11%
from the week earlier in line with other global stock markets following
concerns over economic slowdown. Meanwhile, the MAI index closed at 292.06
points, up 0.57% from the week earlier.
The Thai stock index went down following other countries on Wednesday due to
selling forces amid concerns over the Greek debt crisis before bouncing back
on Thursday. The index however fell again on Friday due to external factors
such as the Euro zone debt crisis and US economic fragility.
KResearch and Kasikorn Securities predicted that the SET index this week
might fluctuate in a narrow range and might go up thanks to sales of
politically related stocks. The support line and resistance line will be at
around 1,060-1,048 points and 1,096-1,113 points respectively.
Factors that should be monitored include prices of consumer goods, domestic
politics, the Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter this year as well
as important US economic figure reports.
NESDB: Thai Q1/2011 GDP expands 3.0%
BANGKOK, 23 May 2011 (NNT) – The National Economic and
Social Development Board (NESDB) has reported that the Thai Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) figure for the first quarter this year stands at 3.0% while
the 2011 GDP is expected in the range of 3.5%-4.5%.
to NESDB Secretary-General Akom Termpittayapaisit, factors supporting the
Thai economic growth are foreign demand leading to rising exports as well as
confidence of domestic investors and consumers leading to expanding
investment and consumption.
The agricultural sector grew by 6.7% thanks to a 12.2% rise in agricultural
produce, especially rice, sugar cane, corn and para rubber and a 25.7% rise
in crop prices. Farmers’ income for the first quarter this year rose by
41.0%, up from 19.0% in the previous quarter.
As for the tourism sector, the number of foreign tourists coming to Thailand
in the first quarter this year was at 5.4 million people, up 15.0%
year-on-year. Most of the increase was attributed to journeys of Asian
tourists to Thailand such as Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians and Indians.
Domestic spending grew 3.4% following rising income among farmers and rising
crop prices. The unemployment rate was 0.8% or 310,000 people. Consumer
Confidence Index stood at 71.9, up from 71.3 in the previous quarter;
however, people were spending less due to expensive product prices.
Private investment expanded 12.6%, up from 9.2% in the previous quarter
owing to supports from continuous domestic and foreign demands. Meanwhile,
confidence of business entrepreneurs in average stood at 53.1, up from 51.4
in the previous quarter.
As for the 2011 economic growth projection of 3.5-4.5%, supportive factors
are the tourism sector, rising crop prices, confidence of consumers and
investment; however, the global economic condition, Japanese economy,
interest rate and rising oil prices must be monitored closely.
Foreign media nominate Korn one of IMF MD candidates
BANGKOK, 23 May 2011 (NNT) – Japanese and Hong Kong media
are cheering Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij to take the helm of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) replacing Mr Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Japan Times of Japan and the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong recently
proposed several figures to replace Mr Strauss-Kahn who has recently
resigned. Mr Korn's name appears among the candidates proposed by the two
famous foreign newspapers for his deep understanding in the financial
Other candidates nominated by the two newspapers included Egyptian Dr
Mohamed A El-Erian, Indian Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Singaporean Tharman
Mr Korn recently supported ASEAN economists to be the next IMF managing
director since economies of developing nations, especially in the ASEAN
region, are growing. He then named Mr Shanmugaratnam and Indonesian Sri
Mulyani Indrawati as possible candidates.
The minister added that the old tradition to focus only on European and
American candidates should be forgotten in order to give economists from
other regions a chance to sit in the high positions of global organizations.
Ratchaprasong biz demanding rally management
BANGKOK, 23 May 2011 (NNT) – Business entrepreneurs at
Ratchaprasong Intersection are demanding for good rally management plan
after they have been affected by the mass gathering of the United Front of
Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) on 19 May 2011.
Without Infringement Network representative Chai Srivikorn stated that the
recent UDD mass gathering on 19 May had caused difficulties and trouble to
people and companies around Ratchaprasong Intersection, a famous shopping
district of the capital city.
Mr Chai, also the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) president,
further elaborated that companies and shops had to close early while over
1,500 earlier booked rooms and seminar arrangement in hotels in the area
were cancelled that day for fear of violence similar to last year.
The RSTA president hence asked the Metropolitan Police Commission to come up
with an efficient demonstration management plan to ensure peace and order at
all protest sites. He confirmed that his network is not against any group
but just wants a good operational regulation to limit demonstrations.
Mr Chai also asked protest groups to inform the date and demonstration venue
in advance, refrain from closing Ratchaprasong Intersection or blocking the
traffic and open entries and exits around BigC supermarket Ratchadamri
branch and the Anoma hotel for employees working in the area.
DEP: Exports to Japan unaffected by twin disasters
BANGKOK, 23 May 2011 (NNT) – The deadly earthquake and
tsunami in Japan have no significant impact on Thai exports in general,
according to the Department of Export Promotion (DEP) under the Ministry of
Director-General Nuntawan Sakuntanaga stated that the twin disasters barely
affect the Thai exports to Japan because the Thai export value to Japan for
April still expanded by 39.5% year-on-year with the total value of 1.829
million US dollars.
The director-general added that the figure reduced slightly compared with
the value in March 2011 of 2.086 million US dollars. She said the exports
from January to April this year to Japan rose 32.3% year-on-year with the
total value of 7.770 million US dollars.
Ms Nuntawan nonetheless admitted that the DEP still has not trusted the
Japanese economy because the latest official economic announcement shows
that the Japanese economy is shrinking.
The director-general stated that the DEP hence will monitor the economic
situation and nuclear crisis as well as other risk factors such as the baht
currency fluctuation, rising oil price and dwindling agricultural production
in the latter half this year closely to prevent impact on Thai exports.
Government banks take charge of credit card debt
BANGKOK, 22 May 2011 (NNT) – The Government Savings Bank
(GSB) stated that three government bank managers including Krung Thai , GSB
and the Islamic Bank of Thailand (IBank), had made joint statements of new
finance policies regarding credit card debt. In order to minimize the
people's economic burdens, the three banks had raised quotas to an
accumulated value of 10 billion baht. 4.5 billion baht for both Krung Thai
and GSB, and 1 billion for IBank.
GSB had considered raising loans to 300,000 baht per person and a 3-year
repayment period and a 10 percent rate of interest. The project is available
for registration on June 1 and preliminary document requirements include
copies of census documents, identification as well as credit card invoices.
Futhermore, on May 30 , four financial institutions; made up of GSB, Bank
for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), the Government
Housing Bank (GHB), and IBank will collaborate to launch the ATM Pool
Transactions service which include withdrawals, deposits, and join transfers
with low fee payments as part of minimizing costs for clients and continuous
repayments of debt.
GHB approved the interest-free first home loan campaign
BANGKOK, 22 May 2011 (NNT)- The President of Government
Housing Bank (GHB), Mr. Worawit Chailimpamontri declared the loan campaign
of interest-free first home program for the first two years. At present,
there have been 1.3 billion applicants submitted the request, equivalent to
1.9 billion baht with 5.6 billion baht remained to be approved in the near
In the past, 270 applications have been approved, accounting for 344 million
baht. The loan campaign is expecting 2 billion baht loan to be approved
within 30 days.
Mr Worawit also said the majority of borrowers were the average income
earners, and the loan was for townhouse and condominium according to
government’s purposes. The other 70 percent aimed for houses.
As for the parties campaign policy which needed help from the GHB to
proceeds the loan program of interest-free house extended for 5 years, Mr
Worawit insisted that GHB is ready to run the procedure in order to ease
public’s burden. On the other hand, the government would also have to
provide credit limit to compensate the certain part for GHB as well.
Meanwhile, last year’s overall picture of GHB in issuing loan for
accommodation has proved to be successful in carrying out several policies,
which consequently, would issue an additional amount of 1.1 billion baht,
from initial amount of 9.9 billion baht. However, the result is yet to be
seen in the middle of the year.
Thailand to fast track FTAs with Peru, Chile
MONTANA, May 22 -- Thailand is expected to sign a free
trade agreement (FTA) with Peru which is likely to become effective late
this year and the kingdom will sign a similar agreement with Chile which
would be completed around mid-2012, a senior Thai commerce ministry official
Rastapana, director-general of Commerce Ministry's Trade Negotiations
Department, said she had held talks with Peruvian officials on the progress
of an FTA between Thailand and Peru and was informed that Peru still has to
wait for a new parliament to be formed.
Thailand will organise a general election on July 3 and the commerce
ministry will seek an approval on the FTA between the two countries after
the lower house is formed and meets, Mrs Srirat said. If approved, the
agreement could become enforced later this year in which nearly 6,000 goods
items are covered and Thailand will benefit from increased exports of
electrical appliances, pick-up trucks, plastic resins and rubber, while Peru
will gain from exports of shrimp, cod fish and insecticides.
The talks were held on the sidelines of the 17th Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting held in the
state of Montana in the United States between May 19-20.
The Trade Negotiations Department is also moving to sign a similar agreement
with Chile and it believes that the agreement would be ready by mid-2012.
The move comes after major Thai petrochemical industry players wanted the
country to sign an FTA with Chile after several countries such as the US,
South Korea and China have already signed agreements with that nation.
Mrs Srirat said both Peru and Chile are considered important gateways to
Latin America and Thailand would benefit from signing FTAs with the two
countries, as it could further export to the two nations' neighbours, such
as Argentina and Bolivia. (MCOT online news)
FPO chief confident diesel excise tax cut will not affect fiscal position
BANGKOK, May 21 – Fiscal Policy Office (FPO)
Director-General Naris Chaiyasoot on Friday expressed confidence that the
diesel excise tax reduction measures taken by the government to cap diesel
oil prices at below Bt30 per litre would not affect the country’s fiscal
the fiscal position in the first 7 months of fiscal 2011, he said the
government managed to put Bt916.24 billion into the state coffer, up Bt67.29
billion or 7.9 per cent from the same period the year before.
The revenue collection by three state agencies responsible for taxation had
surged due to continued economic growth.
Simultaneously, the budget disbursement totaled Bt1.29 trillion, up Bt219.33
billion or 20.3 per cent from the corresponding period last year.
It resulted in the budget deficit of Bt382.63 billion. The figure, when
combined with the off-budget deficit of 61.08 billion baht arising from the
fiscal bill redemption, put the balance of cash in deficit at Bt443.71
However, the government borrowed Bt129.61 billion to compensate for the
deficit. It helped reduce the deficit to Bt314.11 billion, resulting in the
treasury cash balance standing at Bt115.21 billion at the end of April.
Although the government issued the diesel excise tax reduction measure, Mr.
Naris said, FPO was confident it would not impact the fiscal position given
the improved economic situation and strong fiscal position.
As at the end of fiscal 2011, he projected, the treasury cash balance would
remain at around Bt300 billion, which is considered a stable position. (MCOT
FTI: Printing biz livelier thanks to election
BANGKOK, 21 May 2011 (NNT) – The Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI) has estimated that the printing industry will get livelier
as political parties are making intense election campaigns with the total
circulation of over 3-4 billion baht.
to FTI Deputy Secretary-General Kriengkrai Thiennukul, the printing and
advertising industries were apparently lively at once after all 26 political
parties had drawn their numbers for party-listed MP candidacy.
Posters and signs for election campaigns are expected to be printed around
the clock urgently as each political party wants to have the very best spots
to place their posters and signs, which represents a fiercer competition in
The total budget used by all political parties to advertise via various
media is expected to stand at 15 billion baht, notably in printing material
detailing policies of political parties such as posters, brochures, leaflets
The total circulation for printing industry is projected at 3-4 billion
baht, up from the previous general election amount of 2-3 billion baht.
Printing media is considered the most effective channel to advertise in
political campaigns as it can reach all groups of audience. Social media
channels are accessible only for some groups of people while television
advertisement is against the electoral laws.
House prices to increase 4-5%
BANGKOK, 21 May 2011 (NNT) – House prices are expected to
increase by 4-5% following the rising construction material costs while
investors are encouraged to invest in housing business of which growth rate
is higher than the normal national inflation rate.
Development Executive Director Asst Prof Dr Kessara Thanyalakpark expected
that housing developers will increase prices of all types of property from
house, condominium to townhouse by at least 3-5% following the rising
construction material costs.
Asst Prof Dr Kessara added that projects near sky trains or undergrounds
will be even more expensive since they are in high demand, especially along
Chaeng Wattana Road, which is also another important venue for investment
with mushrooming public and private offices.
Meanwhile, Real Estate Information Centre Executive Director Samma Kitsin
suggested that investors should shift to make investment in housing business
because it offers greater value than the inflation rate growth.
Ms Samma explained that the housing business growth from the mid of 2009 to
the mid of 2010 was at 6% while the national inflation rate was at 4%. He
added that houses took only 12 years to have their prices double unlike
other kinds of goods which took at least 18 years.
The Executive Director reported that people at present have been delaying
their decision to buy new property as they are waiting to see policies of
the new government. He believed that the housing market will become lively
once again after the election.
Apr export grows by 24.6%
BANGKOK, 21 May 2011 (NNT) – Thai export figure in April
2011 was recorded at 17.564 billion US dollars, an increase of 24.6%
year-on-year while the import figure stood at 18.360 billion US dollars,
rising by 27.9% year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Minister Pornthiva Nakasai hence concluded that Thailand last month
experienced a trade deficit of 795.5 US dollars; however, the country still
enjoyed a trade surplus for the first four months of this year at 1.9
billion US dollars in total.
Ms Pornthiva reported that the total export value from January to April was
74.438 billion US dollars, an increase of 27.39% year-on-year, while the
import value in the same period was 72.537 billion US dollars, expanding by
The Ministry of Commerce has readjusted the country’s export target this
year to 12-15% from the earlier projection at 12%.
Negative factors that must be monitored closely comprise global oil price,
product prices, especially foods and other consuming goods, Thai baht
movement, interest rate and lack of workforce in the export sector.
The ministry also voiced its readiness to attend the upcoming meeting of
commerce envoys in the THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2011 at IMPACT Muang Thong
Thani from 25 to 29 May 2011 in a bid to push forward the country’s export.
Special Report: 3 Challenges Facing New Govt
After the House is dissolved, political parties are
campaigning hard to prepare for the upcoming general election. The new
government will be facing with three major challenges, including energy
prices, minimum wage rise and trade competitiveness enhancement, according
to Kasikorn Research Centre (KResearch).
for the first issue, the skyrocketing energy prices and subsidy policy of
the government, KResearch estimated that the government might spend over 110
billion baht in total to pin energy prices until September 2011. The state
will have to reduce subsidy gradually to avoid long-term impact on the
financial stability and urge the society to step up energy conservation.
As for the second issue, many political parties have been boasting that they
will increase the minimum wage to relieve low-income earners from the rising
living costs if they can form a new government. KResearch viewed that such
an initiative should be done together with labour potential enhancement in
order to maintain competitiveness of Thai trade and investment. In addition,
it must be monitored that the rising minimum wage will not affect the
skyrocketing inflation rate.
The other challenge for the new government is to boost competitiveness of
the nation. The new government should focus more on enhancing the national
competitiveness in the long-term by investing in the national infrastructure
and ready the country for the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community
establishment in 2015, which will complicate the business environment and
KResearch expected that the Thai economy this year would grow about 3.0-4.0%
with the base at 3.6%. However, impact from the shortage of auto parts and
components following the twin disasters in Japan and the southern flood in
Thailand will still be a major factor pressuring the Thai economy in the
second quarter as it might shrink by 1.0% or only expand by 0.2% compared
with the previous quarter.
The aforementioned challenges named by KResearch are only economic issues. A
new government will certainly have a hard time ahead as there are still many
other problems pending to be solved from deeply rooted political rifts to
social affairs confusion.
THAI launching low-cost airline next year
BANGKOK, May 20 - Thailand's national flag carrier Thai
Airways International (THAI) will launch its own low-cost airline in April
next year, according to THAI board of director's chairman Ampon Kittiampon.
chairman make the announcement after a board meeting had agreed to set up
the new business unit.
THAI's board of directors has the authority to approve the process directly
without proposing its plan to the Transport Ministry or to the Cabinet for
approval, according to the company's legal team.
Managed according to the earlier announced strategy plan for 2011-2017, the
new business unit aims to reclaim market share of passengers opting for
other low-cost airlines and to support additional market expansion in the
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) so-called Single Aviation
Market in the future.
The new airline has not yet been given a name. "Thai Silk", "Thai Wings" and
"Thai Fly" were initially offered for selection by the public and THAI
The payback or break even point is considered to be in 2-3 years, Mr Ampon
said, with 70-80 per cent of passenger capacity per flight expected with the
Flights of no more than three hours will be operated for domestic and
international routes. Seven aircraft will be used at the initial phase. Five
of them are Boeing 737, which THAI already owns, while another two will have
a150-seat capacity rented through a bidding process. The new airline will
have 11 aircraft within three years.
This business unit will be 100-per cent owned by THAI and operated as a full
airline. Customers using the service will receive benefits such as luggage
allowances and mileage credit accumulation as when they fly with THAI.
The new airline will focus on the speed of its service by offering a high
frequency of flight schedules and a ticket issuance online.
Retired THAI pilots no more than 65 years old will be considered for
employment as captains, while flight attendants will be outsourced.
Mr Ampon added that the board, meanwhile, approved the extension period of
THAI and Singapore's Tiger Airways contract for another three months. If by
then Thai Tiger Aiways, earlier planned to be operated by both airlines,
cannot yet be set up, Thai Airways International will cancel its joint
venture with the Singaporean counterpart. (MCOT online news)
Mar 2011 public debt stands at 41.28% of GDP
BANGKOK, 20 May 2011 (NNT) – The national public debt as
of 31 February 2011 stood at 4.24 trillion baht or 41.28% of the country’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the Public Debt Management Office
Director Chakkrit Parapuntakul reported that out of the total debt, 2.98
trillion baht was directly acquired by the government while about 31.056
billion baht was worth of loans raised by the state-owned Financial
Institutions Development Fund (FIDF).
Mr Chakkrit elaborated further that 1 trillion baht was in the form of loans
raised by non-financial institution state enterprises while the debt figure
of financial institution state enterprises with government guarantees
accounted for 160.34 billion baht.
Compared with February 2011, the national public debt in March reduced by
11.295 billion baht; however, debts directly owed by the government and
those of the FIDF increased by 673.22 and 474.38 million baht respectively.
Meanwhile, debts owed by the non-financial institution state enterprises and
financial institution state enterprises with government guarantees declined
by 12.133 billion and 308 million baht respectively.
The director noted that there were no pending debts owed by other state
BoT to urge more payment via debit card
BANGKOK, 20 May 2011 (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand (BoT)
will encourage people to make payment via debit cards more after the
statistics last year showed that debit cards were mostly used for cash
withdrawal or transfer purposes.
BoT is studying measures to reduce conditions and encourage people to use
debit cards more in line with commercial banks’ policy to promote the use of
the cards among customers instead of ATM cards, to stimulate electronic
payment. The policy was started five years ago but has not been so
As of the end of 2010, there were over 34.130 million debit cards in the
system, up by about 23.086 million cards from just 11.043 million cards in
2005. The number of ATM cards fell from about 28.752 million cards in 2005
to over 20.991 million cards last year, or down by 7.760 million cards.
In 2010, the amount of money used through debit cards totalled at 6.294
trillion baht; however, use of debit cards for payment purpose accounted for
only 30 billion baht or 0.5% of the total amount while the rest was only for
cash transfers and withdrawals.
Average monthly credit card spending was at 3,764 baht while debit card
spending was only at 74 baht. Average monthly cash withdrawal via each ATM
card and debit card was at 6,767 baht and 9,165 baht respectively. Thai
people apparently are using debit cards instead of ATM cards.
In addition, people, especially teenagers, were conducting more financial
transactions via the electronic systems over the past year such as via
mobile banking and internet banking services.
TISI up to 106.6 points in April
BANGKOK, 20 May 2011 (NNT) – The Thai Industrial
Sentiment Index (TISI) has recovered after it had been dwindling for two
consecutive months. The TISI increased to 106.6 points in April from 102.3
points in March 2011, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Chairperson Payungsak Chartsutipol stated that the higher TISI figure last
month mainly resulted from the total purchasing orders, sales, production
volume, operating costs and business profits.
Mr Payungsak elaborated that positive factors driving the TISI up included
the continuous expansion of the domestic demand, rising spending of people
during Songkran Festival, better flood situation in the South and export
However, the chairperson admitted that entrepreneurs remained concerned over
the mounting operating costs following higher prices of raw materials, oil
price hike and rising interest rate.
As for the expected industry confidence index in the next three months, Mr
Payungsak forecast the index to stay around 116.2 points, expanding from the
earlier estimate of 108.0 in March following the anticipated increase in
purchasing orders, sales, production volume, operating costs and profits.
DIT hotline flooded with
complaints on expensive goods
BANGKOK, 20 May 2011 (NNT) – The Department of Internal
Trade (DIT) has reported that over 3,200 complaints had been filed via the
DIT hotline 1569 in the first four months of 2011, one-third of which are on
expensive product prices.
There were 3,214 complaints filed with the hotline, of which 1,248 cases
were about expensive product prices while 1,966 others asked for advices.
The figures for the whole year of 2010 were recorded at 4,488 cases, of
which 1,703 cases were on expensive goods while 2,785 cases asked for
Most of the complaints were about expensive product prices, failure to
display price tags and overpricing. Food and beverages were complained the
most, followed by goods in the agricultural sector and personal care
Palm oil has been receiving most of the complaints from the beginning of
this year due to shortage and overpriced sales. Sugar is also another
product in the list. In certain areas, sugar is sold at 26-30 baht per
kilogram, up from the regulated price of 23.5 baht per kilogram.
Other complaints were associated with pork price as it went up from 110-120
baht per kilogram to 140-150 baht per kilogram and used to peak to as high
as 180 baht per kilogram. Prices of dishes sold in food stalls and food
shops have been skyrocketing following rising product prices.
Drought eases off in 5 provinces
BANGKOK, 20 May 2011 (NNT) – The drought situation in
five provinces out of a total of 45 provinces has eased off while the
declaration for dry spell zones in those provinces has been cancelled,
according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM)
under the supervision of the Interior Ministry.
Emergency operations center of the DDPM reported that originally there were
34,936 villages in 437 districts of 45 provinces facing the drought. In
addition, a total of 9.894 million villagers from 3 million households got
affected from the disaster.
Nevertheless, the center has recently called off its declaration for
drought-stricken areas in three northern and two eastern provinces,
including Uttaradit, Lampang, Lamphun, Rayong and Chon Buri.
The center further reported that a total of 866 villages in 237 districts of
39 provinces had been devastated by thunderstorms from 1 April to 10 May
2011. About 18,408 houses were damaged, and one villager was reportedly
killed by a thunderbolt in the northeastern province of Kalasin.
DEP sets up thaitrade.com website to boost exports
BANGKOK, 19 May 2011 (NNT) – The Department of Export
Promotion (DEP) is planning to open a trading website, www.thaitrade.com,
within next month with an aim to augment Thai exports through online media.
DEP Director-General Nantawan Sakuntanak stated that the department had come
up with an online central market project featuring the thaitrade.com
website, which was expected to be ready for operations within June. She
indicated that up to 500 entrepreneurs, notably those in the gift, fashion
and furniture businesses, had agreed to participate in the project, which
would be further promoted during the upcoming THAIFEX 2011.
Ms Nantawan pointed out that the website would serve as an effective tool in
boosting the potential of Thai exporters and showcasing their products and
services to prospective customers in every corner of the world. After the
website’s official launch, she expected the project to have more than 3,000
participants with over 60,000 products.
Retailers suing for damages from Red Shirt protest
BANGKOK, May 20 - Retailers at Bangkok's prime shopping
and business area of Ratchaprasong upset by new business losses from the
latest Red Shirt protest, plan to sue both the government and Red Shirt
leaders for damages.
of Thailand’s anti-government United Front for Democracy against
Dictatorship (UDD), the Red Shirt movement, rallied at Ratchaprasong
Thursday to mark the anniversary of last year’s May 19 protest clampdown.
Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association President Chai Srivikorn told a news
conference that the rally forced vendors and business operators in the area
to close their shops and stores to end their working hours early.
Many hotels around Ratchaprasong have been hard hit by the protest as
visitors who realised that there would be the demonstration, cancelled 1,500
rooms reserved earlier, while 3,000 customers had cancelled seminars or
functions which caused hotels loss of more than Bt10 million, he said.
Shops and stores inside the premium shopping complexes and surrounding areas
closed before normal closing time, including Gaysorn Plaza, CentralWorld,
and Big C, he said, adding that schools and business were forced to shorten
their office hours which affected their businesses.
Moreover, the Bangkok Mass Transport Authority (BMTA) which operates bus
services in Bangkok reroute buses to avoid the rally site, which
inconvenienced the general public, Mr Chai said.
He said that the rally did not run in accordance with the conditions earlier
agreed particularly the blockade of the gate of Big C department store and
the Arnoma Hotel which caused particular inconvenience to the staff.
Mr Chai said the association is gathering evidence to sue the government as
it knew in advance about the demonstration but, the business spokesman said,
the authorities had no plan to cope with the large-scale gathering, and he
alleged the police failed to properly handle the rally.
He said the police had early pledged not to allow any demonstrators to block
traffic but fail to do so.
The association planned to file a lawsuit against the UDD leaders leading
the demonstration causing trouble to the general public and business
Mr Chai said the association did not object to demonstrations or protests
but wanted the event to be held in an orderly manner, to consider the safety
and not caused problems for other people.
He urged all groups who planned to rally to avoid business areas as that
could involve violating business owners rights and cause damage to other
people. (MCOT online news)
Thai export growth in 2011 revised upward to 15%: Commerce Ministry
BANGKOK, May 20 -- The Ministry of Commerce has revised
Thailand’s export growth this year to 15 per cent from an earlier projection
of 12 per cent, while exports in April gained nearly 25 per cent
year-on-year, Commerce Minister Pornthiva Nakasai told a press briefing
exports in April were valued at over US$17.5 billion, up 24.6 per cent, from
a year earlier.
Ms Pornthiva said increasing shipments were registered across all key
sectors, driven especially by the demand for agricultural and industrial
products which grew by 37 per cent. Meanwhile, the industrial product sector
rose by 19.8 per cent, except for the shipment of automobiles and auto parts
which fell by 5.4 per cent.
In the first four months of 2011, the country’s exports reached more than
$74.4 billion in value, a 27.4 per cent increase, compared to the same
period last year.
The minister explained that the shipments to key markets gradually expanded
33.3 per cent for the fourth consecutive month, in particular those to
Japan, while those to the promising markets marked only a 1 per cent rise,
owing to 36.9 per cent decline to Australian markets.
Imports in April posted a 27.9 per cent expansion, worth over $18.3 billion,
year-on-year with rising volumes in all major sectors. The growing figures
resulted in a trade deficit around $796.5 million thanks the fuel imports.
However, the country still enjoyed a trade surplus of $1.9 billion in the
first four months of this year, with the total import value of $72.5
billion, Ms Pornthiva said, believing that the overall Thai economy in 2011
will not face a trade deficit.
Meanwhile, the ministry keeps monitoring risk factors which may impact the
economy and exports, including global oil prices, goods and commodity
prices, the baht currency, the key interest rate, labour shortages and the
Japanese government’s policy to return the country to normal after the March
11 earthquake and tsunami which was forecast to push the economy into
recession in the second half of the year.
Ms Pornthiva predicted that Thailand will benefit from the agricultural
sector. The country’s volume of rice exports will outstrip the previously
projected figure of 9.5 million tonnes as the volume of rice exports was
about 1 million tonnes a month during January to April. (MCOT online news)
PTT, Bangchak to cut oil prices by 40 satang/liter
BANGKOK, 19 May 2011 (NNT) –Domestic oil retailers and
refineries, PTT Plc and Bangchak Petroleum Plc, will reduce their retail
prices of benzene products by 40 satang per liter, except for E85, which
will be decreased by 20 satang a liter, starting from Friday at 05.00 hrs
announcement for the price adjustment results from lower prices of petroleum
products in Singapore’s market while the global crude oil price currently
stands beyond 100 US dollars per barrel.
Retail oil prices at PTT and Bangchak stations in Bangkok and its vicinities
tomorrow will be as follows:
Benzene 91 will be sold at 42.44 baht per liter.
Gasohol 95 will stand at 37.54 baht and Gasohol 91 at 35.04 baht per liter.
E20 will be at 34.14 baht, while E85 at 22.22 baht per liter.
High-speed diesel will remain at 29.99 baht per liter thanks to the
government's diesel price subsidy policy.
Car sales in first 4-months hit new high
BANGKOK, 19 May 2011 (NNT) – Sales of cars in April 2011
have been concluded at 67,283 units, an increase of 17.8% year-on-year while
a total of 305,902 cars are sold in the first four months of this year,
rising by 36.6%, a new record high.
Motor Thailand Senior Vice President Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont reported
that the sales volume for passenger cars last month stood at 30,953 units,
expanding by 17.8% while the commercial vehicle sales, including one-ton
pick-up, were at 36,330 units, an increase of 17.7%.
The senior vice president added that the sales of one-ton pick-up trucks
alone were reported at 31,272 units, a rise of 20.8% from the same month in
Mr Vudhigorn pointed out that the vehicle sales volume in April could
indicate the continuous expansion of the auto business despite serious
effects on production capacity from the twin deadly disasters in Japan in
The senior vice president continued that the rising sales of passenger cars
resulted from higher popularity on smaller, modern and energy-saving cars
while the expanding figure of commercial vehicles was due to higher demand
prompted by better economic condition.
As for vehicle sales during the first four months this year, Mr Vudhigorn
reported that the passenger car sales grew by 48.2% while commercial
vehicles expanded by 28.4%, and this could reflect stronger domestic economy
driven by the expansion in investment, production and exports.
Car production in Thailand declined, with better forecast at yearend
BANGKOK, 19 May 2011 (NNT)-The Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI) has lowered the production capacity of the auto –industry
in Thailand from 1.8 million units to 1.6 million units due to the massive
earthquake in Japan.
Vice President of the Federation of Thai Industries Suparat
Sirisuwannangkura said the number of cars sold in the country had declined
by 27.6% from March to April.
However, it was a sales growth from last year which had been recorded at
17.8%. According to Mr. Suparat, sales continue to increase due to improving
economy with demands rising for new cars and the energy efficient ones.
Sales of motorcycle have increased by 11.6% from April last year but
reportedly declined from March this year at 21.8%. The overall sales in the
first four months of this year have risen 36.6% from the same period last
Since the devastating tsunami in Japan, the production of cars in Thailand
has decreased by 48.15% to 15.16% in March and April respectively compared
to last year.
Mr. Suparat added that the production would further decline by another 10%,
but things were expected to be brighter by this yearend if the production
headquarters in Japan were able to resume their operations next month.
MOPH warns farmers of leptospirosis
BANGKOK, 17 May 2011 (NNT) – The Ministry of Public
Health has urged agriculturalists to beware of leptospirosis after the
number of patients this year has reached 548 with 12 fatalities.
the rainy season has arrived and the cultivation of crops has begun, Public
Health Ministry Spokesperson Suphan Srithamma indicated that
agriculturalists were at high risk of contracting leptospirosis when working
in their farmland. He explained that leptospirosis was a waterborne disease
while infective bacteria could live in the water for at least three weeks
and could easily enter the body through skin and open wounds.
Therefore, the Spokesperson stated that he had instructed provincial public
health offices, tambon health promotion hospitals and village health
volunteers across the country to help educate the public, especially farm
workers, about the disease and preventive methods at haste. Medical
personnel have also been told to pay special attention to patients who have
walked through flood waters and puddles of mud, where leptospirosis is most
Since the beginning of this year, a total of 548 people nationwide have been
infected with the disease, most of them are in the age range of 25-54.
Twelve patients have passed away.
FTI: New govt should increase minimum wage
BANGKOK, 18 May 2011 (NNT) – The Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI) has suggested that the new government should adjust the
minimum wage up in line with the current situation and take the impact of
the increase on entrepreneurs in consideration.
Vice Chairperson Dr Tanit Sorat stated that the new government should
consider increasing the minimum wages reasonably because doing so without
considering its impact on the national industrial system will certainly have
adverse effect on the industry’s operating cost and exports of products.
Dr Tanit expressed his opinion that minimum wage hike should be in
accordance with the living costs, and that it could be increased every few
years in the form of annual income, which should not be lower than the
national inflation rate.
The vice chairperson added that the government should also expedite the
regulations to increase wages based on skills and qualifications; therefore,
skilled workers’ salaries should be commensurate with their experience and
Dr Tanit explained that failure to do so could lead to skilled workers
migrating to and earning more in neighbouring countries after the
establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
Mobile phone network operators’ income up
BANGKOK, 18 May 2011 (NNT) – Mobile phone network
operators in Thailand are enjoying skyrocketing profits as the overall
income last year was mainly boosted by the expansion of smartphone market,
according to the National Telecommunications Commission.
combined earnings of all mobile phone network operators for 2010 were
concluded at 220 billion baht, up 7% year-on-year. AIS reportedly earned
111.280 billion baht with 31.2 million mobile phone numbers. Average monthly
income per phone number was 240 baht.
Revenues for DTAC were reported at 72.351 billion baht, with 21.6 million
mobile phone numbers, each spending an average of 215 baht a month. Revenues
for Truemove were 30.960 billion baht with 17.2 million phone numbers.
Average monthly income per one number was 105 baht.
As for 2010’s dividend payments to shareholders, AIS has announced that it
will pay 12.92 dividend per share, which include 6.92 baht for 2010 in
annual dividend payments plus special payments of 6 baht per share. The
company expects to pay 9.5 baht dividend per share this year.
Meanwhile, DTAC paid 3.21 baht per share in annual dividend and special
dividend of 0.56 baht per share. The company expects to pay no less than 4
baht dividend per share this year.
The rising revenue has been attributed to the economic revival in the fourth
quarter last year and the popularity of the mobile online society plus the
smartphone trend. Service fees and online applications were also key revenue
Thai exports to EU increasing
BANGKOK, 18 May 2011 (NNT) – The Department of Export
Promotion (DEP) has foreseen a positive outlook for the export to the
European Union (EU) region, given it grew as much as 26% in the first
quarter this year.
to DEP Director-General Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, the EU economy is improving
conducive to its increase in exports although the financial situation
remains worrying to a certain extent because investment risks in some member
nations are still high.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region, however, could grow by 1.5%
thanks to the gradually increasing internal and external demands owing to
the block’s economic recovery, especially by the UK whose GDP might expand
by 2% this year.
Thailand has set a target of at least 10% in export growth to the 15 EU
nations, worth altogether 20.177 billion US dollars, this year. Exports to
the region in the first quarter of this year, from January to March, rose by
24%; with a combined value of 5.612 million US dollars.
The top three exported goods are computer and parts worth 668 million US
dollars, down by11%; followed by jewellery and accessories with 433 million
US dollars, up 26%. Para rubber was third with 431 million US dollars,
expanding by 132%.
PTT, Bangchak, Caltex cut oil prices by 30 satang/liter
BANGKOK, 18 May 2011 – Good news for motorists.
PTT, Bangchak and Caltex have decreased their retail prices of benzene
products by 30 satang per liter, except for E85 and diesel products whose
prices remain pinned, beginning from today at 05.00 hrs onwards.
price adjustment is resulted from the continuously falling prices of crude
oil in the global market; therefore, the new retail oil prices at all PTT,
Bangchak and Caltex stations in Bangkok and its vicinities are now as
Benzene 91 now costs 42.84 baht per liter.
Gasohol 95 stands at 37.94 baht and Gasohol 91 at 35.44 baht per liter.
E20 is at 34.54 baht, while E85 at 22.42 baht per liter.
High-speed diesel remains at 29.99 baht per liter thanks to the government's
diesel price subsidy policy.
Global oil prices have been going down since last week due to concerns that
the rising oil prices will dampen energy demand. The International Energy
Agency has recently revised its estimate of the global oil demand down to
190,000 barrel a day owing to expensive oil prices and fragile economic
recovery of richer nations.
Thai exports to European Union grow 24% in first quarter
BANGKOK, May 17 - Thailand's exports to the European
Union (EU) grew 24 per cent in the first quarter of this year, amounting to
US$5.6 billion, according to the Department of Export Promotion (DEP).
Director-General Nantawan Sakultanak said the growth was due to the improved
EU economic situation, with greater exports despite concerns about financial
markets and investment in some member countries.
The main Thai goods exported to Europe from January through March were
computers and spare parts at US$668 million, an 11-per cent decrease in
value, followed by gems and jewellery at US$433 million, a 26-per cent
growth, and rubber at US$431 million, a 132-per cent rise in value,
Ms Nantawan said Thailand aims to increase its exports to EU markets in 15
member countries by at least 10 per cent, or about US$20 billion in value.
The Department of Export Promotion has been monitoring tariff and non-tariff
measures applied by the European Union due to EU alerts on the safety of
The European Union from July 1 will strictly control imported kitchenware
made of polyamide and melamine with China and Hong Kong as the country of
origin, as excessive levels of carcinogens, spreading from food containers,
were found in the respiratory system of European consumers. (MCOT online
Thai Trade rep to systematise Thai boxing in US
BANGKOK, May 17 - The Thailand Trade Representative (TTR)
in conjunction with the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Los Angeles and Thai
boxing gyms and clubs in California will systematise over 1,000 Thai boxing
gyms and clubs in the United States in order to create a stronger business
profile for this business.
Thai Trade Rrepresentative Vachara Phanchet said there are currently more
than 400 boxing gyms and clubs in California alone offering Thai boxing
instruction. Although the activity is so popular it is put in the American
Physical Education's curriculum, the business lacks a proper system to
effectively manage all the gyms and clubs nationwide.
He believed that if Thai boxing gyms and clubs in the US cooperate, it will
add great value to the business, which can be changed to complete fitness
centre businesses for Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, while sportwear, souvenirs
or other related merchandise can be offered for sale.
Muay Thai fees in California amount to some Bt360 million in value annually,
according to initial estimates.
Mr Vachara said Thai boxing is certified by the World Boxing Council (WBC)
and is globally known as second to none in comparison with Taekwondo and
TTR will collaborate with related agencies, particularly Thailand's Tourism
and Sports Ministry, to promote the Muay Thai business.
It is also planning to push for a part of Hollywood Boulevard in Los
Angeles, about 2km in the northern section, to become "Thai Town" by asking
Thai entrepreneurs, especially real estate investors, to invest and manage
buildings in the area, in which many Thai shops of various sorts and
restaurants are currently situated.
Mr Vachara also said TTR will discuss with agencies on support by the local
Thai community in California in order to found a community bank to
facilitate Thai entrepreneurs having businesses there despite the fact that
Kasikorn and Siam Commercial Bank already operated in California. (MCOT