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Thailand Kept Interest Rate Unchanged

Thailand's consumer confidence rose for the first time in five months in June after the seven-month-old government said it would spend more than 1.4 trillion baht by the end of 2012. Policy makers in the Southeast Asian nation have begun saying the economy may be past the worst after declines in exports and manufacturing stabilized. Policy makers "assessed that the growth of the Thai economy would improve going forward provided that the global economic recovery sustained and the fiscal impetus started to intensify," the central bank said. The current monetary policy is "accommodative and would be supportive of an economic recovery in a subdued inflation environment."

Thailand's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a second straight meeting amid signs government spending has helped moderate the pace of the nation's economic contraction. The Bank of Thailand held the one-day bond repurchase rate at 1.25 percent, it said in a statement today. That's the lowest level since July 2004. Seventeen of 18 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expected the decision. One economist predicted a 25 basis-point cut. The decision "indicates confidence that the economy has bottomed out and may rebound without further monetary policy easing," said Rapee Sucharitakul, executive chairman of Kasikorn Asset Management Co., Thailand's biggest mutual-fund company with 470 billion baht ($13.8 billion) of assets. "Higher government spending will be a key driver for growth from now on."

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ICBC Bank May Buy Stake in ACL Bank Pcl From Bangkok Bank

The Thai government may approve ICBC's bid to buy its shares in ACL, the Kao Hoon newspaper reported May 20, citing Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij. Korn said he will support the deal if the takeover benefits the Thai bank, according to the report.

Bangkok Bank Pcl, Thailand's biggest lender, agreed to sell its stake in ACL Bank Pcl to Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world's biggest bank by market value. "We are done with the talks, now it's up to the finance ministry," Kosit Panpiemras, the Thai bank's chairman, told reporters today, adding that ICBC also wants to buy the ministry's stake in ACL. Bangkok Bank said Nov. 21 it aimed to complete the sale of a 19.3 percent stake in ACL, worth $33 million at yesterday's close, to ICBC by the end of 2007. The deal was delayed pending a plan to raise overseas ownership limits in Thai banks to 49 percent. Thailand's government holds 30.6 percent of ACL. A deal would add to ICBC's emerging-market holdings as the state-owned bank continues an overseas expansion drive begun in 2006 with the purchase of 90 percent of PT Bank Halim Indonesia. The firm agreed to buy 79.9 percent of Macau's third-biggest bank in August and bought a fifth of South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. in October, the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese lender.

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Thai Exports Plunge but Improvement is Predicted

Thailand's exports for the month of May dropped dramatically since 1992 due to lack of demand for products. Shipments declined 26.6 percent from the prior year, according to the Commerce Ministry's Permanent Secretary Siripol Yodmuangcharoen.

Thailand's exports for the month of May dropped dramatically since 1992 due to lack of demand for products. Shipments declined 26.6 percent from the prior year, according to the Commerce Ministry's Permanent Secretary Siripol Yodmuangcharoen. An Economist at Capital Nomura Securities Pcl in Bangkok, Nuchjarin Panarode said the drop has steadied and other economic indicators support the prediction that exports may improve. Exports have fallen about 15-19 percent in 2009 and perhaps will continue to fall at a slower rate in the third quarter, but the Prime Minister asserts that exports will return to growth by the fourth quarter of the year. About 70 percent of Thailand's economy relies on shipments. A less severe drop in exports is predicted as companies like Hana Microelectronics Pcl and KCE Electronics Pcl ship more products. Thailand's industrial output actually increased in April since exporters' customers began rebuilding stockpiles, expecting a boost in demand. Richard Han, chief executive officer from Hana affirmed that demand had increased from April to May. They expect demand from China and the rest of the continent to help their exports. Since the country's imports are still relatively low, the economy will not worsen, and it might be positive for net exports, as stated by Capital Nomura's Nuchjarin.

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Thailand: Saha Calls For Subsidies

Saha Group, Thailand's biggest consumer products conglomerate, called for the government to provide subsidies to companies to help them save their workers from layoffs during the economic crisis.

Saha Group, Thailand's biggest consumer products conglomerate, called for the government to provide subsidies to companies to help them save their workers from layoffs during the economic crisis. Boonchai Chokwatana, president of Saha Pathanapibul, a subsidiary of Saha Group, said that the government should switch some of its intensive vocational training budget worth 6.9 trillion baht to help save workers from layoffs, arguing that training people does not guarantee them a job. The National Economic and Social Development Board predicted that Thailand would have at least 1 million unemployed people this year, about 2.5 percent of its workforce.

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Thailand: FTI Still Seeks B380m Retraining Budget

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is still seeking government approval for its proposed skill retraining budget worth 380 million baht.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is still seeking government approval for its proposed skill retraining budget worth 380 million baht. According to Taweekit Chaturacharoenkhun, the FTI deputy chairman overseeing employment, the Thai government has largely overlooked their proposal. The FTI's proposed projects were also not included in the 6.9 billion baht government budget allocated to curb unemployment. The 380 million baht would go to a pilot project to retrain 57,00 workers from 315 factories across all industries over four months.

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Thailand Trade Surplus Reaches 18-Year High

Thailand's trade surplus reached $3.58 billion in February, its widest trade surplus in 18 years.

Thailand's trade surplus reached $3.58 billion in February, its widest trade surplus in 18 years. The widening of the trade surplus is attributed to the 40.3% drop in imports, its sharpest drop in 11 years. The decline in imports reflects lower demand for raw materials among manufacturers and falling oil prices. The large decline in imports, particularly of raw materials and capital goods, signals that manufacturing exports are likely to decline in the next few months. Exports, which account for 70% of the economy, sank for the fourth consecutive month by 11.3% from a year ago to $11.73 billion.

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Thailand: 15 Years of Free Education Program Launched

The government distributed 18 billion baht among over 40,000 local schools throughout the country to start its program of 15-years free education on Wednesday.

The government distributed 18 billion baht among over 40,000 local schools throughout the country to start its program of 15-years free education on Wednesday. A total of 18.257 billion baht was transferred to public and private schools nationwide. The program aims to help alleviate the financial burden carried by parents and also help stimulate the economy. The money would benefit students from kindergarten to high school, including vocational education inside and outside the formal education system. The policy would cover fees for education, books, education tools, student uniforms and recreational activities for about 11.8 million students.

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Thailand Government Launches B1.4 Trillion Stimulus Budget

The Thai government is planning to invest 1.4 trillion baht over a span of three years to help boost its domestic economy amid falling exports and foreign investment inflows.

The Thai government is planning to invest 1.4 trillion baht over a span of three years to help boost its domestic economy amid falling exports and foreign investment inflows. The stimulus will focus on infrastructure projects, including mass transit and water supply development. The plan will be put to a cabinet meeting next week.

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thailand

Thailand Government Targets Telecom Concessions

Thailand's State Enterprise Policy Office recently proposed to create a holding company to manage telecom concessions owned by TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, two state-owned telecommunications firms.

Thailand's State Enterprise Policy Office recently proposed to create a holding company to manage telecom concessions owned by TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, two state-owned telecommunications firms. This arrangement could allow the government to make better use of the revenue-sharing payments made by private telecom operators. The new holding company would manage the concessions and collect earnings directly from private telecom operators before directing them to government coffers. This is crucial especially at the time when the Thai government has been struggling to collect taxes and other revenues in a weak economy.

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Thailand: Food Export Projection Worsens

The National Food Institute (NFI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries are expecting that food exports will drop by 15 percent from last year's 778 billion baht to 661.2 billion baht this year.

The National Food Institute (NFI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries are expecting that food exports will drop by 15 percent from last year's 778 billion baht to 661.2 billion baht this year. Commodities will be hit the hardest this year due to the plunge in demand and prices for such goods.

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thailand

Thailand's Tax Revenue Falls 16.4% Under Goal

Taxes collected over the first five months of the Thai government's fiscal year fell short of its target by 16.4 percent, with only 451.53 billion baht received.

Taxes collected over the first five months of the Thai government's fiscal year fell short of its target by 16.4 percent, with only 451.53 billion baht received. Tax refunds were 19.6 percent above projections and up 29.4 percent over the same period last year, at 95.33 billion baht. These tax results reflect the global economic downturn and the government's policy of continuing to reduce the excise tax for oil. These reports on the most recent tax revenues come after the Thai cabinet approved a framework to borrow $2 billion to build infrastructure and boost the economy from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Japan Bank of International Cooperation.

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Thailand: NESDB Warns Of Further Falls In Exports

Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) warned that the country's export and tourism exports might slump further as the world economic crisis is unlikely to end soon.

Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) warned that the country's export and tourism exports might slump further as the world economic crisis is unlikely to end soon. The country had previously hoped that a recovery in tourism would cushion the impact from a fall in exports. But depreciated assets have prompted many cost-cutting tourists to avoid long distance trips. The NESDB also said that Thailand is unlikely to benefit from economic stimulus measures launched in its main export markets, including the US, the UK, Japan, Germany and China, because their measures focus on boosting short-term consumption in domestic markets. The NESDB forecasts that Thai exports will contract by 13.1 percent and the Thai economy will contract by 1 percent this year.

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thailand

Thailand Exports Decline Drives Losses

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) is expecting unemployment to exceed 1.5 million people this year if Thailand's exports decline by as much as 20%.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) is expecting unemployment to exceed 1.5 million people this year if Thailand's exports decline by as much as 20%. Thai exports are expected to plunge further as the country's traditional markets, including the U.S. and the European Union, will perform worse than expected. Thai shipments in February were 26.5 percent down from a year earlier. The UTCC projected earlier that exports would expand by 10 percent and unemployment would reach 1.3 million.

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thailand

Thailand: Government To Seek More Loans

The Thai government was approved by the Council of Economic Ministers to borrow $2 billion from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), to be used to help stimulate the economy.

The Thai government was approved by the Council of Economic Ministers to borrow $2 billion from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), to be used to help stimulate the economy. The Ministry of Finance is set to start negotiations with the three foreign institutions in April or May and is expected to get the loans in July. About half of the loans will be sought from the World Bank while about $500 million will be sought from both the ADB and Jica.

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thailand

Europe Open To Thailand Trade Talks

The European Union is willing to begin bilateral free trade discussions with Thailand in a process that would move with existing Asean-EU talks.

The European Union is willing to begin bilateral free trade discussions with Thailand in a process that would move with existing Asean-EU talks. The EU has had six rounds of talks about a free trade agreement with Asean since May 2007. But for them, the slow integration of the 10 Asean members have hindered progress to the FTA. Consequently, the EU is now willing to move forward with bilateral talks with Thailand and other Asean countries while still maintaining the regional trade talks. Europe is one of Thailand's largest trading partners with exports totaling $23.39 billion last year.

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Thailand Household Debt Up 6.15% From 2008

A recent survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) shows that household debts are increasing on all lending channels, with a significant increase in borrowing through credit cards, commercial banks and private lenders.

A recent survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) shows that household debts are increasing on all lending channels, with a significant increase in borrowing through credit cards, commercial banks and private lenders. 72 percent of the 1,200 respondents had borrowed with credit cards, 69 percent had increased their debt to commercial banks and 68 percent owed more to private lenders. The average debt per household is now at 143,476.32 baht, up 6.15 percent from the same period last year. The average monthly debt payment for each household was only 9,416.50 baht. Increases in product prices, interest rates and oil prices were blamed for the rise in household expenses.

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Bank Of Thailand Cuts Rate To 1.5%

The Bank of Thailand cut short-term interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday from 2% to 1.5%.

The Bank of Thailand cut short-term interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday from 2% to 1.5%. The rate has been cut by 2.25 percentage points in the past three months. The bank cited the sharp decline in global and domestic demand that is hurting the country's exports and domestic consumption as one of the reasons for the rate cut. Other Thai banks are expected to follow with their own rate cuts.

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thailand

Moody's: Thailand 'Worst Hit In Asia'

According to Moody's Economy.com, the Thai economy is expect to fall by as much as 2.4 percent this year.

According to Moody's Economy.com, the Thai economy is expect to fall by as much as 2.4 percent this year. They point to dismal fourth-quarter 2008 economic figures that suggest that the country is in the running for the label 'worst hit in Asia'. Declines in foreign demand and a decline in agricultural prices have hit Thailand's exports hard. Last year's political instability also negatively affected the country's tourism and consumer and investor confidence. The report states that Thailand's dependence on exports will limit the extent that the government can promote economic growth.

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Thailand Government Still Foresees Growth

The Thai government is still projecting positive economic growth for this year despite falling export figures.

The Thai government is still projecting positive economic growth for this year despite falling export figures. It expects that the economic stimulus packages and the recovering tourism industry will help prop up the economy amid the global economic downturn. At least 300 billion baht will be injected to help stimulate the economy this year. The government also plans to spend 120 billion baht to support commodity prices, which would help the agricultural industry. A second stimulus package is expected to be implemented in October, the start of the 2010 fiscal budget. The recovering tourism industry is also expected to help boost the economy as more local and foreign tourists are projected to visit the country.

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Thai Government Working On B1.9 Trillion Plan

The Thai government is planning on spending 1.9 trillion baht mainly on infrastructure projects in the next three to four years to help increase investment and create new jobs.

The Thai government is planning on spending 1.9 trillion baht mainly on infrastructure projects in the next three to four years to help increase investment and create new jobs. According to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, these projects include water-supply management, utilities and logistics, information technology, mass transit, tourism, education, health care, food and alternative energy and green industry. The plan will be financed by the fiscal budget, loans from local and international financial institutions as well as the private sector. This plan comes in addition to a previously announced 117 billion baht budget that includes cash handouts and training programs for the unemployed. The Thai economy is forecast to grow this year at its slowest pace in 11 years as exports and local demand weaken.

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The Export-Import Bank of Thailand Doubles Non-Performing Loans Total

Non-performing loans (NPLs) at the Export-Import Bank of Thailand have doubled to 9 percent of total credit and have a high potential to increase as export demand is expected to slow further.

Non-performing loans (NPLs) at the Export-Import Bank of Thailand have doubled to 9 percent of total credit and have a high potential to increase as export demand is expected to slow further. Last year, the bank had 4.72 billion baht of NPLs, up from 2.9 billion baht in 2007. The majority of the NPLs were from the tapioca business where buyers refused to pay for the goods because the agreed upon price was higher than the delivery date price. Other industries that have increased the amount of NPLs are, construction, shrimp and frozen seafood, furniture and trading. The increasing amount of NPLs for the the Export-Import Bank of Thailand has also lead to decreasing profits. In 2008, profits were recorded at 201 million baht, down around 60 percent from 505 million baht in 2007.

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Thailand’s Biggest Publicly Traded Miller Cuts Sales Growth Forecast to Zero

Thailand's biggest publicly traded miller, Khon Kaen Sugar Industry, cut sales growth forecast from 20% to zero.

Thailand's biggest publicly traded miller, Khon Kaen Sugar Industry, cut sales growth forecast from 20% to zero. As a result of the global recession, prices were falling and overseas operations were becoming inoperable. No growth in sales in the year to October 2009 would be Khon Kaen Sugar's worst performance since 2005, when revenue shrank 5.7 percent.

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Thailand Approves New Tourism Budget

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the cabinet has endorsed a $1 billion baht budget to be used for reviving and stimulating the tourism industry.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the cabinet has endorsed a $1 billion baht budget to be used for reviving and stimulating the tourism industry. The budget, proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, will help to fight to shrinking tourism amid the global financial crisis. The ministry has also requested a $5 billion baht budget to set up a fund to assist tourism that was affected by the closure of two Bangkok airports last year. The shutdown of the two airports by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters cost Thailand an estimated $290 billion baht in revenue from tourism, service and transportation sectors

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BAY Taking Over AIG Bank Unit

Thailand's fifth-largest bank, Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), announced that it will buy AIG Retail Bank in a deal valued at 2.055 billion baht (approximately $58.7 million).

Thailand's fifth-largest bank, Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), announced that it will buy AIG Retail Bank in a deal valued at 2.055 billion baht (approximately $58.7 million). The deal will included 99.5 percent of AIG Retail Bank and 100 percent of AIG Card. The acquisition will boost BAY's assets from 32 billion baht to 777 billion baht, including a 14 percent increase in its retail loan portfolio and 222,000 new credit card accounts. The deal, expected to pass, still awaits approval from the The Bank of Thailand and BAY's shareholders.

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Thai Government Considers Auto Stimulus

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced that the government will seriously look into problems faced by the automotive industry and might consider short-term measure to protect the sector from the global financial crisis.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced that the government will seriously look into problems faced by the automotive industry and might consider short-term measure to protect the sector from the global financial crisis. Potential plans include the government facilitating financing for car purchases and tax allowances for new car buyers. The government is also open to ideas from industry representatives. The Prime Minister's comments came in response to a US executive of General Motors who asked whether the Thai government would introduce an auto stimulus.

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Thailand: FPO Estimates 3.5% Slide in Q4

Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office estimates that the country's economy contracted around 3.5% in the fourth quarter

Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office estimates that the country's economy contracted around 3.5% in the fourth quarter. The contraction was mainly attributed to the decrease in tourism and exports in light of the global financial crisis, as well as Thailand's political instabilities. The contraction is estimated to last throughout the present quarter. Officials believe that the slow budget disbursement has further hurt economical growth. Thailand will have to speed up the implementation of its fiscal stimulus in order to avert further contractions.

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Thailand : Incentives Boost New Housing by 15%

Thailand has begun to raise government incentives in an effort to boost its sagging real estate market.

Thailand has begun to raise government incentives in an effort to boost its sagging real estate market. The government will allow up to 300,000 baht of mortgage principal and 100,000 baht of payments to be deducted from taxable incomes. This measure is expected to increase housing by 15% this year, allowing the property market to pick up by the fourth quarter.

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Thailand Eyes Sales of Rice

Thailand, currently the world's largest rice exporter, may begin selling around 5m tons of rice from its stockpile, a figure equal to one fifth of the rice traded annually in the world.

Thailand, currently the world's largest rice exporter, may begin selling around 5m tons of rice from its stockpile, a figure equal to one fifth of the rice traded annually in the world. Thailand's rice stockpile has grown significantly in the past few months, as the country began buying surplus production at above market prices in order to protect local farmer's incomes. Thailand is currently deciding whether it will sell its surplus rice in the open market, or if it will make a government-to-government deal. Selling the rice in open market, might severely hit world prices.

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Thai Auto Exports Plunge 42.11 Percent

Thailand suffered a 42.11% fall in its auto exports in December from the same period the year earlier.

Thailand suffered a 42.11% fall in its auto exports in December from the same period the year earlier. The sharp fall was mainly a result from weaker demand, mainly from Thailand's main markets across Asia and Australia. Thailand also saw its lowest overall production rates since 2005, with its total auto production plunging 19.45% from the previous year. Thailand predicts a 24.49% fall in its auto export production this year. Thailand has no national automaker, but has drawn many foreign companies, becoming an important center for auto production. The falling demands will severely affect production, with some factories having to stop operations.

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Thailand: 'Plan B' Stimulus Moves Promised for Third Quarter

Thailand's government has announced plans to introduce additional measures to stimulate the economy besides its previous stimulus package.

Thailand's government has announced plans to introduce additional measures to stimulate the economy besides its previous stimulus package. The so called Plan B, is expected to go into effect on the third quarter of 2009 and will aim to strengthen the country's competitiveness, including restructuring investment and development, alternative energy, mass transit and irrigation. Plan B is also expected to boost agricultural production and decrease current barriers to trade. Plan B will spur greater economic growth, as some feared that the current stimulus is not enough to efficiently boost economic activity. Combined, both stimulus packages are expected to contribute 2% to the country's economic growth in 2009. Due to increased spendings, Thailand might have to increase borrowing in order to balance its trade deficit for 2009.

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Thai-Cambodian Trade Rose by 28pc in 2008

Despite border tensions between Thailand and Cambodia, trade between the two countries grew 28% in 2008.

Despite border tensions between Thailand and Cambodia, trade between the two countries grew 28% in 2008. Thai-Cambodian trade reached $1.8 billion in 2008 from $1.4 billion in 2007. Most of the increase is attributed to a growth in Thai exports, with Cambodia only exporting $200 million to Thailand. Cambodia exported mainly agricultural products and Thailand exported cars, petrol, food products, construction and electronics to Cambodia. Trade volume between the two countries this year is expected to match that of last year, or grow slitghly.

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Thailand: B10bn Fund Planned to Salvage Tourism Sector

Thailand's government has announced a 10 billion baht fund aimed at helping small and medium-sized tourism enterprises survive the current industry's downturn.

Thailand's government has announced a 10 billion baht fund aimed at helping small and medium-sized tourism enterprises survive the current industry's downturn. Thai tourism took a steep downturn as protests and political instability took a toll on the industry. The loan is expected to help the tourism sector maintain a workforce of 2.4 million.

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Thai Growth Slows Amid Instability

Thailand's economic growth has slowed in the third quarter to a year-on-year rate of 4% due to the country's current political instability and the adverse impacts of the global financial crisis.

Thailand's economic growth has slowed in the third quarter to a year-on-year rate of 4% due to the country's current political instability and the adverse impacts of the global financial crisis. The political instability has sprung from several protests held by the public during the last few months, in an effort to force the resignation of the current prime minister. The protests have paralyzed government activities and have resulted in a decrease in activities in the tourism sector, exports and foreign investments in the country.

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Thailand: Tariffs Cut to Promote E85

The Thai government has cut import tariffs for flex-fuel vehicles in order to encourage the use of E85 (an auto fuel consisting of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol).

The Thai government has cut import tariffs for flex-fuel vehicles in order to encourage the use of E85 (an auto fuel consisting of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol). Thailand's National Energy Policy Committee expects this cut to stimulate around 2,000 flex-fuel vehicles import by the end of 2009. The committee also hopes that by 2010, Thailand will be ready to start producing flex-fuel vehicles.

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Fresh Thai-Cambodia border talk

Thailand and Cambodia have started new negotiations over their disputed border.

Thailand and Cambodia have started new negotiations over their disputed border. This is the first high-level meeting since last month's armed clash between the two countries. Even though talks are in place, experts suggest progress will be slow due to growing nationalist sentiments on both sides.

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State Banks Could Help Ease Liquidity in Thailand

According to Thailand's finance minister, state-controlled banks may be directed to increase their lending.

According to Thailand's finance minister, state-controlled banks may be directed to increase their lending. By doing so, these banks will ease liquidity constraints on the market.

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Thailand's Monetary Policy Focus Shifted to Growth

With the risk of inflation easing, Thailand's monetary policy will now shift its focus to addressing risks associated with economic growth.

With the risk of inflation easing, Thailand's monetary policy will now shift its focus to addressing risks associated with economic growth. Two months ago, inflation was a major threat, reaching 9.2% in July. However, inflation fell to 6.4% in August and was at 6% in September.

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BoI Approvals Set to Shrink in Thailand

Board of Investment (BoI) applications for privileges will probably not surpass 600 million baht by the end of the year.

Board of Investment (BoI) applications for privileges will probably not surpass 600 million baht by the end of the year. This would reflect a 7.69% decrease from last year. Political turmoil in Thailand may have hurt the country's image in the past few years, especially with new investors.

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Consumer Confidence Plummets

Thailand's consumer confidence fell in August.

Thailand's consumer confidence fell in August 77.7%, after a minor improvement in July 78.9%. Also, confidence index for existing situation also dropped from 71.0 in July to 69.9 in August, as consumers expected improvement in the economic environment.

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Thailand's Rubber Sales Hit by Strike

Due to a railway and port strike, foreign traders have shifted away from buying rubber from Thailand.

Due to a railway and port strike, foreign traders have shifted away from buying rubber from Thailand. Railway and port unions went on strike to sympathize with anti-government protesters. Being less confident in shipment delivery, investors have shifted to buying rubber from Malaysia and Indonesia.

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Stock Exchange of Thailand Investors Rush for Emergency Exit

After the government declared a state of emergency, investors in the Stock Exchange of Thailand fled quickly as Thai stocks fell 2.33%.

After the government declared a state of emergency, investors in the Stock Exchange of Thailand fled quickly as Thai stocks fell 2.33%. Experts say that the hit that Thai stocks took could have been much worse. The Stock Exchange of Thailand closed at 659.51, down 15.71.

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Thai Ministers Make Many H2 Promises

With the expectation of increasing economic problems in the second half, Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee promised to focus on pro-growth measures for the next six months.

With the expectation of increasing economic problems in the second half, Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee promised to focus on pro-growth measures for the next six months. The government will aim to raise consumers' purchasing power, increase exports, and ease liquidity constraints for small to medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, the government is ready to quicken disbursements for the country's megaprojects.

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Exports and Crop Prices Boon for Country

Thailand's healthy economic growth is due mostly to an increase in exports and high farm prices.

Thailand's healthy economic growth this year is due mostly to an increase in exports and high farm prices. Thailand grew 5.9% in the first half of the year while many nations faced recession. Prices for rice, cassava, natural rubber, palm oil, and sugarcane increased, allowing incomes in the agricultural sector to soar.

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APF Group launches insurance business

Asia Partnership Fund Group (APF Group) has today launched an insurance business with the 200 million baht acquisition of insurance business from Dumnernchanvanich Group, one of the leading agro-industrial groups.

It is expected that within a few years, the company will be an international standard organization with the acquisition of 200 million baht worth insurance business of the Dumnernchanvanich Group. In order to improve the operation of APFII, the company also invited a professional who was well accepted among the insurance circle, Mr. Worasak Kriangkomol, former Managing Director of Liberty Insurance Co. Ltd., to be the company's Managing Director. Despite fierce competition in today's insurance business, the company is still confident in its ability to compete. More importantly, when there are more companies with problems, the consumers have to choose more.

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Oil Price Decline Could Push Down Thailand's Megaproject Costs

Construction budgets on Thailand's megaprojects could be revised if oil prices continue to fall.

Construction budgets on Thailand's megaprojects could be revised if oil prices continue to fall. With decreasing demand from the United States, oil prices may fall to $90 per barrel in the near future. As of yesterday, oil was trading at $116 per barrel. The megaproject plans include 1.7 trillion baht worth of new infrastructure projects in health care, education, power, mass transit, and irrigation.

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Earnings Seen Rising 21% in Thailand

Based on a forecast for economic growth of 5%, the Securities Analysts Association projected a 21.3% earnings growth by listed companies this year.

Based on a forecast for economic growth of 5%, the Securities Analysts Association projected a 21.3% earnings growth by listed companies this year. The baht should trade at 33.6 to the dollar by the end of 2008. Inflation is projected to average 7.3% this year.

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United Overseas Bank (Thai) Slows Lending to Tap Other Investments

In the upcoming months, the United Overseas Bank plans to slow lending activity.

In the upcoming months, the United Overseas Bank plans to slow lending activity. This will push down the loan-to-deposit ratio which is around 90 to 95% for large banks. The ratio should drop to 85 to 90% by the end of the year.

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Capital Flows in Red on Foreigners' Sales in Thailand

Due primarily to selloffs of local assets by foreign investors, net capital flows was in the red in June for the first time in six months.

Due primarily to selloffs of local assets by foreign investors, net capital flows was in the red in June for the first time in six months. June saw not only the deficit of $3.8 billion, but also a slightly weakened baht. Economic growth will likely be hindered for the rest of the year due to high oil prices, inflation, and the United States subprime mortgage crisis.

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Thai Government sets Target to Reduce Energy Use in Transport by 14%

With oil prices surging, the Thai government has set a goal of cutting energy consumption in the transport sector by 14% by 2011.

With oil prices surging, the Thai government has set a goal of cutting energy consumption in the transport sector by 14% by 2011. The government is aiming to decrease the amount of oil used from 22 million tonnes of oil equivalent a year to 19 million. The Energy Ministry has set aside 9.5 million baht to fund initiatives that will increase energy efficiency. Business operators have already been encouraged to conserve energy by using "backhaul logistics," which means getting the maximum use out of their transport vehicles.

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thailand

Thai Exports Jump to a Record High

Due to an increased number of shipments of agriculture and food products, Thailand's total exports grew 23.1% in the first half.

Due to an increased number of shipments of agriculture and food products, Thailand's total exports grew 23.1% in the first half. Thai exports increased 27.4% from a year ago reaching $16.268 billion. Rice, rubber, and chicken exports all increased significantly. Indochina, the Middle East, and Africa have all increased their imports of Thai products.

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thailand

Thailand's First Half Growth at 5.9%

According to the Fiscal Policy Office, Thailand's economy grew 5.9% during the first half of the year.

According to the Fiscal Policy Office, Thailand's economy grew 5.9% during the first half of the year. Last year, the Thai economy only grew 4.8%. The increase in growth can be mainly attributed to an increase in exports, which increased 22% in value terms and 10% in volume compared to last year.

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thailand

New Thai Governement Bonds Pay 5.5%

The government will offer new public savings bonds at 5.5% per year at the Thailand Dee Naa, Took Naa exhibition from July 17-20.

The government will offer new public savings bonds at 5.5% per year at the Thailand Dee Naa, Took Naa exhibition from July 17-20. The three-year bonds have a minimum investment of 10,000 baht and a maximum of 500,000. They will be reserved for subscription by individuals and charity organizations.

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thailand

Unravelling Thailand's Political Turmoil

Thousands of demonstrators from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have stormed the office at Government House, demanding that the Prime Minister step down.

Thousands of demonstrators from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have stormed the office at Government House, demanding that the Prime Minister step down. The opposition party has filed a motion of no-confidence in parliament.

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thailand

INTERVIEW-Thailand To Export At Least 9.5 mln T Rice In '08

Thailand will export at least 9.5 million tonnes of rice this year due to strong overseas demand.

Thailand will export at least 9.5 million tonnes of rice this year due to strong overseas demand. Several countries including Iran, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and East Timor were in negotiation to buy a combined 6.7 million tonnes in the second half of the year.

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thailand

THB7.5bn for Tap Water Upgrade

The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA), Thailand state enterprise, is going to fund THB7.5 billion to improve its tap water capacity and the quality of distribution.

The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA), Thailand state enterprise, is going to fund THB7.5 billion to improve its tap water capacity and the quality of distribution. Now the tap water capacity is 5.5 million cubic metres per day. MWA wants to increase it by another 800,000 cubic metres per day in 2011 to meet the future demand from increased population in the next decade.

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thailand

Potash Mine Future in Doubt

The future development of the Udon Potash Project seems forlorn since it is hard to get the mining permit and production license.

The future development of the Udon Potash Project seems forlorn since it is hard to get the mining permit and production license. The Udon Patsh project, which is operated by Canada, the United States and Russia, has reserves of 100 million tones potash mines.

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thailand

Banks Likely to See Strong Loan Growth

The Bank of Thailand is expecting a robust growth on bank lending this year.

The Bank of Thailand is expecting a robust growth on bank lending this year. For the first quarter of this year, there was a 7.3 percent year-on-year loan growth; for the previous quarter there was only a 4.6 percent year-on-year increase.

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thailand

Rural Poor Feel Pinch but Outlook Could Get Brighter

The burden of high fuel and food prices inflation will affect 40 percent of Thailand's population, this percent embody the lower income population.

The burden of high fuel and food prices inflation will affect 40 percent of Thailand's population; this percent embodies the lower income population. In accordance with the Bank of Thailand, higher farm commodities prices, stimulus state programmes and improving business confidence, will boost domestic consumption.

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thailand

Poor Farmers May Get Cheaper Rates

Owning to unused plots of public land by the Treasury Department and public agencies which accounts for 1.87 rai, poor farmers may increase their fields.

Owning to unused plots of public land by the Treasury Department and public agencies which accounts for 1.87 rai, poor farmers may increase their fields. They might only pay an annual rental rate of 20 baht per rai (1600 square meters).

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thailand

Japan Rejects Thai Rice

Due to the high price of Thai rice, which nearly doubled in a month, Japan rejected 60,000 tonnes of rice.

Due to the high price of Thai rice, which nearly doubled in a month, Japan rejected 60,000 tonnes of rice. Japan is self sufficient from rice; it will not be affected by the recent turn down of Thailand's rice.

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thailand

Fertilizer Importers Warn of Price Hikes

Thai fertilizer traders urge their government to talk with China about its fertilizer exports.

Thai fertilizer traders urge their government to talk with China about its fertilizer exports. Beijing has stroked a 135% tariff on fertilizer exports, the process of fertilizers are oscillating due to volatile raw-material prices.

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thailand

Committed to Rice Sales

Thailand promised that it will follow all contracts; it will supply 9 million tonnes of rice to the world market.

Thailand promised that it will follow all contracts; it will supply 9 million tonnes of rice to the world market.Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan have the intention to sell rice at a reasonable price without taking unfair advantage of the global rice shortage.

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thailand

Farm Tariffs under Review

Import tariff adjustments over more than 1 000 farm commodities will be reviewed; so far the Costumes Department has a four step tariff structure where a percentage will be charged depending on the good.

Import tariff adjustments over more than 1 000 farm commodities will be reviewed; so far the Costumes Department has a four step tariff structure where a percentage will be charged depending on the good. Thailand's government has been reluctant on reducing farm import tariffs in view of the fact that agricultural sector only employs one third of the labor force.

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thailand

PM Seeks to Calm Investors

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Samak Sundaravej, is attempting to create confidence on local businessman and investors about the country's economy.

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Samak Sundaravej, is attempting to create confidence on local businessman and investors about the country's economy. He admitted existence of political conflict in the country; nonetheless, the conflict is run in a democratic way.

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thailand

ADB Says Political Stability an Issue for the Economy

Jean-Pierre Verbiest, director for the Asian Development Bank in Bangkok, declared that Thai economy is expected to grow 5% this year but any political turbulence might affect this outcome.

Jean-Pierre Verbiest, director for the Asian Development Bank in Bangkok, declared that Thai economy is expected to grow 5% this year but any political turbulence might affect this outcome. The ADB forecasted 4% inflation and a current account surplus of 3% GDP this year.

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thailand

Thai Yarn Still Competitive in Global Market

Thailand's yarns lost exported value last year due to an appreciation of the baht against the dollar.

Thailand's yarns lost exported value last year due to an appreciation of the baht against the dollar. Nonetheless, according to the Trade Negotiation Department director-general, Chutima Bunyapraphasara, Thai yarns are still competitive

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thailand

Bank of Thailand Set to Revise Forecast

In the next Thailand's revision economic forecast, the Bank of Thailand will deliberate in rising commodities' prices, a declining global economic stance and higher public spending.

In the next Thailand's revision economic forecast, the Bank of Thailand will deliberate in rising commodities' prices, a declining global economic stance and higher public spending. In compliance with the senior director for the Bank of Thailand's Domestic Economy Department, Amara Sriphayak, the bank is expecting THB 40 billion tax cuts from the government to improve economic growth.

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thailand

Thailand Braces for Rice Crisis

Thailand may face a shortage of rice, given that traders were forced to increase their export volumes caused by rice climbing prices.

Thailand may face a shortage of rice, given that traders were forced to increase their export volumes caused by rice climbing prices. If shortages persist, quotas on rice exports will be implemented. Rice export volumes compromise more than one million tonnes a month since October from last month.

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thailand

Dividends up 8.3 percent

Listed companies on the Stock Exchange of Thailand paid dividends of THB 194.25 billion in 2007, up 8.26 percent year on year.

Listed companies on the Stock Exchange of Thailand paid dividends of THB 194.25 billion in 2007, up 8.26 percent year on year. The industries that were responsible for most of the dividends came from the technology, property, and industrial sectors.

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thailand

Thai Airways Begins Plans for Major Bangkok Airport Expansion

Thai Airways has begun plans for a multi-billion-baht investment that would transform Bangkok into a major aircraft maintenance center that would rival Singapore and Hong Kong.

Thai Airways has begun plans for a multi-billion-baht investment that would transform Bangkok into a major aircraft maintenance center that would rival Singapore and Hong Kong. The plans require the construction of three jumbo size jet hangers, a new facility to transform B747 passenger planes into cargo planes and an upgraded engine shop. The expansion is part of the companies desire to focus on developing external business by offering products and services to other airlines. The plan is also part of the government's policy to make Thailand into a regional aviation service center. Currently 80% of the maintenance unit's revenue comes from servicing Thai Airway planes and 20% from foreign carriers. The airline wants to double the foreign share to 40%. The center is expected to be operational by 2010 and would result in jobs for nearly 1,000 additional workers.

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thailand

Thailand and Philippines Considered Most Corrupt Asian Economies according to Survey

According to the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China are among the most corrupt Asian economies.

According to the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China are among the most corrupt Asian economies. Singapore and Hong Kong retained their standing as the cleanest economies in Asia. The survey only covers 13 countries and does not include countries notorious for corruption such as Bangladesh and Myanmar. The poll consisted of nearly 1,400 expatriate businessmen and was conducted in January and February of this year.

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thailand

Japan’s SUS to Invest THB 2 billion

Japan's top factory automation equipment supplier, SUS corp, is planning to invest two billion baht within 10 years to build seven factories in Thailand.

Japan's top factory automation equipment supplier, SUS corp, is planning to invest two billion baht within 10 years to build seven factories in Thailand. Thailand is the only overseas production facility of SUS corp.

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thailand

Investment Abroad Jumps Five-Fold

USD 13 billion was invested abroad in portfolio investment in 2007, a five-fold increase from 2006.

USD 13 billion was invested abroad in portfolio investment in 2007, a five-fold increase from 2006. Net FDI stood at USD 8.1 billion while outward investment increased to USD 1.4 billion from USD 600 million in 2006. The central bank introduced several measures encouraging capital outflows around August 2007.

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thailand

February Inflation at 20-month High

According to Thailand's CPI, inflation rose at the fastest pace in 20 months.

According to Thailand's CPI, inflation rose at the fastest pace in 20 months. Consumer prices rose 5.4 percent year on year, up from 4.3 percent in January. Higher food and fuel costs have been labeled as the major causes.

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thailand

Thailand Government Expects 8 Percent Rise in Fiscal Spending in 2009

The Thailand government's budget for 2009 call for an 8 percent increase in fiscal spending in 2009, based on the projections of economic growth at 5.5 percent and inflation at 3 percent.

The Thailand government's budget for 2009 call for an 8 percent increase in fiscal spending in 2009, based on the projections of economic growth at 5.5 percent and inflation at 3 percent. Revenue is expected to rise 6 percent from fiscal 2008. Officials also plan to review existing spending plans set under the Surayud Chulanont government and possibly shift funds that have not yet been disbursed from certain programmes to new ones initiated by the current government.

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thailand

GSB Prepares THB 60 billion for Rural Spending

The Government Savings Bank is going to provide THB 60 billion in new micro credit lines for grassroots stimulus initiatives.

The Government Savings Bank is going to provide THB 60 billion in new micro credit lines for grassroots stimulus initiatives. THB 20 billion is being allocated for the People's Bank, village funds, and loans for local administrations to fund low cost housing projects. The rest of the funds are going to be split up between SML community development grants and additional credit for the village funds.

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thailand

Finance Ministry to Propose Economic Stimulus Package to Govt

An economic stimulus package will be introduced by the Finance Ministry next week.

An economic stimulus package will be introduced by the Finance Ministry next week. Proposed measures include tax changes to boost consumption and investment, and government infrastructure investments in transportation, health care, and education.

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thailand

Thailand Government to Build Nine Rail Projects

The Thailand government is planning to invest 700 billion baht for the construction of nine mass transit rail projects.

The Thailand government is planning to invest 700 billion baht for the construction of nine mass transit rail projects. The nine routes will link central Bangkok to the outskirts and will be developed in two different stages, with five routes being completed in the first stage and four routes being completed in the second stage. The government is attempting to improve the quality of life for the people living in the capital by encouraging people to use the mass transit systems to alleviate the congested road ways.

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thailand

Egco Seeks Deals in Laos and Vietnam

Thailand's second largest private power producer, Egco group Plc, is looking to invest USD 1.9 billion in three power plans in Laos in Vietnam.

Thailand's second largest private power producer, Egco group Plc, is looking to invest USD 1.9 billion in three power plans in Laos in Vietnam. The acquisitions are in line with a capacity expansion target set at 5 percent.

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thailand

Thailand Targets 6 Percent Growth in 2008

The Thailand government has announced that stimulating the economy and restoring investor confidence will be the main policy concerns for the first six month of 2008.

The Thailand government has announced that stimulating the economy and restoring investor confidence will be the main policy concerns for the first six month of 2008. The current projections place Thailand at a 5 percent growth, but the new Finance Minister, Surapong Suebwonglee, contends that a 6 percent growth rate is possible. Part of Thailand's government's new policy will include suspending debt payments for farmers for three years and implement new tax reductions to help low income residents.

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thailand

Thailand Economy Resilient Against Market Volatility

The Thai Finance Ministry has claimed that the Thai economy is resilient enough to withstand global market volatility this year.

The Thai Finance Ministry has claimed that the Thai economy is resilient enough to withstand global market volatility this year. The Ministry claims that the volatility could affect domestic investors, but they believe that they sub-prime market will have little real impact on Asian economies. The US market represents only 12-13 percent of the Thai exports. The Fiscal Policy Office currently project economic growth this year at 4.5 percent.

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thailand

Thailand Interest Rates Remain Unchanged Due to Signs of Economic Recovery

The Bank of Thailand announced that it would maintain its interest rate at 3.25 percent.

The Bank of Thailand announced that it would maintain its interest rate at 3.25 percent. The plan is part of a "wait and see" approach toward economic growth and inflation. The reason behind the hold is because of signs of economic recovery in the domestic consumption and investment fields, as well as robust export growth. Despite the current hold, the Thai Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) believes that the economy faces uncertain times, despite signs of continued improvement of domestic demand.

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thailand

ITD Part of USD 5 billion Cambodia Venture

Thailand's largest construction company, Thai Development Plc (ITD), is joining with various investment partners to develop a coal plant in Cambodia.

Thailand's largest construction company, Thai Development Plc (ITD), is joining with various investment partners to develop a coal plant in Cambodia. ITD is controlling 30 percent of the joint venture, while the other investment partners comprise the rest: Egco Plc, Ratchaburi, Electricity Holding Plc, Datang International, and Sino Thai Resources. Koh Kong Power Light Ltd, the holding business of the joint investment team, is expected to up and running by 2014 with an initial capacity of 1,830 megawatts.

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thailand

Strong Gold Exports Help to Drive Growth

Thailand's recent increase in gold exports helped November's overall exports expand by 24.4 percent to USD 14.72 billion.

Thailand's recent increase in gold exports helped November's overall exports expand by 24.4 percent to USD 14.72 billion. Exporters are profiting from strong gold prices and a growth in the jewelry sector. Imports for November were USD 12.81 billion, creating a USD 1.9 billion trade surplus.

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thailand

BT Shares Plummet on Reduced PO Price

BankThai Plc's shares plummeted 20 percent to an all-time low yesterday after announcing another change in the pricing of its rights issue.

BankThai Plc's shares plummeted 20 percent to an all-time low yesterday after announcing another change in the pricing of its rights issue. Down 34 satang, the stock lost around THB 34.63 million baht even though the Stock Exchange of Thailand has been steady, growing 12.1 percent during last year. The pricing change is projected to cut the amount of capital flowing to BankThai by about THB 1.64 million.

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thailand

Economic Growth Encouraging in Q3

The economy grew 4.9 percent according to the Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board.

The economy grew 4.9 percent according to the Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board. The increase has been attributed to strong export earnings, a growth in fiscal spending, and a turn-around in private investment and consumption. Even though high oil prices threaten the economy, the NESDB secretary-general explained, the export and private sector would provide the needed boost.

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thailand

Baht Bond Issues Planned

The government's deputy spokesman, Chodechai Suwanaporn, said that the Swedish Export Corporation (SEK) and the World Bank had sought Finance Ministry approval to issue domestic bonds.

The government's deputy spokesman, Chodechai Suwanaporn, said that the Swedish Export Corporation (SEK) and the World Bank had sought Finance Ministry approval to issue domestic bonds. The Bank of Thailand's interest rate is at 3.25 percent which is a full percent low than the US Fed Funds rate. Thailand's ministry required the international organizations to use funds raised from the local market to limit foreign shareholder's stake of the Baht and to spur local economic growth.

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thailand

PTT Buys into Mideast Pipeline

PTT Plc is acquiring a 25 percent stake in a natural gas pipeline for USD 486.9 million as part of its overall strategy to expand into the Middle East and Africa.

PTT Plc is acquiring a 25 percent stake in a natural gas pipeline for USD 486.9 million as part of its overall strategy to expand into the Middle East and Africa. To meet growing demand, PTT plans to expand into new markets. They are also eager to invest in liquefied natural gas (LNG) to prevent a future shortage. According to PTT Egypt is a leading exporter of LNG and could serve future demand.

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thailand

Picnic May Face Foreclose as Creditors Push for Repayments

To take care of the company's long-standing default, creditors of Picnic Corp are likely to go ahead with foreclosure proceedings for THB 123 million in assets.

To take care of the company's long-standing default, creditors of Picnic Corp are likely to go ahead with foreclosure proceedings for THB 123 million in assets. Picnic is a manufacturer of cooking gas previous under the control of the Lapwisuthisin family. They have been under scrutiny since 2005 when securities regulators alleged the firm of accounting fraud. The Picnic managing director, Suthep Akkawuttikrai, said that tangible assets were at THB 7.26 million and liabilities at THB 7.86 billion.

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thailand

PTTEP Invests in Aussie Venture

PTT Exploration and Production Public Co (PTTEP) has invested in an Australian offshore oil venture.

PTT Exploration and Production Public Co (PTTEP) has invested in an Australian offshore oil venture. Murphy Oil Corp, a US based corporation, offered PTTEP a 20 percent stake in Australian-Finder Exploration Pty Ltd, the former sole license holder. Initial investment estimates are around USD 60 million and the PTTEP expects to drill late next year or by first quarter 2009.

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thailand

Taiwan Eyes Thailand’s Economic Plans

Recent economic decisions by Thailand have concerned members of the Taiwanese government.

Recent economic decisions by Thailand have concerned members of the Taiwanese government. Thailand has recently been discussing free trade agreements with a number of countries (Japan, China, South Korea, New Zealand, Peru, India, US, EU), but not Taiwan despite a significant and growing trade relationship between the two countries. Thailand has also drafted legislation to amend its Foreign Business Act in a manner expected to define more companies as foreign. Taiwan expressed these concerns and ones about Thailand's tariff policies at a recent WTO trade policy review session.

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thailand

Mundell Suggests Fixed Exchange Rate for Thailand to Grow

The 1999 Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Robert Mundell has suggested that Thailand should fix its currency to a currency basket to achieve growth. He is envisioning the THB in combination with other Asian currencies a bloc to a possible yen-yuan regime. Further, Mundell emphasized on the importance of economic stability and certainty.

The 1999 Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Robert Mundell has suggested that Thailand should fix its currency to a currency basket to achieve growth. He is envisioning the THB in combination with other Asian currencies a bloc to a possible yen-yuan regime. Further, Mundell emphasized on the importance of economic stability and certainty.

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thailand

Survey: Investors Turn Back on Thailand

According to the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2007, Thailand is losing investors to Vietnam and Malaysia. Main reasons are political turmoil and uncertain economic policy.

According to the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2007, Thailand is losing investors to Vietnam and Malaysia. Main reasons are political turmoil and uncertain economic policy. In particular capital investments are seeing a slowdown as most investors are waiting for the election results before making investment decisions.

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thailand

Thailand's Election Opens Doors for Investments

Thailand's economy has grown by 4.2 percent this year, the slowest growth in six years. However, the Board of Investors is positive that the election will convince investors. Most parties have promised market friendly policies, such as the removal of capital controls and the discarding of formerly revised foreign business laws which had upset foreign investors.

Thailand's economy has grown by 4.2 percent this year, the slowest growth in six years. However, the Board of Investors is positive that the election will convince investors. Most parties have promised market friendly policies, such as the removal of capital controls and the discarding of formerly revised foreign business laws which had upset foreign investors.

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thailand

Thailand: Rice Exporters to Surpass Government's Target

In anticipation of rice exports of as much as 9 million tons, Thailand's rice producers are about to surpass the government's target of 8.5 million tons. Between January and October, Thailand had exported 7.27 million tons of rice already, resulting in USD 2.8 billion of foreign exchange. If the 9 million benchmark will be reached, this will result in an overall foreign exchange influx of USD 3.5 million.

In anticipation of rice exports of as much as 9 million tons, Thailand's rice producers are about to surpass the government's target of 8.5 million tons. Between January and October, Thailand had exported 7.27 million tons of rice already, resulting in USD 2.8 billion of foreign exchange. If the 9 million benchmark will be reached, this will result in an overall foreign exchange influx of USD 3.5 million.

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thailand

Thai Royalty Hikes: Setback and Chance for Australia's Kingsgate

Australia's miner Kingsgate Consolidated has been hit hard this week, as the Thai government announced unilateral raises of royalties for commodities such as gold, base metals, coal and limestone.

Australia's miner Kingsgate Consolidated has been hit hard this week, as the Thai government raised royalties for commodities such as gold, base metals, coal and limestone. What is a financial setback might nevertheless be a chance for the company: They have been eying the higher-grade northern lease of the Chatree gold mine in Thailand and are now sanguine that the Thai government will grant access. This could boost Kingsgate's Chatree production up to 170,000 ounces per year and enable expansion to double output to around 300,000 ounces. Thailand's top royalty rate now is at 10 percent. In comparison: Australia, the US, Canada and South Africa levy 2.5 percent.

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thailand

Japan-Thailand Bilateral Trade Agreement Effective

A bilateral free trade agreement between Thailand and Japan has come into effect on Thursday. Hoping for increased prosperity in both countries through increased trade, 97 percent of Japan's exports to Thailand and 92 percent of the exports vice versa are going to be free of duty within 10 years.

A bilateral free trade agreement between Thailand and Japan has come into effect on Thursday. Hoping for increased prosperity in both countries through increased trade, 97 percent of Japan's exports to Thailand and 92 percent of the exports vice versa are going to be free of duty within 10 years. However, in Thailand the pact raises concerns amongst workers and activists of possible impacts on employment and the environment.

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thailand

Thailand Focuses Export Growth on Emerging Markets

After having forecast 10 percent growth for exports next year, Thailand is going to focus on emerging markets as export-destinations. As exports to the US and Japan are expected to decrease, in particular China could have in important impact on reaching the target. Other countries of strong export growth for Thailand include India, Eastern European countries,and Australia.

After having forecast 10 percent growth for exports next year, Thailand is going to focus on emerging markets as export-destinations. As exports to the US and Japan are expected to decrease, in particular China could have in important impact on reaching the target. Other countries of strong export growth for Thailand include India, Eastern European countries,and Australia.

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thailand

Thailand Makes Progress in Trade Deals

The Thai Commerce Ministry supports free trade talks between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Thai Commerce Ministry supports free trade talks between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. A free trade agreement would benefit Thailand, as tariffs would be lowered in the EU allowing more agricultural exports from Thailand. A joint working group has been formed by both sides to investigate the potentiality of such an agreement. In addition to the ASEAN-EU trade deal, Thailand is making progress in negotiations with India.

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thailand

Thailand: 10-Year Production Extension for PTTEP and Chevron

Thailand's Energy Ministry has granted a 10-year production extension to the country's two largest producers of natural gas, PTTEP and Chevron Thailand.

Thailand's Energy Ministry has granted a 10-year production extension to the country's two largest producers of natural gas, PTTEP and Chevron Thailand. After this extension, the producers will increase their production to 660 million cubic feet per day. Expected investments from the extension period are USD 15 million. All fields concerned are situated in the Gulf of Thailand.

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thailand

Thailand Develops First Alternative-Fuel Park

Thailand's first industrial estate for alternative fuels is prepared to be established. The VRM Group, a property developer, is planning the THB 804 million project, which is expected to primarily address ethanol producers, biomass and biogas plants. After finishing the first phase of the construction, the area will be jointly operated by VRM Group and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.

Thailand's first industrial estate for alternative fuels is prepared to be established. The VRM Group, a property developer, is planning the THB 804 million project, which is expected to primarily address ethanol producers, biomass and biogas plants. After finishing the first phase of the construction, the area will be jointly operated by VRM Group and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.

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thailand

Thai Exports Increase by 10.4 Percent

Thailand's export figures for September continue to display strong growth of 10.4 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Thailand's export figures for September continue to display strong growth of 10.4 percent on a year-on-year basis. Thus, the country's exports between September 2006 and September 2007 sum up to USD 13.27 billion, according to the Commerce Ministry mainly supported by strong demand for industrial goods. New markets such as Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, India, the Middle East, China, and Australia are on the rise as source of demand, whereas conventional markets, Europe, Asia and the US dwindle.

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thailand

Thailand to Spend USD1 Billion on Jets

Over the next ten years, Thailand will purchase 12 jets for USD1 billion, to head the Air Force.

Over the next ten years, Thailand will purchase 12 jets for USD1 billion, to head the Air Force. In 2011, Thailand will buy 6 Gripen JAS-39 fighters and then in six years they will buy another six. As the current fighters they have are slowing aging, Thailand finds it necessary to maintain an up to date air force. After considering jets from both the United States and Russia, Thailand decided on the Swedish made jets and struck the deal in which they will also receive spare parts and training. The military spending has been significantly increasing after the bloodless coup in 2006 and now Thailand has also ordered 96 armored vehicles from Ukraine for USD133 million.

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thailand

Goldman Sachs Raises Three Months Forecast

Goldman Sachs Group Inchas revised their three months forecasts for six Asian currencies in the light of expected Central Bank interventions in the respective countries. As inflation and growth accelerate the central banks are expected to try to strengthen their currencies.

Goldman Sachs Group Inchas revised their three months forecasts for six Asian currencies in the light of expected Central Bank interventions in the respective countries. As inflation and growth accelerate the central banks are expected to strengthen their currencies. The currencies under revisions are INR 39.50 per USD, from previous 41.30, MYR 3.33 compared to 3.41, PHP 43.50 from 45.50. Singapore's dollar is expected to gain to SGD 1.45 compared to SGD 1.51, TWD 32.00 from a prior TWD 32.50, THB 32.00 instead of THB 35.00.

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thailand

Japanese Food Processors Might Relocate from China to Thailand

According to the chairman of the Food Processing Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, Japanese food processing companies that had relocated from Thailand to China in the past might return to Thailand.

According to the chairman of the Food Processing Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, Japanese food processing companies that had relocated from Thailand to China, might return to Thailand. Growing concerns about chemical contamination and safety of food items produced in China could, in combination with the Japan-Thai Free Trade Agreement taking effect next month, be very beneficial for Thailand.

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thailand

Ford, Mazda Invest USD 500 Million in New Thai Plant

On plans of expanding to Southeast Asia, Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp are going to establish a joint plant in Thailand, in which, as of 2009, an annual capacity of 10,000 small cars will be produced

On plans of expanding to Southeast Asia, Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp are going to establish a joint plant in Thailand, in which, as of 2009, an annual capacity of 10,000 small cars can be produced. Low production cost and a strong access make Thailand a desirable investment site, although investor confidence is declining since the military regime took over control last year.

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thailand

Bank of Thailand: Necessity to Reform Social Security System

According to Bank of Thailand economist Kobsak Pootrakool the country's overly generous pension benefits bear the risk of a substantial financial crunch for the system in the future.

According to Bank of Thailand economist Kobsak Pootrakool the country's overly generous pension benefits bear the risk of a substantial financial crunch for the system in the future. With a receipt-contribution ratio of 3:1, and unfavorable demographic changes, the system's pension funds are expected to be exhausted only 35 years after the first payments have been made to retirees in 2014.

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thailand

Thailand Trade Mission to Evaluate Rubber Demand in Japan and South Korea

Due to uncertainties in the world overall economy and rubber demand, Thailand will be conducting a trade mission to Japan and South Korea on Oct 14-20 for the first time in almost eight years.

Due to uncertainties in the world overall economy and rubber demand, Thailand will be conducting a trade mission to Japan and South Korea on Oct 14-20 for the first time in almost eight years. The aim of this mission is to evaluate and study the future growth demand of rubber. Thai exporters also attempt to attract large Japanese firms and processed rubber industries to invest in Thai businesses.

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thailand

Japan-Thailand Free Trade Agreement

Japan will finally be conducting its free trade agreement with Thailand next month, after months of uncertainty over Thailand's military conditions.

Japan will finally be conducting its free trade agreement with Thailand next month, after months of uncertainty over Thailand's military conditions. The goal of this treaty is to stimulate and strengthen the economic relationship of both countries by permitting 97 percent of Japanese exports and 92 percent of Thai exports to Japan to be tax- free. Under this agreement, Thailand will also be lowering the taxes for automobile engines with 3000cc or larger by 20% and remove all taxes on steel imports and other commodities.

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thailand

India Promotes Northeast to Foreign Investors

In order to attract foreign investors to India's northeast, the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region has originated the Northeast India Trade and Investment Week, a five-day event held in Thailand's capital Bangkok.

In order to attract foreign investors to India's northeast, the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region has originated the Northeast India Trade and Investment Week, a five-day event held in Thailand's capital Bangkok. Besides an Indian delegation of 70 ministers and officials from a variety of organizations, 150 businessmen attend the event to discuss possible relations in both sector-wise interactive sessions and ono-on-one discussions.

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thailand

Thailand's Central Bank Predicts an Improved Economy for 2008

Despite weak domestic demand this year, the central bank of Thailand predicts an overall economic growth of 4.5-6 percent next year. It is anticipated that domestic demand will recover in 2008 due to lower interest rates and a moderate core inflation of 1-2 percent.

Despite weak domestic demand this year, the central bank of Thailand predicts an overall economic growth of 4.5-6 percent next year. It is anticipated that domestic demand will recover in 2008 due to lower interest rates and a moderate core inflation of 1-2 percent. Critics remain doubtful, though, citing global imbalances and the need for Thai policymakers to quickly construct a more adaptable and efficient economy.

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thailand

China's ICBC and Malaysia's CIMB interested in Thai ACL Bank Shares

Malaysia's Investment Bank CIMB and China's ICBC bank have shown interest in stakes in Bangkok Bank's shares of Thai ACL Bank. According to Central Bank's regulations, Bangkok Bank is required to reduce its share in ACL Bank to a maximum of 10 percent, as both firms are players in the same sector.

Malaysia's Investment Bank CIMB and China's ICBC bank have shown interest in stakes in Bangkok Bank's shares of Thai ACL Bank. According to Central Bank's regulations, Bangkok Bank is required to reduce its share in ACL Bank to a maximum of 10 percent, as both firms are players in the same sector. Still, in case the acquisitions will be finalizes, they will be subject to approval by the Thai Finance Ministry as foreign companies' stakes are generally not allowed to exceed 5 percent.

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thailand

Laos, Vietnam, Thailand Ease Transport to Boost Trade

The transport ministers of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos have recently agreed on free travel of trucks between the three countries to boost trade. Further they agreed on avoiding too strong competition for Lao transport companies. Therefore, Thai and Vietnamese trucks will not provide service to local traders.

The transport ministers of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos have recently agreed on free travel of trucks between the three countries to boost trade. Further they agreed on avoiding too strong competition for Lao transport companies. Therefore, Thai and Vietnamese trucks will not provide service to local traders.

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thailand

Thailand Looking Forward to First own Nuclear Power Plant

The kingdom of Thailand is planning to establish their first own nuclear power plant in anticipation of power shortage. The plant, which is supposed to start working latest by 2020

The kingdom of Thailand is planning to establish their first own nuclear power plant in anticipation of power shortage. The plant, which is supposed to start working at the latest by 2020, shall produce 4,000 megawatts of electricity. Until the completion of the plant, Thailand has to rely on their diminishing reserves of natural gas, gas imports, oil, coal and hydro-power to ensure the country's energy supply.

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thailand

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam to Cooperate in Sea Tourism

Tourism officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have met to discuss possibilities to develop their common sea area.

Tourism officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have met to discuss possibilities to develop their common sea area. Measure that have been agreed on include training of human resources for sea tourism, linking tourism destinations in the three countries, and the exchange of experience and tour operation management.

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thailand

Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam Look To Strengthen Tourism

Tourism officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam gathered last week in Cambodia's Sihanoukvile to discuss ways to boost the development of tourism in the three countries' common sea area.

Tourism officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam gathered last week in Cambodia's Sihanoukvile to discuss ways to boost the development of tourism in the three countries' common sea area. The meeting,an intiative of Cambodia, was held on August 24 under the sponsorship of the Asian Development Bank.

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thailand

Overwhelming Demand for Thai First-Ever Public Saving Bonds

Thailand's Central Bank has issued four- and seven-year public saving bonds for the first time ever.

Thailand's Central Bank has issued four- and seven-year public saving bonds for the first time ever. The demand has been accordingly overwhelming: Bonds worth THB 40 billion have been fully underwritten in as quickly as 5 minutes after the sale started. This, in combination with complaints by upcountry branches about not being able to subscribe to the bonds, will result in another issuance of THB 35 billion.

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thailand

ASEAN, Japan Now Keen on Free Trade Area by November

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area.

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area. As part of Asean's annual summit of dialogue between trade ministers, Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari held meetings over the weekend in Manila with his Asean counterparts. Currently, Japan is Asean's largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with direct spending rising 50 percent last year to USD 10.8 billion. According to Asean data, Asean-Japan trade totaled USD 154 billion in 2005, which accounted for 13 percent of the groups total exports and imports. Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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thailand

Japan-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Reached

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

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thailand

Concerns about Slowdown in Thai Economy

A strong baht and decreasing foreign demand have lead to an unexpected slowdown in Thailand's Exports.

A strong baht and decreasing foreign demand have lead to an unexpected slowdown in Thailand's Exports. A July growth of only 5.9 percent year on year, being the lowest growth rate for 29 months, raises concerns that the country might not be able to live up to its already modest overall growth targets. With about 60 percent, exports are the most important pillar of Thailand's economy.

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thailand

Thailand, Malaysia to Cooperate in Development of South

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and his Malaysian colleague Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have agreed on social and economic cooperation to promote progress in three southern provinces of Thailand. The mainly muslim provinces in focus have been facing insurgency since 2004. The focus of the agreement signed on Tuesday lies in cooperation on an educational level, sending 100 Thai teachers to Malaysia for training purposes.

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and his Malaysian colleague Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have agreed on social and economic cooperation to promote progress in three southern provinces of Thailand. The mainly muslim provinces in focus have been facing insurgency since 2004. The focus of the agreement signed on Tuesday lies in cooperation on an educational level, sending 100 Thai teachers to Malaysia for training purposes.

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thailand

Export Growth in Thailand Degraded Dramatically

Thailand's export growth is currently experiencing the worst slump within 29 months. After significant growth in figures for the first half of this year with up to 18 percent, a year on year export growth rate of only 5.89 percent to USD 11.8 billion in July, which comes as a surprise not only to analysts but also to the Commerce Minister Krirk-krai Jirapaet. The primary reasons stated for this development are a stronger baht, the US economic slowdown and fallout from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Thailand's export growth is currently experiencing the worst slump within 29 months. After significant growth in figures for the first half of this year with up to 18 percent, a year on year export growth rate of only 5.89 percent to USD 11.8 billion in July, which comes as a surprise not only to analysts but also to the Commerce Minister Krirk-krai Jirapaet. The primary reasons stated for this development are a stronger baht, the US economic slowdown and fallout from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

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thailand

SET sees biggest 1-Day Gain This Year

Thailand's stock exchange SET has seen this year's biggest one-day gain yesterday after shares soared up 4.43 percent. Prominent reasons for this development are the cut in US discount rates and the Thai referendum held on Sunday, approving the draft constitution. However, gains and turnover (THB 23.15 billion) have been rather moderate throughout the day, as the bourse closed having only reached the third lowest increase. Comparable stock exchanges had realized gains up to 7 percent.

Thailand's stock exchange SET has seen this year's biggest one-day gain yesterday after shares soared up 4.43 percent. Prominent reasons for this development are the cut in US discount rates and the Thai referendum held on Sunday, approving the draft constitution. However, gains and turnover (THB 23.15 billion) have been rather moderate throughout the day, as the bourse closed having only reached the third lowest increase. Comparable stock exchanges had realized gains up to 7 percent.

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thailand

Thailand Stock Exchange: 17% Drop for Listed Companies

Comparing the net profits of 469 listed companies for the first 6 months of this year with the results of the same period last year, Thailand's stock exchange states a 17% drop for those companie, totaling a decline of THB 47.67 million. Patareeya Benjapolchai, President of the SET, stated in an interview "the increase in cost of sales, while having less profit from exchange rates due to the strengthening baht" as reason for the development.

Comparing the net profits of 469 listed companies for the first 6 months of this year with the results of the same period last year, Thailand's stock exchange states a 17% drop for those companie, totaling a decline of THB 47.67 million. Patareeya Benjapolchai, President of the SET, stated in an interview "the increase in cost of sales, while having less profit from exchange rates due to the strengthening baht" as reason for the development.

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thailand

Malaysia and Thailand to Discuss Islamic Banking

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont will be arriving in Penang next week to discuss cooperation in Islamic banking, micro-financing, education, and resolution of the southern Thailand conflict. A Thai government spokesperson stated that a memorandum of understanding will be signed during the consultation on August 21, 2007.

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont will be arriving in Penang next week to discuss cooperation in Islamic banking, micro-financing, education, and resolution of the southern Thailand conflict. A Thai government spokesperson stated that a memorandum of understanding will be signed during the consultation on August 21, 2007.

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thailand

Thailand's Largest Coal Miner Cuts Production Target After Rain

Thai coal miner Banpu PCL has cut 1 million tons from its production target after a heavy rain in Indonesia cut output. Banpu's original production target was 21 million tons, but after the heavy rainfall it reduced the goal to 20 million. The company said Friday that they eliminated the possibility of revenues growth, but that the rising price of coal might cause a rise in revenues.

Thai coal miner Banpu PCL has cut 1 million tons from its production target after a heavy rain in Indonesia cut output. Banpu's original production target was 21 million tons, but after the heavy rainfall it reduced the goal to 20 million. The company said Friday that they eliminated the possibility of revenues growth, but that the rising price of coal might cause a rise in revenues.

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thailand

Thai Central Bank: Thai Banks Do Not Need Liquidity Injections

The Bank of Thailand issued a statement Wednesday that said Thai banks and financial markets do not need any central bank liquidity injection. Because of the US subprime mortgage market problem, many banks and financial markets have had to cope with worries about global credit, but central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase said that does not mean Thai banks need a liquidity boost.

The Bank of Thailand issued a statement Wednesday that said Thai banks and financial markets do not need any central bank liquidity injection. Because of the US subprime mortgage market problem, many banks and financial markets have had to cope with worries about global credit, but central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase said that does not mean Thai banks need a liquidity boost.

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thailand

Myanmar to Establish Special Economic Zones

Myanmar has announced its plans to establish six "economic zones," which are special areas that will exempt foreign investors making direct investment from taxation for two to eight years. The special economic zones (SEZ) were developed in an effort to encourage foreign investment and to promote economic development. Prospective investment sectors include agriculture, livestock and banking.

Myanmar has announced its plans to establish six "economic zones," which are special areas that will exempt foreign investors making direct investment from taxation for two to eight years. The special economic zones (SEZ) were developed in an effort to encourage foreign investment and to promote economic development. Prospective investment sectors include agriculture, livestock and banking.

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thailand

Thailand: Shin Corp Net Profit Falls 25 Percent

Shin Corp, a Thai telecom group, experienced a 25 percent drop in net profit for the second quarter of this fiscal year, according to a report released by the company. The company fell from THB 1.6 billion to THB 1.19 billion. Analysts believe the loss was caused by a lower profit contribution from its mobile phone unit. Shin Corp comprises of over 20 companies in media sectors, and is the largest telecoms group in Thailand.

Shin Corp, a Thai telecom group, experienced a 25 percent drop in net profit for the second quarter of this fiscal year, according to a report released by the company. The company fell from THB 1.6 billion to THB 1.19 billion. Analysts believe the loss was caused by a lower profit contribution from its mobile phone unit. Shin Corp comprises of over 20 companies in media sectors, and is the largest telecoms group in Thailand.

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thailand

Thai Airways Net Profit Down 85.6 Percent

Thai Airways International's net profit for the third quarter of this fiscal year has declined by 85.6 percent from April to June last year. According to representatives of Thai Airways, the drop in profit was due to political problems and the strong appreciation of the currency. Net profit for the third quarter stood at THB 68 million.

Thai Airways International's net profit for the third quarter of this fiscal year has declined by 85.6 percent from April to June last year. According to representatives of Thai Airways, the drop in profit was due to political problems and the strong appreciation of the currency. Net profit for the third quarter stood at THB 68 million.

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thailand

Thailand: FBA Amendments Will Be Made

The Commerce Ministry has decided to advance with amendments to the current Foreign Business Act (FBA) in an attempt to lower the potential impact on existing companies and foreign investment. The FBA would be used to determine if a company was foreign-owned, but the National Legislative Assembly argued that there may be loopholes in the current FBA draft. The Commerce Minister Krirk-krai Jirapaet could not say when the change would be made.

The Commerce Ministry has decided to advance with amendments to the current Foreign Business Act (FBA) in an attempt to lower the potential impact on existing companies and foreign investment. The FBA would be used to determine if a company was foreign-owned, but the National Legislative Assembly argued that there may be loopholes in the current FBA draft. The Commerce Minister Krirk-krai Jirapaet could not say when the change would be made.

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thailand

Half of Thailand's Vehicle Production is Reserved for Exportation

According to Deputy Industry Minister Piyabutr Cholvijarn, half of Thailand's total vehicle production is exported. Cholvijarn said Thailand plans to become a regional export base, targeting production of two million cars, of which one million would be exported. There are currently 15 automobile manufacturers in Thailand.

According to Deputy Industry Minister Piyabutr Cholvijarn, half of Thailand's total vehicle production is exported. Cholvijarn said Thailand plans to become a regional export base, targeting production of two million cars, of which one million would be exported. There are currently 15 automobile manufacturers in Thailand.

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thailand

Brokers in Thailand Close 21 Branches Since January

After five years of growing competition due to a slow market and the prospect of full liberalization, brokers in Thailand have been forced to close 21 branches in the country since the beginning of the year. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the total number of branches was down to 394 by the end of July.

After five years of growing competition due to a slow market and the prospect of full liberalization, brokers in Thailand have been forced to close 21 branches in the country since the beginning of the year. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the total number of branches was down to 394 by the end of July.

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thailand

Thailand: Foreign Business Act Draft Withdrawn

The Thai government's draft Foreign Business Act was withdrawn due to a clause that would prevent foreigners from having majority management control. Analysts believe the draft would have enabled foreigners, by having a majority presence on the board, to control the companies in which they invested. At this time it is not known if the draft will be resubmitted.

The Thai government's draft Foreign Business Act was withdrawn due to a clause that would prevent foreigners from having majority management control. Analysts believe the draft would have enabled foreigners, by having a majority presence on the board, to control the companies in which they invested. At this time it is not known if the draft will be resubmitted.

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thailand

Japan Metal Company Buys Thai Shares

One of Japan's major metal trading and processing companies, Metal One Corporation, has acquired a 5 percent holding in Thailand's Thai Metal Trade Plc, with 21.25 million shares purchased for THB 112 million. The president of Metal One, Moriji Kanada, said Monday that the purchase was an attempt to strengthen cooperation between the two companies and improve Japan's business in Thailand.

One of Japan's major metal trading and processing companies, Metal One Corporation, has acquired a 5 percent holding in Thailand's Thai Metal Trade Plc, with 21.25 million shares purchased for THB 112 million. The president of Metal One, Moriji Kanada, said Monday that the purchase was an attempt to strengthen cooperation between the two companies and improve Japan's business in Thailand.

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thailand

Stock Exchange of Thailand Continues to Drop

The Stock Exchange of Thailand reached a five-week low due to US housing market concerns in Asian markets. It closed at 815.87 points after dropping 21.86 percent. According to analysts, the drop could be attributed to a 2.09 percent drop on Wall Street on Friday.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand reached a five-week low due to US housing market concerns in Asian markets. It closed at 815.87 points after dropping 21.86 percent. According to analysts, the drop could be attributed to a 2.09 percent drop on Wall Street on Friday.

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thailand

Thai Baht Growth Finally Slows

The Thai baht is finally declining, thanks to stronger dollar demand from importers and measures taken by the Bank of Thailand to slow appreciation. The baht ended last week at 33.84 to the USD. Because of the appreciation trend of the baht this year, the central bank is expected to face mounting balance sheet losses.

The Thai baht is finally declining, thanks to stronger dollar demand from importers and measures taken by the Bank of Thailand to slow appreciation. The baht ended last week at 33.84 to the USD. Because of the appreciation trend of the baht this year, the central bank is expected to face mounting balance sheet losses.

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thailand

United Arab Emirates Approves Chicken Exports From Thailand

Exports of cooked chicken from Thailand has been approved by the United Arab Emirates, according to the Agriculture and Co-operatives Minister Thira Sutabutr. Additionally, the UAE certified the Thai Halal brand, 24 poultry slaughterhouses, and 36 processing factories in Thailand. The UAE agreed to permit the importation of products from any country approved by any other Gulf Cooperation Council country member.

Exports of cooked chicken from Thailand has been approved by the United Arab Emirates, according to the Agriculture and Co-operatives Minister Thira Sutabutr. Additionally, the UAE certified the Thai Halal brand, 24 poultry slaughterhouses, and 36 processing factories in Thailand. The UAE agreed to permit the importation of products from any country approved by any other Gulf Cooperation Council country member.

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thailand

Mitr Phol Expands Investment in Laos

According to Isara Vongkusolkit, President of Mitr Phol Sugar Co., the Thai company has expanded its investment in Laos to THB 2.3 billion from an initial THB 900 million. The expansion includes the establishment of Mitr Lao sugar mill which will be the largest in Laos and will employ hundreds of Laotians. He went on to say that the company would promote best practices in sugar growing and processing along with technology transfer to help develop the local industry.

According to Isara Vongkusolkit, President of Mitr Phol Sugar Co., the Thai company has expanded its investment in Laos to THB 2.3 billion from an initial THB 900 million. The expansion includes the establishment of Mitr Lao sugar mill which will be the largest in Laos and will employ hundreds of Laotians. He went on to say that the company would promote best practices in sugar growing and processing along with technology transfer to help develop the local industry.

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thailand

Interest Rates in Thailand Almost at Bottom, But Could Still Fall

The Finance Minster of Thailand announced Friday that Thailand's interest rates "are close to bottom...but there may be room for some more declines." He said the government's measures to slow the strengthening of the Thai baht had helped to contain the appreciation, along with the Bank of Thailand's currency management.

The Finance Minster of Thailand announced Friday that Thailand's interest rates "are close to bottom...but there may be room for some more declines." He said the government's measures to slow the strengthening of the Thai baht had helped to contain the appreciation, along with the Bank of Thailand's currency management.

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thailand

Stock Exchange of Thailand Drops After Losses on Wall Street

The Stock Exchange of Thailand fell yesterday amid fears about the state of the US economy. In its biggest fall in six months, the SET lost 3.1 percent closing at 833.47. The sell-off was caused by losses on Wall Street. Some of the other markets to fall were Taiwan, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand fell yesterday amid fears about the state of the US economy. In its biggest fall in six months, the SET lost 3.1 percent closing at 833.47. The sell-off was caused by losses on Wall Street. Some of the other markets to fall were Taiwan, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

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thailand

Thailand Company Shuts Down Five Factories; Dislocates Workers

Thailand's Union Footwear Plc announced Wednesday that it would be closing its five factories this year due to the strong baht's influence on the labor-intensive manufacturing sector. The future of the 4,700 employees at the factories remains uncertain but the company had promised to relocate some to other jobs.

Thailand's Union Footwear Plc announced Wednesday that it would be closing its five factories this year due to the strong baht's influence on the labor-intensive manufacturing sector. The future of the 4,700 employees at the factories remains uncertain but the company had promised to relocate some to other jobs.

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thailand

Thailand Becomes 12th Largest Investor in Vietnam

Vietnam's Ministry of Planning and Investment has announced that after a significant increase in investment, Thailand is now the 3rd largest ASEAN investor and 12th largest overall investor in Vietnam. Thailand is now operating 153 investment projects in Vietnam worth about USD 1.54 billion. The majority of Thai investment is focused on building infrastructure for industrial zones, new urban centers and tourism facilities.

Vietnam's Ministry of Planning and Investment has announced that after a significant increase in investment, Thailand is now the 3rd largest ASEAN investor and 12th largest overall investor in Vietnam. Thailand is now operating 153 investment projects in Vietnam worth about USD 1.54 billion. The majority of Thai investment is focused on building infrastructure for industrial zones, new urban centers and tourism facilities.

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thailand

Stock Exchange of Thailand Drops as Concerns about BoJ Interest Rates Rise

The Stock Exchange of Thailand lost 3.82 points yesterday, down from 863.58, as shares fell 0.44 percent on spillover from last week's global sell-off. Nasit Prasertkul, a strategist at Far East Securities, said many investors are worried about a possible rise in interest rates by the Bank of Japan in the upcoming month. Prasertkul said: "The yen has appreciated while Japanese interest rates are going to rise. So, it's normal to see fund managers who obtained yen carry trades dumping their positions to reduce risk."

The Stock Exchange of Thailand lost 3.82 points yesterday, down from 863.58, as shares fell 0.44 percent on spillover from last week's global sell-off. Nasit Prasertkul, a strategist at Far East Securities, said many investors are worried about a possible rise in interest rates by the Bank of Japan in the upcoming month. Prasertkul said: "The yen has appreciated while Japanese interest rates are going to rise. So, it's normal to see fund managers who obtained yen carry trades dumping their positions to reduce risk."

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thailand

Thai Inflation Down for July

According to the Finance Ministry of Thailand, inflation has dropped 0.2 percent from June to July. It is currently 1.7 percent, less than the 2.1 percent forecast by analysts. Annual core inflation for July was up 0.1 percent from 0.7 percent in May and June.

According to the Finance Ministry of Thailand, inflation has dropped 0.2 percent from June to July. It is currently 1.7 percent, less than the 2.1 percent forecast by analysts. Annual core inflation for July was up 0.1 percent from 0.7 percent in May and June.

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thailand

Exports Booming in Thailand; Imports Sluggish

Imports in Thailand are weakening while exports continue to experience growth despite the appreciating baht, according to a Reuters poll on Friday. The poll indicates that imports have been held back by weak recovery in domestic demand and investment. Exports have reached USD 12.7 billion, shying away from the record USD 12.9 set in March.

Imports in Thailand are weakening while exports continue to experience growth despite the appreciating baht, according to a Reuters poll on Friday. The poll indicates that imports have been held back by weak recovery in domestic demand and investment. Exports have reached USD 12.7 billion, shying away from the record USD 12.9 set in March.

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thailand

Thailand Investment in Vietnam Surges

Thai investment in Vietnam has begun to significantly increase, with a capital of USD 1.54 billion directly invested in Vietnam, according to the Foreign Investment Department of Thailand. Most of the investment projects involve infrastructure development and the production of urban centers in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Thai investment in Vietnam has begun to significantly increase, with a capital of USD 1.54 billion directly invested in Vietnam, according to the Foreign Investment Department of Thailand. Most of the investment projects involve infrastructure development and the production of urban centers in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

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thailand

Thai Exports Increase Despite Rising Baht

Thailand has seen increases in agricultural exports this year, and according to a report issued by the Kasikorn Research Center, exports should continue to rise. The report said natural disasters and unfavorable weather have upped demand for agricultural products. Because of the continued appreciation of the baht, analysts predict Thai exporters will face fierce competition in the global market in the future.

Thailand has seen increases in agricultural exports this year, and according to a report issued by the Kasikorn Research Center, exports should continue to rise. The report said natural disasters and unfavorable weather have upped demand for agricultural products. Because of the continued appreciation of the baht, analysts predict Thai exporters will face fierce competition in the global market in the future.

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thailand

Bank of Thailand Predicts Better Economic Growth

The Bank of Thailand improved its forecast for economic, imports and exports growth, despite concerns from policymakers about the baht's strength. The Bank said strong exports and improved consumer spending contributed to their decision. It also said that economic indicators had shown improvement in domestic demand, which suggested good prospects for Thailand's economy.

The Bank of Thailand improved its forecast for economic, imports and exports growth, despite concerns from policymakers about the baht's strength. The Bank said strong exports and improved consumer spending contributed to their decision. It also said that economic indicators had shown improvement in domestic demand, which suggested good prospects for Thailand's economy.

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thailand

Prime Minister of Thailand: The Baht Has Begun to Stabilize

According to the prime minister of Thailand, Surayud Chulanont, the baht has begun to stabilize after a 10-year high period, but he warned that there might be more fluctuations in the future. The baht fell slightly next to the dollar on Friday, trading at 33.72-74 by the afternoon. According to analysts, the drop has already begun to affect the market, increasing the demand for dollars from importers.

According to the prime minister of Thailand, Surayud Chulanont, the baht has begun to stabilize after a 10-year high period, but he warned that there might be more fluctuations in the future. The baht fell slightly next to the dollar on Friday, trading at 33.72-74 by the afternoon. According to analysts, the drop has already begun to affect the market, increasing the demand for dollars from importers.

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thailand

Bank of Thailand Anticipates Household Growth

A Bank of Thailand representative announced Thursday that the central bank predicts household consumption and investment to increase by the end of this year into 2008. According to Bandid Nijathaworn, deputy governor for Financial Institutions Stability, the increase is due to "the supportive environment of improved sentiment and economic fundamentals."

A Bank of Thailand representative announced Thursday that the central bank predicts household consumption and investment to increase by the end of this year into 2008. According to Bandid Nijathaworn, deputy governor for Financial Institutions Stability, the increase is due to "the supportive environment of improved sentiment and economic fundamentals."

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thailand

Thailand's Mobile Phone Sector Jumps

Thailand's top mobile phone service, Advanced Info Service PCL, is expecting a 1.9 million jump in subscribers from last year, with 5 million new subscribers. According to the president of Advanced Info Service, Wichian Mektrakarn, Thailand should expect a 15 percent growth in its mobile phone sector. The company currently has about 22 million subscribers.

Thailand's top mobile phone service, Advanced Info Service PCL, is expecting a 1.9 million jump in subscribers from last year, with 5 million new subscribers. According to the president of Advanced Info Service, Wichian Mektrakarn, Thailand should expect a 15 percent growth in its mobile phone sector. The company currently has about 22 million subscribers.

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thailand

Thailand Exposition Draws in Malaysian Businesses

The Thailand Franchise and Business Opportunity (TFBO) exposition this week has caught the attention of ten Malaysian companies and agencies that wish to promote their products and seek networking in Thailand. The exposition will be held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center on Thursday. An economic counselor at the Malaysian Embassy, Syaromi Ramli, said Wednesday: "This is a good platform for our companies to franchise their business as there are not many [Malaysian businesses] in Thailand now."

The Thailand Franchise and Business Opportunity (TFBO) exposition this week has caught the attention of ten Malaysian companies and agencies that wish to promote their products and seek networking in Thailand. The exposition will be held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center on Thursday. An economic counselor at the Malaysian Embassy, Syaromi Ramli, said Wednesday: "This is a good platform for our companies to franchise their business as there are not many [Malaysian businesses] in Thailand now."

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thailand

Hyundai to Expand Production into Thailand

South Korean automaker Hyundai announced Wednesday its plans to expand into Thailand. This will be Hyundai's first investment in Thailand since 1997, when it pulled out because of the Asian Financial Crisis. The company has capitalized at about USD 12 million and plans to begin with the production of the Sonata. President of Hyundai Motors Yoshizumi Kurada said he hopes the move will help penetrate the automobile market and strengthen customer confidence in Hyundai.

South Korean automaker Hyundai announced Wednesday its plans to expand into Thailand. This will be Hyundai's first investment in Thailand since 1997, when it pulled out because of the Asian Financial Crisis. The company has capitalized at about USD 12 million and plans to begin with the production of the Sonata. President of Hyundai Motors Yoshizumi Kurada said he hopes the move will help penetrate the automobile market and strengthen customer confidence in Hyundai.

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thailand

Bank of Thailand to Issue Bonds as Part of Debt Management Plan

According to a government official, the Bank of Thailand's plan to issue THB 200 billion worth of bonds has been approved by the Thai government and will be used to refinance borrowings made by the Financial Institutes Development Fund (FIDF). The FIDF provided aid to companies that suffered under the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. The bond issues are part of the Bank of Thailand's debt management plan for the current fiscal year.

According to a government official, the Bank of Thailand's plan to issue THB 200 billion worth of bonds has been approved by the Thai government and will be used to refinance borrowings made by the Financial Institutes Development Fund (FIDF). The FIDF provided aid to companies that suffered under the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. The bond issues are part of the Bank of Thailand's debt management plan for the current fiscal year.

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thailand

Thai Government Relaxes Monetary Rules

In an effort to stop the rapidly appreciating baht, the Thai government decided to ease some monetary rules at a weekly Cabinet meeting Tuesday. The new rules allow companies on the Stock Exchange of Thailand to invest up to USD 100 million per year, and Thai residents to buy real estate abroad up to USD 1 million in value. The government was strongly encouraged to make these changes in an effort to improve competitiveness and aid Thai exporters.

In an effort to stop the rapidly appreciating baht, the Thai government decided to ease some monetary rules at a weekly Cabinet meeting Tuesday. The new rules allow companies on the Stock Exchange of Thailand to invest up to USD 100 million per year, and Thai residents to buy real estate abroad up to USD 1 million in value. The government was strongly encouraged to make these changes in an effort to improve competitiveness and aid Thai exporters.

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thailand

Deutsche Bank to Increase Capital in Thailand Branch

Deutsche Bank has decided to nearly double its capital in its Thailand branch by increasing it to USD 282 million. The effort is part of its expansion plans, and will be used to support foreign exchange and derivative market growth, according to the bank. Chief Executive Colin Grassie said: "We see Thailand as an important growth market for us in the Asia Pacific Region, where our business has been posting record revenues."

Deutsche Bank has decided to nearly double its capital in its Thailand branch by increasing it to USD 282 million. The effort is part of its expansion plans, and will be used to support foreign exchange and derivative market growth, according to the bank. Chief Executive Colin Grassie said: "We see Thailand as an important growth market for us in the Asia Pacific Region, where our business has been posting record revenues."

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United States Will Not Pursue FTA With Thailand

The United States has decided not to pursue a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand because of politic problems arising from the coup that occurred last year. The United States announced it would not pursue a FTA until Thailand adopts a democratic government. Susan Schwab, a US Trade Representative, said Monday: "We have given up having an FTA with Thailand."

The United States has decided not to pursue a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand because of politic problems arising from the coup that occurred last year. The United States announced it would not pursue a FTA until Thailand adopts a democratic government. Susan Schwab, a US Trade Representative, said Monday: "We have given up having an FTA with Thailand."

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Thailand's PTT Plc Speeds Up Imports

Thailand's PTT gas company has decided to take advantage of the strong baht and will speed up the importation of machinery and equipment worth THB 30 billion. It also plans to buy methane cracking units worth THB 10 billion. Senior Executive Vice-President Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith said the stronger baht would reduce import costs but he added that it might not reduce overall costs due to high fuel prices.

Thailand's PTT gas company has decided to take advantage of the strong baht and will speed up the importation of machinery and equipment worth THB 30 billion. It also plans to buy methane cracking units worth THB 10 billion. Senior Executive Vice-President Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith said the stronger baht would reduce import costs but he added that it might not reduce overall costs due to high fuel prices.

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Bangkok Expressway PCL Announces Bond Coupon Rates

Thailand's number one toll road firm, Bangkok Expressway PCL, has announced the rates it has set for its five- and seven-year bond coupon. The seven-year bonds are worth THB 1.5 billion and will have a 5.20 percent coupon. The five-year bonds are worth approximately USD 89 million and will carry a rate of 4.88 percent. The bonds were rated "A-" by Thailand's TRIS Rating.

Thailand's number one toll road firm, Bangkok Expressway PCL, has announced the rates it has set for its five- and seven-year bond coupon. The seven-year bonds are worth THB 1.5 billion and will have a 5.20 percent coupon. The five-year bonds are worth approximately USD 89 million and will carry a rate of 4.88 percent. The bonds were rated "A-" by Thailand's TRIS Rating.

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Former Prime Minister Takes Legal Action Against Thai Government

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has sued the military-backed government, insisting they compensate him for the losses he incurred from having his assets frozen. Thaksin claims the freezing of his accounts, worth USD 1.58 billion, was done illegally. He is asking for USD 1.5 billion in compensation. Thaksin's lawyer said Thursday: "We demand 50,016 million baht from the committee - 16 million baht for the investment opportunity losses and 50 billion baht for damages to fame and integrity."

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has sued the military-backed government, insisting they compensate him for the losses he incurred from having his assets frozen. Thaksin claims the freezing of his accounts, worth USD 1.58 billion, was done illegally. He is asking for USD 1.5 billion in compensation. Thaksin's lawyer said Thursday: "We demand 50,016 million baht from the committee - 16 million baht for the investment opportunity losses and 50 billion baht for damages to fame and integrity."

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Bank of Thailand to Allow USD Bank Accounts

On Thursday the Bank of Thailand announced it is trying to allow dollar deposits in an effort to slow the baht's appreciation. The central bank said it would allow the public to open US dollar-denominated bank accounts worth up to USD 100,000. The initiative will be presented to the prime minister's cabinet on Tuesday for approval.

On Thursday the Bank of Thailand announced it is trying to allow dollar deposits in an effort to slow the baht's appreciation. The central bank said it would allow the public to open US dollar-denominated bank accounts worth up to USD 100,000. The initiative will be presented to the prime minister's cabinet on Tuesday for approval.

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Baht Falls After Action by Bank of Thailand

After the Bank of Thailand cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points, the Thai baht fell a quarter of a percent to its lowest point this week, quoted at THB 33.43/USD 1. Analysts polled by Reuters said the rate cut would lend a positive change because the baht's 8 percent rise this year had already led to a tightened policy. The primary reason for the Bank of Thailand's action was to help exporters who were suffering a loss of exchange rate competitiveness.

After the Bank of Thailand cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points, the Thai baht fell a quarter of a percent to its lowest point this week, quoted at THB 33.43/USD 1. Analysts polled by Reuters said the rate cut would lend a positive change because the baht's 8 percent rise this year had already led to a tightened policy. The primary reason for the Bank of Thailand's action was to help exporters who were suffering a loss of exchange rate competitiveness.

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Bank of Thailand Cuts Back Interest Rate to Curb Rising Currency

After being pressured by the army-backed government, the central bank of Thailand cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent in an effort to slow the rapidly appreciating baht. This is the fifth rate cut the Bank of Thailand has had to make this year. Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Suchada Kirakul assured reporters that the rate cut would curb the baht's appreciation, but some analysts, including an unnamed Bangkok Bank dealer, believe the move is too small to have any substantial effect on the currency.

After being pressured by the army-backed government, the central bank of Thailand cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent in an effort to slow the rapidly appreciating baht. This is the fifth rate cut the Bank of Thailand has had to make this year. Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Suchada Kirakul assured reporters that the rate cut would curb the baht's appreciation, but some analysts, including an unnamed Bangkok Bank dealer, believe the move is too small to have any substantial effect on the currency.

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Thailand's RS PCL Entertainment Group Will Likely Not Meet Revenue Goal

One of Thailand's largest entertainment groups, RS PCL, may not reach its revenue goal of THD 3.5 billion (approximately USD 105 million). The group said Tuesday the loss was probably due to fewer CD music sales and fewer new albums being released. RS PCL Chief Executive Surachai Chetchotisak said: "The top line target for the whole year might not be met, but having said this, our bottom line won't be shaken.

One of Thailand's largest entertainment groups, RS PCL, may not reach its revenue goal of THD 3.5 billion (approximately USD 105 million). The group said Tuesday the loss was probably due to fewer CD music sales and fewer new albums being released. RS PCL Chief Executive Surachai Chetchotisak said: "The top line target for the whole year might not be met, but having said this, our bottom line won't be shaken.

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Bank of Thailand Urged by Government to Cut Interest Rate

In an effort to stop the rapidly appreciating baht, Thailand's government has asked the Bank of Thailand to cut its key interest rate further. According to Industry Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Panpiemras, the bank had room to cut the interest rate. Since the beginning of the year, the baht has seen a seven percent rise against the dollar and has reached its highest point since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

In an effort to stop the rapidly appreciating baht, Thailand's government has asked the Bank of Thailand to cut its key interest rate further. According to Industry Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Panpiemras, the bank had room to cut the interest rate. Since the beginning of the year, the baht has seen a seven percent rise against the dollar and has reached its highest point since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

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Thai Stock Exchange Market Capitalization Likely to be Higher Than Expected

The president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has announced that the market capitalization for the SET is likely to break one trillion baht higher than expected by the end of this year, at THB seven billion. The current market capitalization for the SET is THB 6.62 trillion, up 26.4 percent since the beginning of the year.

The president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has announced that the market capitalization for the SET is likely to break one trillion baht higher than expected by the end of this year, at THB seven billion. The current market capitalization for the SET is THB 6.62 trillion, up 26.4 percent since the beginning of the year.

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Thai Government Will Not Take Measures to Fix Baht

Despite the rapid gains the Thai baht has reached recently, the Governor of Thailand announced Monday that the country has no plans to fix the exchange rate. Exporters have complained that the high rate has hurt competitiveness, and have requested government assistance. The exchange rate, which is approximately THB 33.30 to 1 USD, continues to reach the highest it has been in 10 years since the Asian Financial Crisis.

Despite the rapid gains the Thai baht has reached recently, the Governor of Thailand announced Monday that the country has no plans to fix the exchange rate. Exporters have complained that the high rate has hurt competitiveness, and have requested government assistance. The exchange rate, which is approximately THB 33.30 to 1 USD, continues to reach the highest it has been in 10 years since the Asian Financial Crisis.

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Thai Billionaire Falls From Grace

Thailand's once-prominent former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is no longer considered a billionaire, according to Forbes. After the military overthrew Thaksin for corruption and froze about USD 1.52 billion of his assets, he went from being worth USD 2.2 billion to only 300 million. Despite his loss, Thaksin is still considered one of the richest men in Thailand.

Thailand's once-prominent former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is no longer considered a billionaire, according to Forbes. After the military overthrew Thaksin for corruption and froze about USD 1.52 billion of his assets, he went from being worth USD 2.2 billion to only 300 million. Despite his loss, Thaksin is still considered one of the richest men in Thailand.

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thailand

Thai Prime Minister Vows to Stop Rapid Baht Growth

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont vowed Friday to stop the rapid growth of the baht, which has made Thai exports less competitive. The baht has been rapidly climbing, reaching the highest it has been since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The exchange rate is currently 1 USD/31.539 THB. "The government will try to stabilize the baht so as not to allow it to fluctuate to the unacceptable level," Surayud said.

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont vowed Friday to stop the rapid growth of the baht, which has made Thai exports less competitive. The baht has been rapidly climbing, reaching the highest it has been since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The exchange rate is currently 1 USD/31.539 THB. "The government will try to stabilize the baht so as not to allow it to fluctuate to the unacceptable level," Surayud said.

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Thai Ministry of Finance Has Baht Growth Under Control

The Minister of Finance in Thailand said Thursday that despite the baht's aggressive strengthening, the Ministry of Finance still has everything under control. "The rapid rise of the Thai baht is still manageable," said Chalongphob Sussangkarn. Sussangkarn said the Thai government does not plan to use "shock" measures to stop the rapid increase of the baht.

The Minister of Finance in Thailand said Thursday that despite the baht's aggressive strengthening, the Ministry of Finance still has everything under control. "The rapid rise of the Thai baht is still manageable," said Chalongphob Sussangkarn. Sussangkarn said the Thai government does not plan to use "shock" measures to stop the rapid increase of the baht.

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Bank of Thailand to Cancel Limits on Offshore Investment

In an effort to stop the baht's rapid increase, the central bank has decided to do away with limits on offshore investment by listed Thai companies, according to Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase. Tarisa also said that the bank may increase offshore investment limits for mutual funds. The THB is currently at 31.986 to 1 USD, reaching 10-year highs against the dollar.

In an effort to stop the baht's rapid increase, the central bank has decided to do away with limits on offshore investment by listed Thai companies, according to Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase. Tarisa also said that the bank may increase offshore investment limits for mutual funds. The THB is currently at 31.986 to 1 USD, reaching 10-year highs against the dollar.

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Exporters Selling Fewer Dollars After Request from Bank of Thailand

The Bank of Thailand has asked exporters not to panic as the baht continues to rise, and exporters have responded by selling fewer dollars on Wednesday, according to the central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase. On Tuesday, exporters quickly sold dollars after the Monday announcement that foreigners could borrow baht onshore, leading many investors to assume that such an action would lead to the wholesale lifting of capital controls.

The Bank of Thailand has asked exporters not to panic as the baht continues to rise, and exporters have responded by selling fewer dollars on Wednesday, according to the central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase. On Tuesday, exporters quickly sold dollars after the Monday announcement that foreigners could borrow baht onshore, leading many investors to assume that such an action would lead to the wholesale lifting of capital controls.

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Thai Employees Displaced After Factory Unexpectedly Closes

The Thai Silp South East Asia Export and Import Co Ltd went out of business Wednesday, leaving 5,000 people without jobs. According to a note left on the door for employees, the company closed because business had been hurt by the strong Thai currency. Suthep Aunsamai, deputy head of the Labour Protection and Welfare Agency, said he would try to negotiate compensation for the laid-off workers with the factory owner.

The Thai Silp South East Asia Export and Import Co Ltd went out of business Wednesday, leaving 5,000 people without jobs. According to a note left on the door for employees, the company closed because business had been hurt by the strong Thai currency. Suthep Aunsamai, deputy head of the Labour Protection and Welfare Agency, said he would try to negotiate compensation for the laid-off workers with the factory owner.

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Strong Asia-Pacific Currencies Lead to Slip in Regional Stocks

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at 157.81, as Asia-Pacific currencies such as the yen and Australian dollar traded strong. The Aussie dollar traded near an 18-year high while the yen experienced a pause in its weakening trend as it strengthened against both the US dollar and the euro. Markets dropped across the region except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Thailand's SET index was the region's biggest gainer, jumping 1.7 percent.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at 157.81, as Asia-Pacific currencies such as the yen and Australian dollar traded strong. The Aussie dollar traded near an 18-year high while the yen experienced a pause in its weakening trend as it strengthened against both the US dollar and the euro. Markets dropped across the region except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Thailand's SET index was the region's biggest gainer, jumping 1.7 percent.

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TMB Bank of Thailand Sees Loan Decline

Thailand's fifth largest bank, TMB Bank PCL, said in a statement Tuesday that it expected its lending to shrink by as much as 10 percent this year. Bank representatives believe the decline has been caused by a slower economy and bad loan sales. TMB shares were up 5.17 percent on Tuesday at 2.44 baht.

Thailand's fifth largest bank, TMB Bank PCL, said in a statement Tuesday that it expected its lending to shrink by as much as 10 percent this year. Bank representatives believe the decline has been caused by a slower economy and bad loan sales. TMB shares were up 5.17 percent on Tuesday at 2.44 baht.

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Japan and Thailand Give Bilateral Currency Swap Deal a Boost

According to Japanese officials, Japan will provide USD 3 billion more of its foreign reserves to Thailand in an effort to better shield both economies from future currency upheavals. Under the previous deal, Japan provided USD 6 billion; under the new plan it will provide USD 9 billion. Officials predict the value of the ASEAN currency swap network will rise from USD 80 billion to USD 83 billion.

According to Japanese officials, Japan will provide USD 3 billion more of its foreign reserves to Thailand in an effort to better shield both economies from future currency upheavals. Under the previous deal, Japan provided USD 6 billion; under the new plan it will provide USD 9 billion. Officials predict the value of the ASEAN currency swap network will rise from USD 80 billion to USD 83 billion.

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Bank of Thailand Allows Foreign Businesses to Borrow Baht Onshore

Foreign businesses have one month to borrow baht from a Thai counterparty in an effort to roll over hedged offshore positions. The Bank of Thailand enacted this policy on Monday to counteract losses from hedged offshore positions that were made before Dec. 19, 2006, when Thailand imposed capital controls. A strategist at Westpac Bank in Australia, believes the action "will take some stress out of the offshore market."

Foreign businesses have one month to borrow baht from a Thai counterparty in an effort to roll over hedged offshore positions. The Bank of Thailand enacted this policy on Monday to counteract losses from hedged offshore positions that were made before Dec. 19, 2006, when Thailand imposed capital controls. A strategist at Westpac Bank in Australia, believes the action "will take some stress out of the offshore market."

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TAITRA Electronic Product Show To Be Held in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand, will be hosting the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) electronic product show this month from July 26 to July 29. The show will allow businesses to display electronic products including appliances, parts and components, automobile devices, and security systems. According to a spokesperson for TAITRA, the show was organized to help businesses from Taiwan expand to countries that are part of ASEAN.

Bangkok, Thailand, will be hosting the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) electronic product show this month from July 26 to July 29. The show will allow businesses to display electronic products including appliances, parts and components, automobile devices, and security systems. According to a spokesperson for TAITRA, the show was organized to help businesses from Taiwan expand to countries that are part of ASEAN.

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First Drop in a Week on International Asia-Pacific Index

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

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Thai AirAsia Lowers Fare Prices

To attract consumers during a slow season, Thai AirAsia is offering reduced fares from now until September 27. According to the chief executive of Thai AirAsia, Tassapon Bijleveld, the management's recent buyout of shares held by Shin Corp and businessman Sittichai Veerathummnoon - a transaction worth about THB 1 billion - was a reason to celebrate by lowering prices.

To attract consumers during a slow season, Thai AirAsia is offering reduced fares from now until September 27. According to the chief executive of Thai AirAsia, Tassapon Bijleveld, the management's recent buyout of shares held by Shin Corp and businessman Sittichai Veerathummnoon - a transaction worth about THB 1 billion - was a reason to celebrate by lowering prices.

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Bank of Thailand Asks Local Manufacturers for Patience

The Bank of Thailand has asked local manufacturers for their patience while market forces come into action to combat the weakening baht, which is expected to be between 36 and 37 against the USD Friday. According to Surapol Sritrakul, the director of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, the Bank of Thailand has made it clear in a meeting Thursday that it was trying to help, but "not much could be done right now as the appreciation was in line with market forces and regional trends."

The Bank of Thailand has asked local manufacturers for their patience while market forces come into action to combat the weakening baht, which is expected to be between 36 and 37 against the USD Friday. According to Surapol Sritrakul, the director of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, the Bank of Thailand has made it clear in a meeting Thursday that it was trying to help, but "not much could be done right now as the appreciation was in line with market forces and regional trends."

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thailand

Nomura Holdings: Pick Thailand and Taiwan Stocks

According to Nomura Holdings Inc., Thailand and Taiwan are its region's best selections for investors. Both markets are perceived to be undervalued as Thailand and Taiwan's stock exchanges are valued at 11 times earnings and 13 times earnings respectively. India and China's exchanges are trading at 21 and 41 times earnings.

According to Nomura Holdings Inc., Thailand and Taiwan are its region's best selections for investors. Both markets are perceived to be undervalued as Thailand and Taiwan's stock exchanges are valued at 11 times earnings and 13 times earnings respectively. India and China's exchanges are trading at 21 and 41 times earnings.

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Fueled by Chipmakers, Asian Securities on Six-day Rise

Samsung Electronics Co. and BHP Billiton Ltd. led the way as Asian stocks rose for a sixth straight day, reflecting the current strength and rising prices of computer chips and metals. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to hit a record of 156.67 at 8:03 PM in Tokyo, and the region's leading benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, rose 0.3 percent. China's CSI 300 Index paced losers as questions swirled concerning the impact of new share sales. The markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also took losses on the day.

Samsung Electronics Co. and BHP Billiton Ltd. led the way as Asian stocks rose for a sixth straight day, reflecting the current strength and rising prices of computer chips and metals. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to hit a record of 156.67 at 8:03 PM in Tokyo, and the region's leading benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, rose 0.3 percent. China's CSI 300 Index paced losers as questions swirled concerning the impact of new share sales. The markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also took losses on the day.

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Japanese Investors Consider Looking Outside of Thailand

Japanese investors are starting to stray from the Thai market because of its rising stock market and appreciating currency, causing it to be less competitive, according to the Japanese External Trade Organization (Jetro). Jetro President Yoichi Kato said most Japanese companies plan to maintain their position in the Thai market with a "wait-and-see" approach, but will begin looking to invest in countries such as Vietnam, China and India.

Japanese investors are starting to stray from the Thai market because of its rising stock market and appreciating currency, causing it to be less competitive, according to the Japanese External Trade Organization (Jetro). Jetro President Yoichi Kato said most Japanese companies plan to maintain their position in the Thai market with a "wait-and-see" approach, but will begin looking to invest in countries such as Vietnam, China and India.

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Thai Baht Reaches Record High Point, Mirroring Stock Index

Fueled by Thailand's record-high stocks this week, the Thai baht (THB) reached its highest point since the Asian financial crisis of 1997. It rose as high as 34.00 THB per USD on Thursday and is still rising. Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase said the bank is making efforts to slow the surge.

Fueled by Thailand's record-high stocks this week, the Thai baht (THB) reached its highest point since the Asian financial crisis of 1997. It rose as high as 34.00 THB per USD on Thursday and is still rising. Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase said the bank is making efforts to slow the surge.

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Thailand's PTT Firm Sponsors New Entertainment Park

Thailand's largest energy firm, PTT Plc, will spend THB 5.5 million (about USD 174,000) in sponsoring activities at the new PTT Motor Sports Land entertainment park. Some of the activities include go-karting, motor driving school, and sprint racing. The sponsorship is part of PTT's sports marketing strategy and the company hopes it will help to promote its new motor oil products.

Thailand's largest energy firm, PTT Plc, will spend THB 5.5 million (about USD 174,000) in sponsoring activities at the new PTT Motor Sports Land entertainment park. Some of the activities include go-karting, motor driving school, and sprint racing. The sponsorship is part of PTT's sports marketing strategy and the company hopes it will help to promote its new motor oil products.

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Thai Stock Exchange Reaches Highest Point in Ten Years

The Thai Stock Exchange rose 2.05 percent Tuesday, reaching its highest point in over 10 years, closing at 813.98. According to analysts, investors are beginning to take advantage of the feeling of security that has been restored among the citizens of Thailand. JP Morgan analyst Marco Sucharitkul said that stocks would continue climbing for the next few months before losing momentum and slowing.

The Thai Stock Exchange rose 2.05 percent Tuesday, reaching its highest point in over 10 years, closing at 813.98. According to analysts, investors are beginning to take advantage of the feeling of security that has been restored among the citizens of Thailand. JP Morgan analyst Marco Sucharitkul said that stocks would continue climbing for the next few months before losing momentum and slowing.

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thailand

Thailand's Inflation Steady in June

Thailand's inflation remains at 1.9 percent from May to June after a steady decline from November to April. Analysts' predicted a 2.0 percent annual inflation for Thailand, but the rate touched a three-year low of 1.8 percent in April. Thailand's economy has relaxed considerably from last year's average inflation at 4.7 percent.

Thailand's inflation remains at 1.9 percent from May to June after a steady decline from November to April. Analysts' predicted a 2.0 percent annual inflation for Thailand, but the rate touched a three-year low of 1.8 percent in April. Thailand's economy has relaxed considerably from last year's average inflation at 4.7 percent.

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Amendment to the Bank of Thailand Act Gives More Power to Finance Ministry

Economists speculate that a new amendment to the Bank of Thailand Act will improve checks and balances on central bank policies by giving officials from the Ministry of Finance more power to appoint directors. The amendment also gives the Finance Ministry the power to appoint and dismiss the governor of the central bank. Ammar Siamwalla, economist with the Thailand Development Research Institute, said the new policy will keep the governor from having absolute power.

Economists speculate that a new amendment to the Bank of Thailand Act will improve checks and balances on central bank policies by giving officials from the Ministry of Finance more power to appoint directors. The amendment also gives the Finance Ministry the power to appoint and dismiss the governor of the central bank. Ammar Siamwalla, economist with the Thailand Development Research Institute, said the new policy will keep the governor from having absolute power.

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thailand

Thailand's PTT Chemical Will Sell Bonds to Fund Expansion

Thailand's largest olefins maker, PTT Chemical, announced Friday that it will sell USD 300 to 350 million in baht-denominated bonds in order to raise money for expansion. According to Aditheb Bisalbutr, PTT Chemical's president, the company will sell bonds with maturities of five to ten years in the domestic market.

Thailand's largest olefins maker, PTT Chemical, announced Friday that it will sell USD 300 to 350 million in baht-denominated bonds in order to raise money for expansion. According to Aditheb Bisalbutr, PTT Chemical's president, the company will sell bonds with maturities of five to ten years in the domestic market.

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thailand

Thailand Lifestyle Property Fund Has Successful First Year

Thailand's Major Cineplex Group has earned THB 2.3 billion from its Lifestyle Property Fund, which is managed by TMB Asset Management and ING Mutual Funds. It was subscribed in June, when it held its first public offering. The fund owns two cineplexes and has been very attractive since it was a cash business with high growth potential, according to Maris Tarab, managing director of ING Mutual Funds. He said the return of investment for the first year was at least 8 percent.

Thailand's Major Cineplex Group has earned THB 2.3 billion from its Lifestyle Property Fund, which is managed by TMB Asset Management and ING Mutual Funds. It was subscribed in June, when it held its first public offering. The fund owns two cineplexes and has been very attractive since it was a cash business with high growth potential, according to Maris Tarab, managing director of ING Mutual Funds. He said the return of investment for the first year was at least 8 percent.

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thailand

Debt Market in Thailand Attracts Developers

The debt market is beginning to capture the interest of developers because of its low interest rates and continual growth, but according to Kasikornbank's Vice President Sammit Sakulwira, investor demand would concentrate on secured debentures or highly rated issues, leading to very little success in the market.

The debt market is beginning to capture the interest of developers because of its low interest rates and continual growth, but according to Kasikornbank's Vice President Sammit Sakulwira, investor demand would concentrate on secured debentures or highly rated issues, leading to very little success in the market.

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thailand

Thai Stocks Predicted to Rise Again

Analysts believe Thai stocks will rise again on Thursday, a growth prompted by the Industry Ministry announcing that it believed the economy would grow in the second half of the fiscal year. Far East Securities analyst Veerachai Klongsamsri said fund managers should "window dress," or buy prominent stocks, to boost the values in their portfolios.

Analysts believe Thai stocks will rise again on Thursday, a growth prompted by the Industry Ministry announcing that it believed the economy would grow in the second half of the fiscal year. Far East Securities analyst Veerachai Klongsamsri said fund managers should "window dress," or buy prominent stocks, to boost the values in their portfolios.

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thailand

Malaysian Cars Granted Entry to Thailand

Under the Asean Free Trade Area's 0 to 5 percent tariff, Malaysian-made automobiles will be allowed to enter Thailand, Asia's largest automobile producer. Thailand had previously been hesitant to remove the current 20 percent tariff, believing that Malaysia's policy of Approved Permits was a non-tariff barrier enacted to hinder foreign made cars from entering the country.

Under the Asean Free Trade Area's 0 to 5 percent tariff, Malaysian-made automobiles will be allowed to enter Thailand, Asia's largest automobile producer. Thailand had previously been hesitant to remove the current 20 percent tariff, believing that Malaysia's policy of Approved Permits was a non-tariff barrier enacted to hinder foreign made cars from entering the country.

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thailand

Thailand Exempts Tariffs on Imports From Neighboring Countries

Thailand has exempted tariffs on agricultural products, including maize, soy-beans and eucalyptus, imported from neighboring countries. The decision is in accordance with the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), which was signed by Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Thailand has exempted tariffs on agricultural products, including maize, soy-beans and eucalyptus, imported from neighboring countries. The decision is in accordance with the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), which was signed by Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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thailand

Thailand's Import Tax on Malaysian Automobiles Eradicated

As of Tuesday, Thailand's import tax on Malaysian cars is abolished, according to an assistant government spokesperson in Thailand. Malaysia recently abolished its own trade restrictions for automobiles, and both moves were made in accordance with the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement. The government spokesman added that both countries are attempting to make gestures of goodwill in an attempt to work toward an integrated regional trade area.

As of Tuesday, Thailand's import tax on Malaysian cars is abolished, according to an assistant government spokesperson in Thailand. Malaysia recently abolished its own trade restrictions for automobiles, and both moves were made in accordance with the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement. The government spokesman added that both countries are attempting to make gestures of goodwill in an attempt to work toward an integrated regional trade area.

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thailand

India to Sign Free-Trade Agreement with Thailand

India and Thailand are on course to signing a trade agreement by the end of this year that will lower tariffs and increase trade between the two countries. Discussions began in January 2004 but have been hindered by India's demands to exclude nearly 500 items from the range of goods covered under the agreement. Even still, tariffs may be cut on 80 percent of the goods and services exchanged between the two countries.

India and Thailand are on course to signing a trade agreement by the end of this year that will lower tariffs and increase trade between the two countries. Discussions began in January 2004 but have been hindered by India's demands to exclude nearly 500 items from the range of goods covered under the agreement. Even still, tariffs may be cut on 80 percent of the goods and services exchanged between the two countries.

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thailand

Thailand's AP to Sell Bonds Next Month

Thailand's Asian Property Development (AP) announced Tuesday that it plans to sell bonds next month in an attempt to refinance debt. The bonds would be worth USD 27 to 87 million. According to Chief Executive Anuphong Assavabhokhin, AP has planned to spend approximately USD 61.1 million on buying land for upcoming construction projects.

Thailand's Asian Property Development (AP) announced Tuesday that it plans to sell bonds next month in an attempt to refinance debt. The bonds would be worth USD 27 to 87 million. According to Chief Executive Anuphong Assavabhokhin, AP has planned to spend approximately USD 61.1 million on buying land for upcoming construction projects.

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thailand

Thailand Sees Increase in Foreign Investment

Foreign investment in Thailand has increased by USD 820 million from last year despite political problems, according to Thamrong Mahajchariyawong, deputy secretary general of the Thailand Board of Investment. Thamrong added that overall investment was likely to remain similar to last year's numbers at about USD 13.13 billion.

Foreign investment in Thailand has increased by USD 820 million from last year despite political problems, according to Thamrong Mahajchariyawong, deputy secretary general of the Thailand Board of Investment. Thamrong added that overall investment was likely to remain similar to last year's numbers at about USD 13.13 billion.

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thailand

Thailand: Ministry of Finance Considers Greater Tax Deductions for Philanthropists

Philanthropists could receive greater tax deductions in exchange for their generosity, according to the Minister of Finance in Thailand, Chalongphob Sussangkarn. The increased deductions are being considered as a way to encourage aid, and to make it easier for charity organizations to qualify for tax-exempt status. Currently only about 600 organizations nationwide qualify for tax deductions.

Philanthropists could receive greater tax deductions in exchange for their generosity, according to the Minister of Finance in Thailand, Chalongphob Sussangkarn. The increased deductions are being considered as a way to encourage aid, and to make it easier for charity organizations to qualify for tax-exempt status. Currently only about 600 organizations nationwide qualify for tax deductions.

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thailand

Thai Stocks Take Cues From Falling U.S. Market

After falls in both the American and Chinese stock markets, Southeast Asian markets fell Monday. Thailand's shares dropped 1.03 percent by 9.47 a.m. local time (Sunday, June 24, 7:45 p.m. PDT). Analysts suspect investors are waiting to take action until after for the U.S. Federal Reserve Meeting scheduled for June 27 and 28, which will hopefully reveal information about the U.S. economy.

After falls in both the American and Chinese stock markets, Southeast Asian markets fell Monday. Thailand's shares dropped 1.03 percent by 9.47 a.m. local time (Sunday, June 24, 7:45 p.m. PDT). Analysts suspect investors are waiting to take action until after for the U.S. Federal Reserve Meeting scheduled for June 27 and 28, which will hopefully reveal information about the U.S. economy.

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thailand

Thailand's TAC Shares Off to a Rough Start

Shares in Thailand's Total Access Communication PCL (TAC) did not do as well as expected on its first trading day. Analysts believe concern about regulatory risk affected earnings and dividend prospects. The stock rose 4.4 percent Friday, reflecting high valuations that some worry could prompt the government to enforce higher fees on mobile companies.

Shares in Thailand's Total Access Communication PCL (TAC) did not do as well as expected on its first trading day. Analysts believe concern about regulatory risk affected earnings and dividend prospects. The stock rose 4.4 percent Friday, reflecting high valuations that some worry could prompt the government to enforce higher fees on mobile companies.

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thailand

Thailand: IRPC Delays Release of Bond Coupons

Thailand's IRPC has delayed the release of bond coupons after the unpredictable bond market decreased in demand. The release date, which was slated to be Friday, is now set for Tuesday. The IRPC will be releasing THB 7 billion of 7-year bonds, and THB 3 billion of 20-year bonds to repay a debt due in September. IRPC Public Company Limited, formerly Thai Petrochemical Industry Public Company Limited, is a Thailand-based manufacturing company engaged in the production of petrochemical and petroleum products.

Thailand's IRPC has delayed the release of bond coupons after the unpredictable bond market decreased in demand. The release date, which was slated to be Friday, is now set for Tuesday. The IRPC will be releasing THB 7 billion of 7-year bonds, and THB 3 billion of 20-year bonds to repay a debt due in September. IRPC Public Company Limited, formerly Thai Petrochemical Industry Public Company Limited, is a Thailand-based manufacturing company engaged in the production of petrochemical and petroleum products.

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thailand

Thai AirAsia Expects Profit Boom Within the Year

Because of a boom of tourism in Thailand, Thai AirAsia, Thailand's top budget airline, anticipates a quadrupling in its profit within the year. Airline Chief Executive Tassapon Bijleveld said revenue is expected to rise by 26 percent. The airline has begun to expand its routes to include more destinations.

Because of a boom of tourism in Thailand, Thai AirAsia, Thailand's top budget airline, anticipates a quadrupling in its profit within the year. Airline Chief Executive Tassapon Bijleveld said revenue is expected to rise by 26 percent. The airline has begun to expand its routes to include more destinations.

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thailand

Thailand Stock Index Drops After Yesterday's Peak

Just a day after rising to its highest point in more than a year, the Thai Stock Index fell 0.12 percent after a drop in the the US stock market. US stocks dropped Wednesday as a result of a decrease in oil prices, which dragged down energy shares. According to Kim Hak-kyun, an analyst at Korea Investment and Securities, there are worries about US interest rates, and there will likely be more drops today.

Just a day after rising to its highest point in more than a year, the Thai Stock Index fell 0.12 percent after a drop in the the US stock market. US stocks dropped Wednesday as a result of a decrease in oil prices, which dragged down energy shares. According to Kim Hak-kyun, an analyst at Korea Investment and Securities, there are worries about US interest rates, and there will likely be more drops today.

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Thailand Exempts Neighbors From Agricultural Duties

The Thai government has approved exempting neighboring Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar from import duties on certain categories of agricultural products as part of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). The ACMECS was begun in 2006 and is intended to run until 2008 with the intention of increasing trade and cooperation throughout the region.

The Thai government has approved exempting neighboring Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar from import duties on certain categories of agricultural products as part of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). The ACMECS was begun in 2006 and is intended to run until 2008 with the intention of increasing trade and cooperation throughout the region.

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thailand

Confidence of Thai Sellers is on the Rise

Low interest rates and inflation may have boosted the confidence of sellers, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). FTI said that the Thai Industries Sentiment Index rose 9.1 percent from May to April, indicating an increase in confidence from members in the FTI's industrial groups.

Low interest rates and inflation may have boosted the confidence of sellers, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). FTI said that the Thai Industries Sentiment Index rose 9.1 percent from May to April, indicating an increase in confidence from members in the FTI's industrial groups.

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thailand

General Election News Helps Thai Stock Index Recover

Thailand's stocks are finally recovering after a low market year. After the Election Commission said it may be planning a general election in late November, the Thai Index rose 1.59 percent, rebounding from a fall of 0.32 percent on Tuesday. Thanachart Securities analyst Saengtham Jaranachaikul said Wednesday: "The market received a boost from the news because the sooner the election is held, the faster confidence will come back."

Thailand's stocks are finally recovering after a low market year. After the Election Commission said it may be planning a general election in late November, the Thai Index rose 1.59 percent, rebounding from a fall of 0.32 percent on Tuesday. Thanachart Securities analyst Saengtham Jaranachaikul said Wednesday: "The market received a boost from the news because the sooner the election is held, the faster confidence will come back."

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Thailand Will Lease New Planes Instead of Buying Them

Thailand's plans to buy eight Airbus planes have been rejected by the country's interim cabinet Tuesday, and the country has instead resolved to lease the aircraft. According to a cabinet statement released Tuesday, the purchasing of the planes would have cost Thai Airways USD 867 million, putting them into debt. Thai Airways is already under financial pressure because of oil prices.

Thailand's plans to buy eight Airbus planes have been rejected by the country's interim cabinet Tuesday, and the country has instead resolved to lease the aircraft. According to a cabinet statement released Tuesday, the purchasing of the planes would have cost Thai Airways USD 867 million, putting them into debt. Thai Airways is already under financial pressure because of oil prices.

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thailand

Thai Insurance Companies to Merge Next Year

Two of Thailand's well-known insurance companies, Phatra Insurance and Muang Thai Insurance, plan to merge in an attempt to be in the top five market sharing companies. According to company representatives, the merged company should be the country's seventh largest, with a 3 percent market share. The merger is set to begin in March of 2008 and be completed in April.

Two of Thailand's well-known insurance companies, Phatra Insurance and Muang Thai Insurance, plan to merge in an attempt to be in the top five market sharing companies. According to company representatives, the merged company should be the country's seventh largest, with a 3 percent market share. The merger is set to begin in March of 2008 and be completed in April.

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thailand

Thailand Cell Phone Operator to Invest USD 2.7 in Singapore Company

Thailand's largest cell phone operator, Advanced Info Service PCL (AIS), announced Monday that it planned on investing USD 27 million in Singapore's Bridge Mobile Pte Ltd. Earlier today, AIS shares were up 4.8 percent and Thailand's main index was up 2.5 percent.

Thailand's largest cell phone operator, Advanced Info Service PCL (AIS), announced Monday that it planned on investing USD 27 million in Singapore's Bridge Mobile Pte Ltd. Earlier today, AIS shares were up 4.8 percent and Thailand's main index was up 2.5 percent.

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SE Asia Organization to Cooperate on Increasing Rice Exports

The five members of the the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS), which include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, are looking to come to an agreement on increasing the quality and image of the region's rice exports. The agreement would include rules on the transfer of farming techniques and market information so that Southeast Asian rice exports can better compete internationally.

The five members of the the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS), which include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, are looking to come to an agreement on increasing the quality and image of the region's rice exports. The agreement would include rules on the transfer of farming techniques and market information so that Southeast Asian rice exports can better compete internationally.

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thailand

Thailand Has Growing Trade Deficit with Myanmar

Thailand has found itself in a trade deficit with Myanmar for the first time, according to a Thai Customs official. The official said Myanmar's lack of a solid trade policy could have prompted the deficit, which was approximately USD 2.22 billion from April 2006 to March 2007.

Thailand has found itself in a trade deficit with Myanmar for the first time, according to a Thai Customs official. The official said Myanmar's lack of a solid trade policy could have prompted the deficit, which was approximately USD 2.22 billion from April 2006 to March 2007.

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thailand

A Joint Effort to Increase Rice Exports

Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand are joining together in an effort to improve the image and quality of the region's rice. In Vietnam alone, rice exports declined 21 percent in volume and eight percent in value during the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year. The countries hope to increase the competitiveness of their region's rice by exchanging global market information and farming techniques among each other.

Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand are joining together in an effort to improve the image and quality of the region's rice. In Vietnam alone, rice exports declined 21 percent in volume and eight percent in value during the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year. The countries hope to increase the competitiveness of their region's rice by exchanging global market information and farming techniques among each other.

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thailand

Thailand's Stocks Poised for Future Success

By following historical patterns, analysts have predicted that Thailand's low-performing stocks are poised for more gains despite being the worst performing stocks in Southeast Asia this year. Doug Barnett, a fund manager who has been investing in Thailand for 17 years, believes the political worries that have generated low prices create a "great buying opportunity."

By following historical patterns, analysts have predicted that Thailand's low-performing stocks are poised for more gains despite being the worst performing stocks in Southeast Asia this year. Doug Barnett, a fund manager who has been investing in Thailand for 17 years, believes the political worries that have generated low prices create a "great buying opportunity."

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thailand

Thailand's Stocks Expected to Suffer This Weekend

According to analysts, Thai stocks are expected to fall after government protests occurring this weekend. Thai stocks dropped 2.3 percent on Wednesday, but recovered 1.15 percent, closing at 734.93. Thailand's stocks have been Southeast Asia's worst performers this year.

According to analysts, Thai stocks are expected to fall after government protests occurring this weekend. Thai stocks dropped 2.3 percent on Wednesday, but recovered 1.15 percent, closing at 734.93. Thailand's stocks have been Southeast Asia's worst performers this year.

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thailand

Dow Chemical Company to Invest USD 2 Billion in Thailand Investment

Dow Chemical Co. is planning to turn Thailand into its largest production base in Southeast Asia, according to Industry Minister Kosit Panpiemras. Dow has a joint venture with Thailand's largest conglomerate, Siam Cement Group, and plans to invest up to USD 2 billion for five petrochemical projects. The projects are scheduled to begin in 2010.

Dow Chemical Co. is planning to turn Thailand into its largest production base in Southeast Asia, according to Industry Minister Kosit Panpiemras. Dow has a joint venture with Thailand's largest conglomerate, Siam Cement Group, and plans to invest up to USD 2 billion for five petrochemical projects. The projects are scheduled to begin in 2010.

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thailand

Thailand's Board of Investment Tries to Attract More Foreign Investors

Thailand's board of investment will be traveling later this month to clarify the political problems and assure the coming general election. The Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister said that none of the American companies planned to reduce or postpone their investment in Thailand. US industrial giant Dow Chemical also has recently expressed interest in increasing investment in five more petro-chemical projects in Thailand.

Thailand's board of investment will be traveling later this month to clarify the political problems and assure the coming general election. The Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister said that none of the American companies planned to reduce or postpone their investment in Thailand. US industrial giant Dow Chemical also has recently expressed interest in increasing investment in five more petro-chemical projects in Thailand.

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thailand

Thailand's Business Leaders Are Pessimistic for Second Half

Thai businessmen claim that the state's stimulus measures were insufficient for recovering the economy. Vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce also stated that consumption has expanded by only 1.3 percent in the first quarter, the lowest in the past seven years, while investment contracted by 2.4 percent. He suggested that the government should accelerate spending on key projects and provide tax incentives for property sector.

Thai businessmen claim that the state's stimulus measures were insufficient for recovering the economy. Vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce also stated that consumption has expanded by only 1.3 percent in the first quarter, the lowest in the past seven years, while investment contracted by 2.4 percent. He suggested that the government should accelerate spending on key projects and provide tax incentives for property sector.

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thailand

Thailand, Kazakhstan to Set up Business Council

With the purpose to activate bilateral trade and economic realations, Thailand and Kazakhstan have agreed on the establishment of a joint business council. The council will work on a permanent basis to expand the commodity turnover between the two countries to a level that matches both countries' potentials, officials of both parties stated.

With the purpose to activate bilateral trade and economic realations, Thailand and Kazakhstan have agreed on the establishment of a joint business council. The council will work on a permanent basis to expand the commodity turnover between the two countries to a level that matches both countries' potentials, officials of both parties stated.

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thailand

Thai Central Bank Searches for Thaksin's Missing Funds

The Bank of Thailand is searching for the missing funds from bank accounts of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra and family after the ASC ordered the banks to freeze his account with THB 52.8 billion. The Central Bank governor said that it appears THB 8 billion were removed from the accounts in the past 10 days. However, it is unlikely that the huge funds were transferred abroad because there isn't a significant impact on the domestic currency.

The Bank of Thailand is searching for the missing funds from bank accounts of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra and family after the ASC ordered the banks to freeze his account with THB 52.8 billion. The Central Bank governor said that it appears THB 8 billion were removed from the accounts in the past 10 days. However, it is unlikely that the huge funds were transferred abroad because there isn't a significant impact on the domestic currency.

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thailand

Thailand's Shin Corp. Sells its Stake in Malaysia's AirAsia

Thailand's Shin Corp. announced that it will sell its entire 49 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia to the airline's management. Shin Corp. is owned by Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state-owned investment arm, who wanted to sell AirAsia since it does not fit into Shin's telecom business. The deal cost THB 472.1 million, and is expected to take the pressure off the legal questions surrounding Shin's foreign ownership of Malaysia's domestic airlines.

Thailand's Shin Corp. announced that it will sell its entire 49 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia to the airline's management. Shin Corp. is owned by Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state-owned investment arm, who wanted to sell AirAsia since it does not fit into Shin's telecom business. The deal cost THB 472.1 million, and is expected to take the pressure off the legal questions surrounding Shin's foreign ownership of Malaysia's domestic airlines.

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thailand

Thai Stocks Fall as Thaksin Might Return

Thai shares fell 1.42 percent after the lawyer of former prime minister Thaksin Shinnawattra announced that Thaksin might return to Thailand to fight corruption charges. An analyst at a local brokerage said investors were concerned that Thaksin's return might stir up bigger protests. Advanced Info Service, Shin Satellite, and SC Asset Corp stocks, which were owned by Thaksin's family, were the most negatively impacted.

Thai shares fell 1.42 percent after the lawyer of former prime minister Thaksin Shinnawattra announced that Thaksin might return to Thailand to fight corruption charges. An analyst at a local brokerage said investors were concerned that Thaksin's return might stir up bigger protests. Advanced Info Service, Shin Satellite, and SC Asset Corp stocks, which were owned by Thaksin's family, were the most negatively impacted.

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thailand

Liquor and Cigarette Taxes Could Be Raised to Fund Thailand's New Public Broadcaster

The director-general of the Excise Department announced that liquor and cigarette taxes could be raised to help finance a public television project, which will offer commercial-free public service programmes, documentaries, and educational programmes. The cabinet also stated that up to 1.5 percent of revenues gained from liquor and cigarette taxes, or approximately up to two billion baht per year, will be contributed to public telvision.

The director-general of the Excise Department announced that liquor and cigarette taxes could be raised to help finance a public television project, which will offer commercial-free public service programmes, documentaries, and educational programmes. The cabinet also stated that up to 1.5 percent of revenues gained from liquor and cigarette taxes, or approximately up to two billion baht per year, will be contributed to public telvision.

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thailand

Disagreements Between Thailand, Cambodia Prevents Oil Exploration

In the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Cambodia, Chevron has discovered oil, and to the west of this area in the waters between Thailand and Cambodia there is assumed to also be significant reserves. However, unresolved revenue-sharing disputes prevent the exploration of this area. The area is adjacent to a series of Thai fields that have reliably produced large quantities of oil and gas. The Cambodian government has been looking to compromise but Thailand has not eased its demand for the vast majority of the benefit that such resources would bring. Even an agreement favorable to Cambodia would result in 85 percent of the economic benefit going to Thailand.

In the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Cambodia, Chevron has discovered oil, and to the west of this area in the waters between Thailand and Cambodia there is assumed to also be significant reserves. However, unresolved revenue-sharing disputes prevent the exploration of this area. The area is adjacent to a series of Thai fields that have reliably produced large quantities of oil and gas. The Cambodian government has been looking to compromise but Thailand has not eased its demand for the vast majority of the benefit that such resources would bring. Even an agreement favorable to Cambodia would result in 85 percent of the economic benefit going to Thailand.

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thailand

Myanmar, Bangladesh and Thailand Introduce a Trade-boosting Cargo Liner

In an effort to boost maritime trade, Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh will introduce a cargo liner that will stop at major cities in each country. According to Bangladeshi officials, cargo transport will be much more efficient for the three countries. Myanmar and Bangladesh currently have strong bilateral trade, reaching over USD 60 million, but both countries wish to increase it to USD 100 million and believe the cargo liner will provide the means to accomplish this goal.

In an effort to boost maritime trade, Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh will introduce a cargo liner that will stop at major cities in each country. According to Bangladeshi officials, cargo transport will be much more efficient for the three countries. Myanmar and Bangladesh currently have strong bilateral trade, reaching over USD 60 million, but both countries wish to increase it to USD 100 million and believe the cargo liner will provide the means to accomplish this goal.

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thailand

External Risks Might Impact Thailand's Second Half Growth

The governor of the Bank of Thailand stated that global imbalances and increases in oil prices might have an impact on second half growth. Even though the central bank had recently cut interest rates to boost consumer confidence in an effort to promote economic growth in the second half, global imbalances might cause the US dollar to depreciate against the Thai baht, which will lower exports. However, the governor said that investment abroad by local investors will help reduce pressure from the appreciating baht.

The governor of the Bank of Thailand stated that global imbalances and increases in oil prices might have an impact on second half growth. Even though the central bank had recently cut interest rates to boost consumer confidence in an effort to promote economic growth in the second half, global imbalances might cause the US dollar to depreciate against the Thai baht, which will lower exports. However, the governor said that investment abroad by local investors will help reduce pressure from the appreciating baht.

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thailand

Thailand Plans to Build its First Nuclear Power Plant

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) plans to spend USD 6 billion to build the country's first nuclear power plant, which is expected to be completed by 2021. The energy minister pointed out that, as the economy grows, the demand for electricity will also rise, and the price of electricity will increase rapidly in the near future. The nuclear power plant will greatly assist Thailand's efforts to reduce electricity prices and greenhouse gases.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) plans to spend USD 6 billion to build the country's first nuclear power plant, which is expected to be completed by 2021. The energy minister pointed out that, as the economy grows, the demand for electricity will also rise, and the price of electricity will increase rapidly in the near future. The nuclear power plant will greatly assist Thailand's efforts to reduce electricity prices and greenhouse gases.

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thailand

Thailand's Economic Growth Expected to Pick Up in Second Half

The governor of the Bank of Thailand pointed out that economic growth should pick up in the second half of the year due to the recent interest-rate cuts, easing of political tensions, low unemployment, high foreign reserves, and low foreign debt levels. The governor's plan for the second half is to stimulate private investment to catch up with exports, which was the main contributor to economic growth in the first quarter. The governor also urged the government to focus on initiating economic infrastructure projects in an effort to attract more investors.

The governor of the Bank of Thailand pointed out that economic growth should pick up in the second half of the year due to the recent interest-rate cuts, easing of political tensions, low unemployment, high foreign reserves, and low foreign debt levels. The governor's plan for the second half is to stimulate private investment to catch up with exports, which was the main contributor to economic growth in the first quarter. The governor also urged the government to focus on initiating economic infrastructure projects in an effort to attract more investors.

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thailand

EU's Anti-dumping Plan is Trouble for Thai Sweet Corn Industry

The European Union's plan to impose an anti-dumping duty on Thai sweet corn would create trouble for millions of workers and farmers in the industry due to the huge decline of exports to the EU, the largest market for Thai sweet corn. Ponchai Pinvises, Association Vice President and Chairman of the Sweet Corn Processors' Group, urged the Thai government to challenge the EU. Pinvises says the chances of winning such a case are good because European legal advice suggests that the EU action is an unfair trade practice.

The European Union's plan to impose an anti-dumping duty on Thai sweet corn would create trouble for millions of workers and farmers in the industry due to the huge decline of exports to the EU, the largest market for Thai sweet corn. Ponchai Pinvises, Association Vice President and Chairman of the Sweet Corn Processors' Group, urged the Thai government to challenge the EU. Pinvises says the chances of winning such a case are good because European legal advice suggests that the EU action is an unfair trade practice.

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thailand

Thailand Might Lose GSP Privileges from the United States

The US might cut the generalised system of preferences (GSP) privileges to Thailand because of labor abuses and disregard for protecting technology patents. Loss of GSP privileges would have widespread impact on various Thai export industries such as garments, gems, jewelery, seafood, food processing, and shrimp. 42 percent of Thailand's shrimp exports and nearly 30 percent of their jewelry exports are to the US.

The US might cut the generalised system of preferences (GSP) privileges to Thailand because of labor abuses and disregard for protecting technology patents. Loss of GSP privileges would have widespread impact on various Thai export industries such as garments, gems, jewelery, seafood, food processing, and shrimp. 42 percent of Thailand's shrimp exports and nearly 30 percent of their jewelry exports are to the US.

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thailand

Myanmar Cooperates with Asian Neighbors on Hydropower Production

Myanmar is cooperating with neighbors Thailand, China, South Korea, and Bangladesh on hydropower development by initiating a substantial number of hyrdopower programs with these countries. The driving impetus for these cooperative programs comes as a response to serious power shortages in Myanmar. Rich in water resources, Myanmar has great potential for development in the hydropower sector, but more foreign investment is still needed for the sector to develop.

Myanmar is cooperating with neighbors Thailand, China, South Korea, and Bangladesh on hydropower development by initiating a substantial number of hyrdopower programs with these countries. The driving impetus for these cooperative programs comes as a response to serious power shortages in Myanmar. Rich in water resources, Myanmar has great potential for development in the hydropower sector, but more foreign investment is still needed for the sector to develop.

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thailand

Telecom Is New Hope For Thailand's Exports

As more countries such as China, Vietnam, and Malaysia are coming into the electronic-parts market, Thailand, one of the world's largest electronic-parts exporters, is losing its export competitiveness. The Thai government is now looking to expand the telecommunications equipment and components industry with hopes of offsetting the lowered exports of electronic-parts. About 20 small- and medium-sized Korean telecommunications companies will meet next month with local manufacturers in hopes of forging joint ventures.

As more countries such as China, Vietnam, and Malaysia are coming into the electronic-parts market, Thailand, one of the world's largest electronic-parts exporters, is losing its export competitiveness. The Thai government is now looking to expand the telecommunications equipment and components industry with hopes of offsetting the lowered exports of electronic-parts. About 20 small- and medium-sized Korean telecommunications companies will meet next month with local manufacturers in hopes of forging joint ventures.

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thailand

Thailand's Ministry Approves Eco-car Excise Tax Rate

Ministers yesterday approved a 17 percent excise tax rate for eco-cars in an effort to help reduce global warming and boost the country's auto industry. Finance minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said the new excise tax was equivalent to reducing retail prices for buyers by THB 70,000 compared with standard passenger cars. This will increase sales and production, which the Ministry hopes will then lead manufacturers to agree to produce at least 100,000 units per year within five year.

Ministers yesterday approved a 17 percent excise tax rate for eco-cars in an effort to help reduce global warming and boost the country's auto industry. Finance minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said the new excise tax was equivalent to reducing retail prices for buyers by THB 70,000 compared with standard passenger cars. This will increase sales and production, which the Ministry hopes will then lead manufacturers to agree to produce at least 100,000 units per year within five year.

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thailand

Thailand's Stocks Rise on Heavy Foreign Investment

Thai shares yesterday rose 2.8 percent to a high of 775.41, but lowered slightly to close at 770.61 for a 2.21 percent gain. The cause of the rise in Thai stocks might be attributed to the Stock Exchange of Thailand's overseas road show from May 27 to June 3, which led to an increase in foreign investment. Foreign investors are looking forward to the new general election and the unveiling of the elected party's economic policy.

Thai shares yesterday rose 2.8 percent to a high of 775.41, but lowered slightly to close at 770.61 for a 2.21 percent gain. The cause of the rise in Thai stocks might be attributed to the Stock Exchange of Thailand's overseas road show from May 27 to June 3, which led to an increase in foreign investment. Foreign investors are looking forward to the new general election and the unveiling of the elected party's economic policy.

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thailand

Thailand's Exports Remain Strong Through First Quarter

The National Economic and Social Development Board predicts that total exports this year will be USD 144.1 billion, up 12.4 percent year-on-year due to the high demand for Thai exports in major destinations in the first quarter. The current account has a surplus of USD 8.5 billion, 3.6 percent of GDP, up from the previous forecast of USD 3.1 billion. Despite a huge decline in consumer confidence, export and expansionary policies might be the keys to restoring the Thai economy from the recent impact of political uncertainty and high oil prices.

The National Economic and Social Development Board predicts that total exports this year will be USD 144.1 billion, up 12.4 percent year-on-year due to the high demand for Thai exports in major destinations in the first quarter. The current account has a surplus of USD 8.5 billion, 3.6 percent of GDP, up from the previous forecast of USD 3.1 billion. Despite a huge decline in consumer confidence, export and expansionary policies might be the keys to restoring the Thai economy from the recent impact of political uncertainty and high oil prices.

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thailand

Thailand's Inflation Rate Higher in May

Thailand's inflation rate increase to 1.9 percent in May resulted from higher food prices and energy costs. Vegetable and fruit prices increased 13.1 percent and energy costs increased 1.1 percent on a year-on-year basis. If the price of oil continues to rise, it will cause inflation to rise again in the fourth quarter. The Bank of Thailand may have to keep the interest rate unchanged for the rest of the year in order to keep inflation from rising at an even more rapid pace.

Thailand's inflation rate increase to 1.9 percent in May resulted from higher food prices and energy costs. Vegetable and fruit prices increased 13.1 percent and energy costs increased 1.1 percent on a year-on-year basis. If the price of oil continues to rise, it will cause inflation to rise again in the fourth quarter. The Bank of Thailand may have to keep the interest rate unchanged for the rest of the year in order to keep inflation from rising at an even more rapid pace.

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thailand

Thailand's Ministry Fears Growing Household Debt

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister said that the government will not implement policy to stimulate domestic consumption due to the high debt of households. Household debt has increased to THB130,000 per household from THB60,000, a result of previous policies that led to boosts in consumption. Instead, the Thai government will emphasize private investment, which will eventually increase income and spending without increasing consumption.

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister said that the government will not implement policy to stimulate domestic consumption due to the high debt of households. Household debt has increased to THB130,000 per household from THB60,000, a result of previous policies that led to boosts in consumption. Instead, the Thai government will emphasize private investment, which will eventually increase income and spending without increasing consumption.

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thailand

Thailand's Key Indicators Show Positive Signs in April

The senior director for the central bank's Domestic Economy Department said domestic demand in Thailand looked better in April, judging from key indicators. Imports of consumer goods, value-added tax collections, exports, and farm income picked up from the previous month. The manufacturing sector also accelerated in April in line with the petrochemical and electronics sectors.

The senior director for the central bank's Domestic Economy Department said domestic demand in Thailand looked better in April, judging from key indicators. Imports of consumer goods, value-added tax collections, exports, and farm income picked up from the previous month. The manufacturing sector also accelerated in April in line with the petrochemical and electronics sectors.

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Clearer Political Picture a Relief for Thailand's Businessmen

Business sector observers believe that the clearer political picture from the Constitution Tribunal's verdicts on Wednesday, as well as the absence of a violent response, will increase confidence among Thai consumers and investors. On Wedensday, the SET Index gained 1.32 percent to end at 737.40 points. Foreign investors also are looking forward to the new election and the economic policies of the new government, which will be the key to restoring the Thai economy.

Business sector observers believe that the clearer political picture from the Constitution Tribunal's verdicts on Wednesday, as well as the absence of a violent response, will increase confidence among Thai consumers and investors. On Wedensday, the SET Index gained 1.32 percent to end at 737.40 points. Foreign investors also are looking forward to the new election and the economic policies of the new government, which will be the key to restoring the Thai economy.

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Thailand's Banks Cut Loan Targets

Major banks in Thailand, including Siam City Bank, have cut their target for loan growth due to uncertainty surrounding the nation's economic environment. The banks expect the lower target to be attainable as businesses are predicted to increase investment in the next nine months of the year. Some corporate customers are reflecting a positive trend as they have taken out loans for new investment.

Major banks in Thailand, including Siam City Bank, have cut their target for loan growth due to uncertainty surrounding the nation's economic environment. The banks expect the lower target to be attainable as businesses are predicted to increase investment in the next nine months of the year. Some corporate customers are reflecting a positive trend as they have taken out loans for new investment.

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Reducing Tax Rate to Stimulate Thailand's Economy

Aiming to stimulate Thailand's property market, cabinet ministers approved a finance ministry proposal to double existing deduction limits. Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said that, as a result, tax revenues will be reduced by 2.5 billion to 4 billion baht each year. However, he believes that reducing tax rates will help overall economic growth remain on track at 4 percent.

Aiming to stimulate Thailand's property market, cabinet ministers approved a finance ministry proposal to double existing deduction limits. Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said that, as a result, tax revenues will be reduced by 2.5 billion to 4 billion baht each year. However, he believes that reducing tax rates will help overall economic growth remain on track at 4 percent.

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Thailand Plans to Purchase More Electricty from Laos

Thailand and Laos plan to bring their long history of trade exchange into the energy era. Thailand may import additional electricy from Laos after discovering a number of potential hydropower plant projects in Laos. Thailand will benefit from cheaper power and a stable electricity supply.

Thailand and Laos plan to bring their long history of trade exchange into the energy era. Thailand may import additional electricy from Laos after discovering a number of potential hydropower plant projects in Laos. Thailand will benefit from cheaper power and a stable electricity supply.

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thailand

Thailand's Ministry Cuts Its Growth Forecast

The finance ministry cuts its growth forecast from 4 to 4.5 percent to 3.8 to 4.3 percent due to the decline in investment and private consumption related to political uncertainty, continued violence in the southern border provinces, and recent rises in oil prices. An adviser to the Fiscal Policy Office said moves to accelerate spending by government agencies and state enterprises would be critical to improving economic growth this year. The government plans a disbursement target of 93 percent for the THB1.57 trillion fiscal 2007 budget.

The finance ministry cuts its growth forecast from 4 to 4.5 percent to 3.8 to 4.3 percent due to the decline in investment and private consumption related to political uncertainty, continued violence in the southern border provinces, and recent rises in oil prices. An adviser to the Fiscal Policy Office said moves to accelerate spending by government agencies and state enterprises would be critical to improving economic growth this year. The government plans a disbursement target of 93 percent for the THB1.57 trillion fiscal 2007 budget.

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thailand

Laos and Thailand Plan for Increase Trade

Laos and Thailand have a long history of exchanged trade and both sides remain optimistic for future trading. The Thai Embassy's Minister Counsellor for Commerce in Vientiane, Mr Chalaempon Pongchabubnapa, predicts that Laos will have a trade surplus over Thailand in five years. Both nations plan to double their trade values by 2010 and triple the value of Lao exports to Thailand, which includes processed wood, energy, agriculture, and forestry products.

Laos and Thailand have a long history of exchanged trade and both sides remain optimistic for future trading. The Thai Embassy's Minister Counsellor for Commerce in Vientiane, Mr Chalaempon Pongchabubnapa, predicts that Laos will have a trade surplus over Thailand in five years. Both nations plan to double their trade values by 2010 and triple the value of Lao exports to Thailand, which includes processed wood, energy, agriculture, and forestry products.

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thailand

No Pressure on Baht to Rise

The Bank of Thailand noted that there is no pressure for the Thai baht to rise because of the increase in imports from mega-project investments and the foriegn investment fund. The central bank's relaxation of financial institutions' investment abroad would also reduce pressure on the baht to appreciate. However, the baht may be impacted by the continued strengthening of the Chinese yuan.

The Bank of Thailand noted that there is no pressure for the Thai baht to rise because of the increase in imports from mega-project investments and the foriegn investment fund. The central bank's relaxation of financial institutions' investment abroad would also reduce pressure on the baht to appreciate. However, the baht may be impacted by the continued strengthening of the Chinese yuan.

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thailand

Biggest Fall in Thailand's Stocks Since January

Thailand's stocks fell by 1.44 percent yesterday, the biggest fall since January. This may be due to two main factors: the constitution tribunal between political parties and the US former federal reserve chairman's statement on " the dramatic contraction in the Chinese market." Investors also slow down investment in capitalisation stocks including energy, banks, property and contractors because of political uncertainty.

Thailand's stocks fell by 1.44 percent yesterday, the biggest fall since January. This may be due to two main factors: the constitution tribunal between political parties and the US former federal reserve chairman's statement on " the dramatic contraction in the Chinese market." Investors also slow down investment in capitalisation stocks including energy, banks, property and contractors because of political uncertainty.

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Thai Interest Rate Expected To Fall by 50 Basis Points

The financial market anticipates that Thailand's central bank will cut the interest rate by 50 basis points. However, the TMB Bank said that the interest rate will be likely to remain unchanged to foresee the clearer impact on domestic consumption, export, and capital flow. According to the Thailand Bank Governor, Tarisa Watanagase, reducing the interest rate will not put pressure on the Thai baht as the wider trading band of Chinese yuan against the dollar causes capital inflows rather to China than to other Asian countries.

The financial market anticipates that Thailand's central bank will cut the interest rate by 50 basis points. However, the TMB Bank said that the interest rate will be likely to remain unchanged to foresee the clearer impact on domestic consumption, export, and capital flow. According to the Thailand Bank Governor, Tarisa Watanagase, reducing the interest rate will not put pressure on the Thai baht as the wider trading band of Chinese yuan against the dollar causes capital inflows rather to China than to other Asian countries.

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thailand

Thai Rates Cut for Fourth Time This Year

In order to stem a precipitous decline in confidence and spending, Thailand's central bank has cut its one-day bond repurchase rate by 0.5 percent to 3.5 percent, the fourth rate cut of the year. Confidence has been lagging since the September 19 coup with failed attempts at capital controls and increasing popular protesting. With the economy expected to grow at a 6-year low of 3.8 percent, down from 5 percent, the rate cuts are intended to increase output and domestic demand.

In order to stem a precipitous decline in confidence and spending, Thailand's central bank has cut its one-day bond repurchase rate by 0.5 percent to 3.5 percent, the fourth rate cut of the year. Confidence has been lagging since the September 19 coup with failed attempts at capital controls and increasing popular protesting. With the economy expected to grow at a 6-year low of 3.8 percent, down from 5 percent, the rate cuts are intended to increase output and domestic demand.

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thailand

Thai Shares Ride Banking Stocks to Five-Month High

Thailand's benchmark SET Index hit a five-month closing high, gaining by 4.55 points to close at 732.77, a 0.62 percent gain. Banking stocks led the way, with Bangkok Bank PCL climbing by 2.7 percent to 116 baht and Siam Commercial Bank PCL rising 1.5 percent to 68 baht. Analysts were encouraged by the fact that gains were broad-based rather than limited to specific, unsustainable sectors.

Thailand's benchmark SET Index hit a five-month closing high, gaining by 4.55 points to close at 732.77, a 0.62 percent gain. Banking stocks led the way, with Bangkok Bank PCL climbing by 2.7 percent to 116 baht and Siam Commercial Bank PCL rising 1.5 percent to 68 baht. Analysts were encouraged by the fact that gains were broad-based rather than limited to specific, unsustainable sectors.

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India and Thailand Said to Further Tariff Reduction

New negotiations on further tariff reductions between India and Thailand are to be discussed in Phuket later on this month, says Director-General Chutima Bunyaprapasara. The original Thailand-India FTA in 2003 enabled the reduction of tariffs for 82 products, and further negotiations hope to extend that number to more than 5,500. This will assist in the flow of goods between the two nations, most notably in steel, metal, and chemical products, along with auto accessories, gold, and diamonds.

New negotiations on further tariff reductions between India and Thailand are to be discussed in Phuket later on this month, says Director-General Chutima Bunyaprapasara. The original Thailand-India FTA in 2003 enabled the reduction of tariffs for 82 products, and further negotiations hope to extend that number to more than 5,500. This will assist in the flow of goods between the two nations, most notably in steel, metal, and chemical products, along with auto accessories, gold, and diamonds.

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thailand

ILO Urges ASEAN Members to Boost Productivity Growth

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

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thailand

US$4 Billion Investment in Asia Planned by Chevron Corp.

Focusing on petroleum expansion and production in Asia, Chevron Corp. will invest about US$4 billion in a number of Asian nations this year, worth 20 percent of their projected global spending. Chevron's major endeavors include an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia, petroleum production in Indonesia and Thailand, and enhanced exploration drilling in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In addition, Chevron has slated five exploration and production projects in China.

Focusing on petroleum expansion and production in Asia, Chevron Corp. will invest about US$4 billion in a number of Asian nations this year, worth 20 percent of their projected global spending. Chevron's major endeavors include an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia, petroleum production in Indonesia and Thailand, and enhanced exploration drilling in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In addition, Chevron has slated five exploration and production projects in China.

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Thailand Focuses on Skilled Labor and Industrial Land Shortages

After meeting with nearly 40 foreign companies Kosit Panpiemras, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister, has identified two major problems that need to be addressed in order to attract foreign business investment. Companies like Honda and and Fujitsu are hesitant to invest more in their Thailand operations due to Thailand's limited pool of skilled labor and industrial land. Kosit was aware of these issues and is working to develop these shortcomings over the next few years.

After meeting with nearly 40 foreign companies Kosit Panpiemras, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister, has identified two major problems that need to be addressed in order to attract foreign business investment. Companies like Honda and and Fujitsu are hesitant to invest more in their Thailand operations due to Thailand's limited pool of skilled labor and industrial land. Kosit was aware of these issues and is working to develop these shortcomings over the next few years.

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thailand

Uncertain Economic Policy Linked to Slow Down in Thailand's Property Market

During the first four months of this year, the property market in Thailand fell by 20 per cent (Bt10 billion) due to political instability and uncertain economic policy. Thai Condominium Association's president Atip Bijanonda believes that many buyers are delaying their decision because of their lack of confidence in the government's policies.

During the first four months of this year, the property market in Thailand fell by 20 per cent (Bt10 billion) due to political instability and uncertain economic policy. Thai Condominium Association's president Atip Bijanonda believes that many buyers are delaying their decision because of their lack of confidence in the government's policies.

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thailand

Early Rains in India and Thailand May Drive Up Rubber Prices

With early rains presumed to hamper rubber tapping in Thailand and India, output is expected to decline sharply. With such a reduction in global supply, prices are expected to rise even faster than the 48 percent gain that has been realized over the past 6 months. Already trading at 286 yen per kilogram at closing yesterday, rubber is projected to hit 324 yen by the end of June.

With early rains presumed to hamper rubber tapping in Thailand and India, output is expected to decline sharply. With such a reduction in global supply, prices are expected to rise even faster than the 48 percent gain that has been realized over the past 6 months. Already trading at 286 yen per kilogram at closing yesterday, rubber is projected to hit 324 yen by the end of June.

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thailand

Asia Pacific Tourism Boom a Windfall for Thailand

According to a report released by the Asia Pacific Tourism Forecasts, Asia Pacific nations such as Thailand will reap the benefits of over US$100 billion in additional tourism revenues over the next three years. Thailand itself is expected to be one of the largest winners, with projected gains of around US$13 billion by 2009. Inbound tourism in the Asia Pacific region is expected to average growth rates of over 6% per year over this time.

According to a report released by the Asia Pacific Tourism Forecasts, Asia Pacific nations such as Thailand will reap the benefits of over US$100 billion in additional tourism revenues over the next three years. Thailand itself is expected to be one of the largest winners, with projected gains of around US$13 billion by 2009. Inbound tourism in the Asia Pacific region is expected to average growth rates of over 6% per year over this time.

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Thailand's Finance Minister Considers Tax Breaks To Jump Kick Home Sales

In Thailand, a lagging property sector and slowing economy has the finance minister considering tax breaks to encourage home sales. However, Government Housing Bank president Khan Prachuabmoh believes that interest rates are the home buyers' main concern, not taxes. Homeowner tax exemptions are likely to be increased from Bt50,000 to Bt70,000 a year.

In Thailand, a lagging property sector and slowing economy has the finance minister considering tax breaks to encourage home sales. However, Government Housing Bank president Khan Prachuabmoh believes that interest rates are the home buyers' main concern, not taxes. Homeowner tax exemptions are likely to be increased from Bt50,000 to Bt70,000 a year.

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thailand

Populism Hurting Thailand’s Economy

On January 2nd, 2007, Thailand's government declared that it will add restrictions on foreign investors for owning Thai corporations. It struck many foreign investors, especially concerning the situation after a coup in September, 2006. The new policy eliminated incentives for foreign investors to invest in Thai corporations. The more threatening fact for investors, however, is its political turmoil regarding many horrors and coups at the hands of the military. Many coups and acts of horror from religious and regional conflicts have bothered Thailand. For instance, since January, 2004, about 1,900 people have been killed in the southern province by Muslim insurgents, which led many foreign investors to leave the market. Furthermore, Thailand has experienced 19 coups over the past 60 years, though bloodless in nature.

The proposed new law regarding further restrictions on foreign investors is severely problematic because of the economic impact and political implications it will have. The new law has two problems. First, it exempts only U.S corporations, but not European and Japanese corporations. Such a retroactive and discriminative new law increases uncertainty and discontent in the market. Additionally, its oppressive attitude towards foreign investors hurts the credibility of Thailand's economy. The inconsistent change of a new policy by a coup sends incorrect signals to the market.

The government has already seen the results of its policy. The new law fueled the desire of foreign investors to get out of the market because of the violent situation in Thailand. After a military coup, consumers spent less and Thailand faced baht appreciation, which eroded net exports. To handle the situation, the central bank set up capital controls to stop the appreciation of the baht against the U.S dollar in December, 2006. Not only was their effect controversial, but confidence was also undermined. Decreased consumption leads to less expenditure than planned, thus the market may face less investments, resulting in a lower level of output. To fuel the economy, Thailand needed to utilize the monetary policy of cutting interest rates, a step Thailand's central bank actually made. According to Bloomberg News, this is the first time in more than three years.

However, in the long run, cutting interest rates has a limit if Thailand's policy regarding foreign investors does not change. Though the central bank has cut interest rates in the past, it cannot continue to do so forever to keep output. Domestic capital will head towards foreign markets because of the low domestic interest rate. Such a development would deteriorate the situation. In order to prevent it, Thailand needs to attract foreign investors through a friendly attitude towards them and through a stable market.

Nonetheless, it is not easy for Thailand to achieve the above mentioned things. The very root of Thailand's recent anti-foreign capital is populism, which is also the reason for its fragile economy. In Thailand, there has been a conflict between the urban and the rural for a long time. The income inequality is now so severe that the top 20 percent of people in wealth earn an estimated 60 percent of the nation's income. On the contrary, the bottom 20 percent earn less than 5 percent. This situation makes Thailand very susceptible to control by populist politicians.

Thaksin, deposed Prime Minister of Thailand, was also a populist. He grasped the needs of people: increasing income, debt relief, and easy loans for the rural. Yet when he was corrupted, and his policy thrust millions into poverty, his supporters turned away from him. However, the main problem is the procedure itself. If Thailand's people wanted to expel him, they should have done it through democracy and law. Stability of political environment enables foreign investors to predict the future up to a certain degree so that they can stay in the market. Foreign investors are very sensitive to the stability of any political situation in order to avoid risk, because without stability, the market cannot be consistent. Thus, stable communism might be better for investors than instable and fragile democracy, as we can see in the case of China.

Thailand needs to have consistent policies and a stable political system to send a clear signal to foreign investors in the first place, and a pro-foreign capital policy will be a proper path for Thailand to become a healthy and stable economy.


On January 2nd, 2007, Thailand's government declared that it will add restrictions on foreign investors for owning Thai corporations. It struck many foreign investors, especially concerning the situation after a coup in September, 2006. The new policy eliminated incentives for foreign investors to invest in Thai corporations. The more threatening fact for investors, however, is its political turmoil regarding many horrors and coups at the hands of the military. Many coups and acts of horror from religious and regional conflicts have bothered Thailand. For instance, since January, 2004, about 1,900 people have been killed in the southern province by Muslim insurgents, which led many foreign investors to leave the market. Furthermore, Thailand has experienced 19 coups over the past 60 years, though bloodless in nature.

The proposed new law regarding further restrictions on foreign investors is severely problematic because of the economic impact and political implications it will have. The new law has two problems. First, it exempts only U.S corporations, but not European and Japanese corporations. Such a retroactive and discriminative new law increases uncertainty and discontent in the market. Additionally, its oppressive attitude towards foreign investors hurts the credibility of Thailand's economy. The inconsistent change of a new policy by a coup sends incorrect signals to the market.

The government has already seen the results of its policy. The new law fueled the desire of foreign investors to get out of the market because of the violent situation in Thailand. After a military coup, consumers spent less and Thailand faced baht appreciation, which eroded net exports. To handle the situation, the central bank set up capital controls to stop the appreciation of the baht against the U.S dollar in December, 2006. Not only was their effect controversial, but confidence was also undermined. Decreased consumption leads to less expenditure than planned, thus the market may face less investments, resulting in a lower level of output. To fuel the economy, Thailand needed to utilize the monetary policy of cutting interest rates, a step Thailand's central bank actually made. According to Bloomberg News, this is the first time in more than three years.

However, in the long run, cutting interest rates has a limit if Thailand's policy regarding foreign investors does not change. Though the central bank has cut interest rates in the past, it cannot continue to do so forever to keep output. Domestic capital will head towards foreign markets because of the low domestic interest rate. Such a development would deteriorate the situation. In order to prevent it, Thailand needs to attract foreign investors through a friendly attitude towards them and through a stable market.

Nonetheless, it is not easy for Thailand to achieve the above mentioned things. The very root of Thailand's recent anti-foreign capital is populism, which is also the reason for its fragile economy. In Thailand, there has been a conflict between the urban and the rural for a long time. The income inequality is now so severe that the top 20 percent of people in wealth earn an estimated 60 percent of the nation's income. On the contrary, the bottom 20 percent earn less than 5 percent. This situation makes Thailand very susceptible to control by populist politicians.

Thaksin, deposed Prime Minister of Thailand, was also a populist. He grasped the needs of people: increasing income, debt relief, and easy loans for the rural. Yet when he was corrupted, and his policy thrust millions into poverty, his supporters turned away from him. However, the main problem is the procedure itself. If Thailand's people wanted to expel him, they should have done it through democracy and law. Stability of political environment enables foreign investors to predict the future up to a certain degree so that they can stay in the market. Foreign investors are very sensitive to the stability of any political situation in order to avoid risk, because without stability, the market cannot be consistent. Thus, stable communism might be better for investors than instable and fragile democracy, as we can see in the case of China.

Thailand needs to have consistent policies and a stable political system to send a clear signal to foreign investors in the first place, and a pro-foreign capital policy will be a proper path for Thailand to become a healthy and stable economy.


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thailand

Further Interest Rate Cuts Called for in Thailand

Citing a sluggish economy and consistently low inflation, the Thai finance minister has called for the year's fourth reduction in interest rates. Already down to 4%, rates will likely be reduced at the Monetary Policy Committee's meeting on May 23. With a mere 3.8% growth rate expected for 2007, analysts predict that interest rates could fall as low as 3% by the year's end.

Citing a sluggish economy and consistently low inflation, the Thai finance minister has called for the year's fourth reduction in interest rates. Already down to 4%, rates will likely be reduced at the Monetary Policy Committee's meeting on May 23. With a mere 3.8% growth rate expected for 2007, analysts predict that interest rates could fall as low as 3% by the year's end.

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Thailand's Consumer Confidence Falls to New Five-year Low

Influenced by an unclear political and economic outlook, a strong exchange rate, and rising oil prices, Thailand's consumer confidence index goes down to 77.6 points, close to the lowest since April 2002. Therefore, the Bank of Thailand has corrected the nation's economic growth estimate for 2007 from 4.0-5.0 percent to 3.8 percent.

Influenced by an unclear political and economic outlook, a strong exchange rate, and rising oil prices, Thailand's consumer confidence index goes down to 77.6 points, close to the lowest since April 2002. Therefore, the Bank of Thailand has corrected the nation's economic growth estimate for 2007 from 4.0-5.0 percent to 3.8 percent.

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Thai Finance Ministry Approves JBIC Loan

The Thai Finance Ministry has finally decided to secure an Bt84-billion mass transit loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). A team of officials representing Japan's Finance, Foreign and Economy ministries is expected to arrive in Thailand on May 28 to gain information about the mass-transit investment project. Thailand's government plans to borrow 300 billion yen (Bt86.75 billion) from the JBIC to cover approximately 75 per cent of the total Bt120 billion expected budget needed to complete the project.

The Thai Finance Ministry has finally decided to secure an Bt84-billion mass transit loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). A team of officials representing Japan's Finance, Foreign and Economy ministries is expected to arrive in Thailand on May 28 to gain information about the mass-transit investment project. Thailand's government plans to borrow 300 billion yen (Bt86.75 billion) from the JBIC to cover approximately 75 per cent of the total Bt120 billion expected budget needed to complete the project.

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Thailand to Investigate Growing Tariff Concerns

Thai business operators are concerned that, in retaliation to Compulsory Licensing that affects US pharmaceutical companies, the US will cut Thailand's Generalized System of Preference benefits. A cut in GSP benefits would significantly raise tariff costs on exports to the US. The importance of exports to a "battered" Thai economy has prompted the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking to assign various private sector agencies to study and prepare for the potential effects of the loss of GSP benefits.

Thai business operators are concerned that, in retaliation to Compulsory Licensing that affects US pharmaceutical companies, the US will cut Thailand's Generalized System of Preference benefits. A cut in GSP benefits would significantly raise tariff costs on exports to the US. The importance of exports to a "battered" Thai economy has prompted the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking to assign various private sector agencies to study and prepare for the potential effects of the loss of GSP benefits.

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thailand

ADB Reform Questions Produce Tension, Not Answers

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enact reforms after their initial mission of poverty eradication in the region seems to be coming to a close. Richer members argue for a diversification of their interests to environmental preservation and sustainable development, while poorer nations insist that economic development in their countries is no where near finished.

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enact reforms after their initial mission of poverty eradication in the region seems to be coming to a close. Richer members argue for a diversification of their interests to environmental preservation and sustainable development, while poorer nations insist that economic development in their countries is no where near finished.

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thailand

Thailand Tightens Rules on Foreign Businesses

A new retail law was made by Thailand's military-installed government to control the growth of foreign retailers. All new branches of supermarket chains must be approved by local governments under this law. Thailand's government aims to tighten rules on foreign businesses, limiting foreigners to hold no more than 49 per cent of shares or voting rights in Thai owned companies.

A new retail law was made by Thailand's military-installed government to control the growth of foreign retailers. All new branches of supermarket chains must be approved by local governments under this law. Thailand's government aims to tighten rules on foreign businesses, limiting foreigners to hold no more than 49 per cent of shares or voting rights in Thai owned companies.

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ASEAN+3 Agree to Establish Foreign Reserves Pool

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

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thailand

ASEAN-EU Launch Free Trade Negotiations

Free trade negotiations were launched by Southeast Asian states and the European Union. The agreement was made when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson reached an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AESEAN) economic ministers. The ASEAN-EU free trade zone will cover one billion people and will be one of the largest free trade zones in the world.

Free trade negotiations were launched by Southeast Asian states and the European Union. The agreement was made when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson reached an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AESEAN) economic ministers. The ASEAN-EU free trade zone will cover one billion people and will be one of the largest free trade zones in the world.

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thailand

Thailand Launches 44b Baht Loan Package

Thailand launches a 44 billion baht loan package to boost a flagging economy. The loans being issued are aimed to support low-income earners and strengthen economic growth. It is reported that Thailand's economy has been hit by low investor confidence when the military-backed government created currency control rules.

Thailand launches a 44 billion baht loan package to boost a flagging economy. The loans being issued are aimed to support low-income earners and strengthen economic growth. It is reported that Thailand's economy has been hit by low investor confidence when the military-backed government created currency control rules.

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thailand

Thailand's Trade Surplus Reaches New Record in March

The Bank of Thailand reports that the trade surplus grew to $2.2 billion in March compared with $1.12 billion in February. However, because of continued weakness in the economy, the domestic markets were not influenced too much.

The Bank of Thailand reports that the trade surplus grew to $2.2 billion in March compared with $1.12 billion in February. However, because of continued weakness in the economy, the domestic markets were not influenced too much.

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thailand

Asian Financial Chiefs Meet to Discuss Financial Cooperation

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

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thailand

Economic Slowdown in Thailand Affects Employment

Thailand faces signs of unemployment within the manufacturing sector as February's employment numbers only rose by 1.7 per cent, nearly three times lower that January's 5.5 per cent. Unemployment is suspected to hit hard in March's employment numbers, as new graduates enter the job market.

Thailand faces signs of unemployment within the manufacturing sector as February's employment numbers only rose by 1.7 per cent, nearly three times lower that January's 5.5 per cent. Unemployment is suspected to hit hard in March's employment numbers, as new graduates enter the job market.

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thailand

New Asean Body to Reduce Agriculture Risks

Thailand would serve as the center of the Asean Rapid Alert System on Food (RASF) in order to reduce farm and market risks and trade regulations for agricultural goods to member countries' farmers by distributing information on crops, livestock and aquaculture.

Thailand would serve as the center of the Asean Rapid Alert System on Food (RASF) in order to reduce farm and market risks and trade regulations for agricultural goods to member countries' farmers by distributing information on crops, livestock and aquaculture.

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thailand

Thailand's New Hybrid Fruit Hopes To Attract Markets

One million odorless durians saplings are expected to be distributed to farmers by the Department of Agriculture in hopes of breaking the problem of oversupplying as it infiltrates the new market. The creation of the odorless durians will also help facilitate the exporting of fruits to overseas markets.

One million odorless durians saplings are expected to be distributed to farmers by the Department of Agriculture in hopes of breaking the problem of oversupplying as it infiltrates the new market. The creation of the odorless durians will also help facilitate the exporting of fruits to overseas markets.

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thailand

Petronas Rebrands Service Stations in Thailand

Petronas, Malaysia's national oil and gas company, will rebrand its service stations and convenience stores in Thailand in order to improve customized service. Because Petronas is a long-term player in the very competitive Thai market, their plans are to increase the profit margin from both selling petrol and providing services.

Petronas, Malaysia's national oil and gas company, will rebrand its service stations and convenience stores in Thailand in order to improve customized service. Because Petronas is a long-term player in the very competitive Thai market, their plans are to increase the profit margin from both selling petrol and providing services.

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thailand

Banks in Thailand Reduce Minimum Lending Rates (MLR)

The trend of lower interest rates will help Bangkok Bank (BBL) and Siam City Bank (SCIB) with their loan-to-deposit ratios and floating-rate loans. Just recently, banks have reduced their 3 to 24-month deposit rates by 25 to 150 basis points. Additionally, the reduction in the minimum lending rate (MLR), which was cut by a 0.25 percentage point, will affect banks' revenue.

The trend of lower interest rates will help Bangkok Bank (BBL) and Siam City Bank (SCIB) with their loan-to-deposit ratios and floating-rate loans. Just recently, banks have reduced their 3 to 24-month deposit rates by 25 to 150 basis points. Additionally, the reduction in the minimum lending rate (MLR), which was cut by a 0.25 percentage point, will affect banks' revenue.

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thailand

ASEAN Regional Financial System to be Established

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

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thailand

Business Act Amendments Remain Uncertain to Pass in Thailand

Plans to approve the revised amendments for the Foreign Business Act remain uncertain to pass at the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). The Cabinet has approved the new draft of the Foreign Business Law when the Commerce Ministry revised its plans on foreign investment. NLA believes that the amendments may endanger foreign investment and still remain skeptical.

Plans to approve the revised amendments for the Foreign Business Act remain uncertain to pass at the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). The Cabinet has approved the new draft of the Foreign Business Law when the Commerce Ministry revised its plans on foreign investment. NLA believes that the amendments may endanger foreign investment and still remain skeptical.

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thailand

Thailand's Economic Growth Lower than Expectations

The World Bank downgraded its forecast for 2007 Thai economic growth from 4.6% to 4.3% due to low investor confidence. Contributing factors to the lack of confidence are political uncertainty and loose capital reserve requirements. It will be interesting to see how Thailand reacts to this report as their country still remains in political turmoil.

The World Bank downgraded its forecast for 2007 Thai economic growth from 4.6% to 4.3% due to low investor confidence. Contributing factors to the lack of confidence are political uncertainty and loose capital reserve requirements. It will be interesting to see how Thailand reacts to this report as their country still remains in political turmoil.

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thailand

India Invites Thailand to aid in Progress of Northeast

The Minister for Development of Northeastern Region Mani Shankar Aiyar invited Thailand to partake in the regions development. 'I invite them to invest in the road construction process in India's northeast, the terrain of which is very similar to that in Thailand.'

The Minister for Development of Northeastern Region Mani Shankar Aiyar invited Thailand to partake in the regions development. 'I invite them to invest in the road construction process in India's northeast, the terrain of which is very similar to that in Thailand.'

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thailand

Rising Baht Worries Thai Exporters

The Thai currency has been steadily rising for over a year, and its strength is causing some exporters to worry about the future of their businesses. A major rice exporter is quoted as saying he will consider shutting down his operation if the baht reaches 32 to the dollar. The current rate is set at 35 to the dollar. The rising baht has seriously hurt Thailand's international competitiveness, especially in comparison to the emerging economy of Vietnam, which has a stable currency.

The Thai currency has been steadily rising for over a year, and its strength is causing some exporters to worry about the future of their businesses. A major rice exporter is quoted as saying he will consider shutting down his operation if the baht reaches 32 to the dollar. The current rate is set at 35 to the dollar. The rising baht has seriously hurt Thailand's international competitiveness, especially in comparison to the emerging economy of Vietnam, which has a stable currency.

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thailand

Thai Officials Not Worried by Corruption Survey

A recent survey conducted by a Hong Kong based consulting firm ranked Thailand as the second most corrupt country in Asia, just above the Philippines. The Thai response has been to clean up the poor image by working hard at eliminating corruption. Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Panpiemras believes that any investors who believe that Thailand is corrupt already have their minds made up and that Thailand would not benefit from a public relations campaign.

A recent survey conducted by a Hong Kong based consulting firm ranked Thailand as the second most corrupt country in Asia, just above the Philippines. The Thai response has been to clean up the poor image by working hard at eliminating corruption. Deputy Prime Minister Kosit Panpiemras believes that any investors who believe that Thailand is corrupt already have their minds made up and that Thailand would not benefit from a public relations campaign.

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thailand

New Thai Finance Minister Named

Chalongphob Sussangkarn was named the new Finance Minister for Thailand on Wednesday. The move came one week after the last Finance Minister resigned amid much uncertainty in the Thai economy. Thai consumer and investor confidence has been low since currency controls were installed in December that triggered a steep stock market slide. Sussangkarn was an outspoken critic of the controls, most of which will be lifted by March 15.

Chalongphob Sussangkarn was named the new Finance Minister for Thailand on Wednesday. The move came one week after the last Finance Minister resigned amid much uncertainty in the Thai economy. Thai consumer and investor confidence has been low since currency controls were installed in December that triggered a steep stock market slide. Sussangkarn was an outspoken critic of the controls, most of which will be lifted by March 15.

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Indonesian Securities Popular with Foreign Investors

Foreign-owned scripless shares in the Indonesian Stock Market increased by 37.7% in value in 2006. Treasury bill investment by foreigners increased by over 56%. The capital inflows are in large part due to Indonesia's high interest rates and the situation is drawing parallels to recent inflows into Thailand. The Bank of Indonesia is currently considering different options to avoid capital flight.

Foreign-owned scripless shares in the Indonesian Stock Market increased by 37.7% in value in 2006. Treasury bill investment by foreigners increased by over 56%. The capital inflows are in large part due to Indonesia's high interest rates and the situation is drawing parallels to recent inflows into Thailand. The Bank of Indonesia is currently considering different options to avoid capital flight.

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APEC's Free Trade Area Woes

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

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thailand

Asian Markets Fall Again After Rebound

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

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Another Top Thai Economist Gone

Thai Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula has resigned, citing media pressure and rifts in Thailand's government. He has been criticized for a number of policy decisions, including a move to tighten foreign business laws. His departure from the increasingly troubled government comes just a week after that of another senior economic adviser, Somkid Jatusripitak. The government is now being widely criticized for a lack of clear leadership and internal disarray.

Thai Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula has resigned, citing media pressure and rifts in Thailand's government. He has been criticized for a number of policy decisions, including a move to tighten foreign business laws. His departure from the increasingly troubled government comes just a week after that of another senior economic adviser, Somkid Jatusripitak. The government is now being widely criticized for a lack of clear leadership and internal disarray.

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Thailand's Economic Crisis

Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), under the Finance Ministry, has estimated its economic growth for 2007 will decrease by 4-4.5 percent due to a shortage of private consumption and investment. FPO's Policy Research Institute suggested that the government must count on monetary and fiscal polices to stimulate the economy since private investment and consumption tended to decline.

Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), under the Finance Ministry, has estimated its economic growth for 2007 will decrease by 4-4.5 percent due to a shortage of private consumption and investment. FPO's Policy Research Institute suggested that the government must count on monetary and fiscal polices to stimulate the economy since private investment and consumption tended to decline.

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The State of Labor Migration in Southeast Asia

The migration of people to other countries in search of employment has occurred throughout history, and is by no means a new occurrence. This phenomenon has become especially prevalent in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines for instance, human resources is the main export. In year 2000, more than 1 million Filipinos left home to seek work abroad as sailors, maids, nurses, and in other low-paying jobs.1 More and more South-east Asians have become wandering workers, moving out of their countries to work for their better-off neighbors.

The Case of the Philippines

Many overseas workers eventually return to their home countries—but not before sending home substantial sums. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for over 10% of its GDP, enough to compensate for the opportunity cost of having over 8 million of its best and brightest workers abroad. From January to November of 2006, remittances summed to $11.4 billion, up 18% from the same period during 2005.2 This does not include the wads of cash returning in workers' luggage. Although poverty and unemployment are still a source of serious concern in the Philippines and many other labor-exporting countries, their situation would be far worse if the outflow of bodies and immense inflow of capital did not occur.

Labor Migration in South East Asia

Out of the ten ASEAN countries, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia export labor while Singapore and Brunei import it. The UN's International Labor Organization believes that the total labor force of the worker exporting countries should grow by about a third within the next ten years. However, labor migration, both legal and illegal, is growing twice as fast. A 2005 study estimated that over 8.4 million Southeast Asians worked outside their home country.3 This figure fails to include the large number of illegal and undocumented workers. To combat the growing problem of illegal and undocumented workers, the leaders of ASEAN met on January 13th and signed an agreement to aid and regulate migrant workers. Although the agreement is full of loopholes, it is a first step for governments to guarantee workers' rights and welfare services.4

Negative Reception by the Locals

Labor-importing nations are terrified that attempts to improve immigrant circumstances will only encourage more masses to enter their countries. Competition for jobs is creating a negative response to the establishment of welfare structures for immigrant workers in these nations. Malaysians believe that foreign workers have worsened crime rates. Additionally, over 59% of Thais believe that their government should stop admitting foreign workers, and even in Singapore, over half of the population opposes more foreign workers.5

Conclusion

Opinions might change if the public receives a more balanced picture of the pros and cons of importing labor to do the jobs that none of the locals would ever consider taking. Locals need to realize that their economies are dependent on the foreign workers for stability. These large migrations should not be thought of as a transient or temporary phenomenon. Labor receiving countries should attempt to formulate a suitable migration policy based on longer run considerations of their labor market needs and the basic human rights of migrant workers rather than ad hoc decisions. Incentives and taxes may be levied on enterprises to discourage the perpetuation of unproductive non-competitive industries based on cheap unskilled foreign workers. At the same time, migrant-exporting countries should attempt to reduce undue dependence on overseas employment through efforts to reduce labor-outflow pressure at home. It is a delicate balance that Southeast Asia has yet to strike.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

The migration of people to other countries in search of employment has occurred throughout history, and is by no means a new occurrence. This phenomenon has become especially prevalent in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines for instance, human resources is the main export. In year 2000, more than 1 million Filipinos left home to seek work abroad as sailors, maids, nurses, and in other low-paying jobs.1 More and more South-east Asians have become wandering workers, moving out of their countries to work for their better-off neighbors.

The Case of the Philippines

Many overseas workers eventually return to their home countries—but not before sending home substantial sums. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for over 10% of its GDP, enough to compensate for the opportunity cost of having over 8 million of its best and brightest workers abroad. From January to November of 2006, remittances summed to $11.4 billion, up 18% from the same period during 2005.2 This does not include the wads of cash returning in workers' luggage. Although poverty and unemployment are still a source of serious concern in the Philippines and many other labor-exporting countries, their situation would be far worse if the outflow of bodies and immense inflow of capital did not occur.

Labor Migration in South East Asia

Out of the ten ASEAN countries, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia export labor while Singapore and Brunei import it. The UN's International Labor Organization believes that the total labor force of the worker exporting countries should grow by about a third within the next ten years. However, labor migration, both legal and illegal, is growing twice as fast. A 2005 study estimated that over 8.4 million Southeast Asians worked outside their home country.3 This figure fails to include the large number of illegal and undocumented workers. To combat the growing problem of illegal and undocumented workers, the leaders of ASEAN met on January 13th and signed an agreement to aid and regulate migrant workers. Although the agreement is full of loopholes, it is a first step for governments to guarantee workers' rights and welfare services.4

Negative Reception by the Locals

Labor-importing nations are terrified that attempts to improve immigrant circumstances will only encourage more masses to enter their countries. Competition for jobs is creating a negative response to the establishment of welfare structures for immigrant workers in these nations. Malaysians believe that foreign workers have worsened crime rates. Additionally, over 59% of Thais believe that their government should stop admitting foreign workers, and even in Singapore, over half of the population opposes more foreign workers.5

Conclusion

Opinions might change if the public receives a more balanced picture of the pros and cons of importing labor to do the jobs that none of the locals would ever consider taking. Locals need to realize that their economies are dependent on the foreign workers for stability. These large migrations should not be thought of as a transient or temporary phenomenon. Labor receiving countries should attempt to formulate a suitable migration policy based on longer run considerations of their labor market needs and the basic human rights of migrant workers rather than ad hoc decisions. Incentives and taxes may be levied on enterprises to discourage the perpetuation of unproductive non-competitive industries based on cheap unskilled foreign workers. At the same time, migrant-exporting countries should attempt to reduce undue dependence on overseas employment through efforts to reduce labor-outflow pressure at home. It is a delicate balance that Southeast Asia has yet to strike.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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thailand

Thai Baht Gains Value, Thailand Loses Exports

Over the past several years, the Thai baht has been gaining strength against the US dollar. The baht is reaching highs that have not been seen since the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Recently, the baht has traded at 33 to the US dollar.1 This appreciation has a direct effect on exports, which account for about 60 percent of the Thai economy.2 This is a concern to those in power, and corrective measures have been taken, though nothing has yet made a difference.

What Happened?

The root of the currency appreciation is thousands of miles away, in the United States. The US dollar has been weakening over the past several years, just as the baht has been gaining strength. The end of 2006 proved to be especially difficult for the US economy. Net capital inflows to the US dropped from 84.9 billion in November to 15.6 billion in December.3

As the prospect of a domestic recession looms in the minds of American investors, Thailand glows with investment possibilities. As the US economy suffered, capital moved from the US to Thailand, where the economic prospects were brighter.4 This rush of new capital into the economy drove up the value of baht.

The Effect on Exports

Thailand's neighbor countries have also seen the appreciation of their currencies, but not at the same level. In the past year Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Malaysia have gained a slight edge on Thailand in the export market due to the strengthening of baht.5

Thai baht appreciation poses a serious concern to Thailand's competitiveness as an exporter. As exports play a big part in Thailand's GDP, a significant drop in exports would be a major blow. As it is, experts fear that the appreciation of baht, paired with economic slowdowns in major trading partners will prevent Thailand from reaching its export goal of US $145.22 billion in 2007.6 Fears about exports added to the prediction of an economic slowdown of 0.5 percent for Thailand in 2007.7

Measures Taken

To reduce the amount of foreign capital coming into Thailand, the Bank of Thailand introduced capital controls in December 2006. Unfortunately, this also had an effect on the Thai stock market, resulting in the biggest one-day drop in Thai history.8 The capital controls were lifted shortly after. Experts say that despite this failure, the bank of Thailand is capable of helping the baht. If interest rates were cut, for instance, it may reduce pressure on the baht by reducing the gap with foreign rates.9

The government is offering a solution of its own. Because the country is taking in more foreign capital than it can absorb, the government is suggesting a new approach called the sufficiency economy philosophy.10 Under this scheme, Thailand would become less reliant on exports. Companies would invest in human resources, research and development, and long-term business goals.11 Through this scheme, Thailand's economy would develop without using exports and foreign capital as a foundation.

The rise of the baht is changing the Thai economy. Either the central bank will have to step in and adjust interest rates to keep Thailand competitive on the export market, or the very structure of the economy will need to adopt to policies that are less export-based. Currently, no policies have been able to stop the baht from appreciating. This seemingly unstoppable force may be something that Thailand has to learn to live with and work around.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

Over the past several years, the Thai baht has been gaining strength against the US dollar. The baht is reaching highs that have not been seen since the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Recently, the baht has traded at 33 to the US dollar.1 This appreciation has a direct effect on exports, which account for about 60 percent of the Thai economy.2 This is a concern to those in power, and corrective measures have been taken, though nothing has yet made a difference.

What Happened?

The root of the currency appreciation is thousands of miles away, in the United States. The US dollar has been weakening over the past several years, just as the baht has been gaining strength. The end of 2006 proved to be especially difficult for the US economy. Net capital inflows to the US dropped from 84.9 billion in November to 15.6 billion in December.3

As the prospect of a domestic recession looms in the minds of American investors, Thailand glows with investment possibilities. As the US economy suffered, capital moved from the US to Thailand, where the economic prospects were brighter.4 This rush of new capital into the economy drove up the value of baht.

The Effect on Exports

Thailand's neighbor countries have also seen the appreciation of their currencies, but not at the same level. In the past year Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Malaysia have gained a slight edge on Thailand in the export market due to the strengthening of baht.5

Thai baht appreciation poses a serious concern to Thailand's competitiveness as an exporter. As exports play a big part in Thailand's GDP, a significant drop in exports would be a major blow. As it is, experts fear that the appreciation of baht, paired with economic slowdowns in major trading partners will prevent Thailand from reaching its export goal of US $145.22 billion in 2007.6 Fears about exports added to the prediction of an economic slowdown of 0.5 percent for Thailand in 2007.7

Measures Taken

To reduce the amount of foreign capital coming into Thailand, the Bank of Thailand introduced capital controls in December 2006. Unfortunately, this also had an effect on the Thai stock market, resulting in the biggest one-day drop in Thai history.8 The capital controls were lifted shortly after. Experts say that despite this failure, the bank of Thailand is capable of helping the baht. If interest rates were cut, for instance, it may reduce pressure on the baht by reducing the gap with foreign rates.9

The government is offering a solution of its own. Because the country is taking in more foreign capital than it can absorb, the government is suggesting a new approach called the sufficiency economy philosophy.10 Under this scheme, Thailand would become less reliant on exports. Companies would invest in human resources, research and development, and long-term business goals.11 Through this scheme, Thailand's economy would develop without using exports and foreign capital as a foundation.

The rise of the baht is changing the Thai economy. Either the central bank will have to step in and adjust interest rates to keep Thailand competitive on the export market, or the very structure of the economy will need to adopt to policies that are less export-based. Currently, no policies have been able to stop the baht from appreciating. This seemingly unstoppable force may be something that Thailand has to learn to live with and work around.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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The Asian Stock Markets: Boom or Bust?

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

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The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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thailand

Thai Capital Controls to Decrease

The Central Bank of Thailand announced that previously imposed capital controls will be loosened in the near future in order to increase investment. The controls, which required a percentage of funds coming into the country to be set aside in accounts at the Central Bank, were credited with causing the stock market to plummet 15% when they were implemented in December. The moves were made originally to slow the increasing value of the Baht, which was hurting exports.

The Central Bank of Thailand announced that previously imposed capital controls will be loosened in the near future in order to increase investment. The controls, which required a percentage of funds coming into the country to be set aside in accounts at the Central Bank, were credited with causing the stock market to plummet 15% when they were implemented in December. The moves were made originally to slow the increasing value of the Baht, which was hurting exports.

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thailand

TAFTA Increases Trade Between Thaliand, Australia

The Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which has been in place since 2005, helped Thailand produce a surplus of 35.11 billion baht in trade with Australia last year. The pact promises low tariffs on goods traded between the countries. Major Thai exports to Australia include cars, steel and jewelery. Major Thai imports from Australia include crude oil, diamonds and gold. TAFTA also encourages investment in certiain sectors, such as textiles, steel and metal products, and electronics and parts. In 2006, Australian investment in Thailand increased 1.81 billion baht.

The Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which has been in place since 2005, helped Thailand produce a surplus of 35.11 billion baht in trade with Australia last year. The pact promises low tariffs on goods traded between the countries. Major Thai exports to Australia include cars, steel and jewelery. Major Thai imports from Australia include crude oil, diamonds and gold. TAFTA also encourages investment in certiain sectors, such as textiles, steel and metal products, and electronics and parts. In 2006, Australian investment in Thailand increased 1.81 billion baht.

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thailand

Thai Economic Advisor Resigns

Somkid Jatusripitak, Thailand's new Economic Adviser, resigned less than a week into his job of explaining Thailand's new "sufficiency economy" policy. He said his resignation was in the country's best interests. The Thai government has had trouble explaining to foreign investors its vision for a more nationalistic and protectionist economy. Somkid's resignation has lead to concerns about the management of the country's economy, as well as its future after a recent coup.

Somkid Jatusripitak, Thailand's new Economic Adviser, resigned less than a week into his job of explaining Thailand's new "sufficiency economy" policy. He said his resignation was in the country's best interests. The Thai government has had trouble explaining to foreign investors its vision for a more nationalistic and protectionist economy. Somkid's resignation has lead to concerns about the management of the country's economy, as well as its future after a recent coup.

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thailand

Japan, Thailand FTA Hits Snag

A proposed free trade agreement between Japan and Thailand hit a snag over provisions that would allow Japan to dump toxic waste in Thailand. The measure was met with widespread protest throughout the country. The embattled Thai government was pushing hard for the FTA in hopes of increasing Japanese FDI and improving the Thai trade reputation which has been soured by recent policy moves.

A proposed free trade agreement between Japan and Thailand hit a snag over provisions that would allow Japan to dump toxic waste in Thailand. The measure was met with widespread protest throughout the country. The embattled Thai government was pushing hard for the FTA in hopes of increasing Japanese FDI and improving the Thai trade reputation which has been soured by recent policy moves.

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thailand

Asian Markets Close with Mixed Results

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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thailand

Thailand, Malaysia hope to Improve Border Security, Economic Cooperation

Thai PM Surayud Chulanont met with Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmed Badawi to Discuss the 3-year-old seperatist conflict along the border between southern Thailand and Malaysia. "A peaceful and secure environment is crucial to the economic development and prosperity for these areas," Surayud told reporters. Both Leaders expressed desire to improve conditions, though no concrete plans were made.

Thai PM Surayud Chulanont met with Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmed Badawi to Discuss the 3-year-old seperatist conflict along the border between southern Thailand and Malaysia. "A peaceful and secure environment is crucial to the economic development and prosperity for these areas," Surayud told reporters. Both Leaders expressed desire to improve conditions, though no concrete plans were made.

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thailand

Thai Government Disappoints Economic Experts, Investors

Thailand's economic and financial experts, business people, and investors gave their opinions of the current Surayud government in a recent poll. Most ranked the new government very poorly, the average grade being a "C". Most cited the lack of accomplishments in improving the country as the reason for a poor grade. Some protested the low grades and explained that five months is too short a time to accurately judge the accomplishments of the government. These experts remained optimistic that given more time, the Surayud government can make a positive difference in Thailand. Thai Baht appreciation and continued military rule continue to worry foreign investors and economists.

Thailand's economic and financial experts, business people, and investors gave their opinions of the current Surayud government in a recent poll. Most ranked the new government very poorly, the average grade being a "C". Most cited the lack of accomplishments in improving the country as the reason for a poor grade. Some protested the low grades and explained that five months is too short a time to accurately judge the accomplishments of the government. These experts remained optimistic that given more time, the Surayud government can make a positive difference in Thailand. Thai Baht appreciation and continued military rule continue to worry foreign investors and economists.

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thailand

The Indian Retail Revolution

GOOD TIMES lie ahead for the retailers in India. The Indian retail sector is poised for ‘big-bang' growth in the foreseeable future, after some recent initiatives undertaken by the government to open up the sector to foreign players. And with a large number of domestic and foreign players namely Reliance Retail, the Bharti-Wal-Mart combine, AV Birla Group, Future group, Tesco's and Carrefour all set to announce some really aggressive plans for their eventual entry into the sector, things just could not have gotten any better in the country. However, retailers must surmount several obstacles in order for the sector to successfully embark on the path towards tangible reforms and growth.

Ready for Growth
Analysts consider India's retail business one of the most attractive in the world. Consumer demand is booming as the government's liberalizing policies have produced 8-9 percent annual GDP growth. Technopak, a Delhi-based retail consultancy, expects retail sales of $250-300 billion now to rise to nearly $430 billion by 2010.1 Also the retail industry is the largest provider of jobs after agriculture, accounting for 6-7 percent of employment and about 10 percent of GDP.2

Currently India lags behind other Asian countries like China, Thailand and South Korea where the organized retail sector has a much greater percentage share of the total business carried out in those nations. This is in stark contrast to India, where of the approximately 98 percent "traditional retailing" taking place, most of the business is being handled by the mom-and-pop kirana stores.3 These stores suffer from some severe limitations, namely the small size of their operations, low-cost format and the widespread under-reporting of business transactions resulting in tax evasion. Additionally, the Indian retail sector suffers from limited access to capital, labor and suitable real estate options. 4 Technopak estimates that over the next four years, organized retail in India will receive investments in excess of $25 billion from 40 players.5 The primary advantages of organized retailing is that retailers are able to leverage their massive size and well-established supply chains in order to deliver a variety of choice at competitive prices to the consumer.

Major Constraints
Things, however, are not as rosy as they appear. Some believe that the retail sector should be kept shut since an influx of foreign supermarket chains would wipe out the millions of small shops presently dominating the retail landscape. This potential loss in jobs has invited the ire of the Communist parties who want to protect the interests of the small traders and local shopkeepers. Since the government relies on the votes of these Communist parties for its parliamentary majority, implementing the reforms in the retail sector has become somewhat tricky. Other problems acting as potential stumbling blocks in the growth of organized retailing include poor infrastructure, land grabs, the massive red tapism prevalent in the bureaucracy and labor disputes. All of these legal, infrastructural, cultural and educational constraints would have to be overcome if the sector truly aspires to achieve the kind of growth it envisages for itself.

Retail Rolls On
Just recently, the Commerce and Industries Minister Kamal Nath said that the government is considering opening up retail sector for multi brand specialty formats like consumer electronics, sports goods, building and construction equipment and stationery. The move follows last year's decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retail outlets.6 Big players like Reliance Retail have already seized the opportunity and have announced plans to open approximately 5000 shops across India over the next five years. The government has received FDI proposals for single brand outlets from companies like Starbucks, Lee Cooper and Argentina's Rino Jreggio but has yet to decide on these proposals.7 Despite setback, analysts estimate Indian retailing will grow about 37 percent in 2007 and 42 percent in 2008.8 If this is the case, the government will be forced to open up even further after of the current spate of reforms are underway.

Winners and losers
Indian consumers can expect to benefit enormously from the influx of foreign competition in the retail sector. Not only would they have access to a vast array superior quality of products at extremely affordable prices from competing producers all over the globe. However, millions of small store-owners are terrified of the onslaught from giant domestic and foreign retailers and fear being driven out of business. The government must take strong steps to ensure that consumer's and big retailer's huge gains do not result in the ultimate demise of the kirana stores, which have been a staple feature of India's retail landscape since time immemorial.

GOOD TIMES lie ahead for the retailers in India. The Indian retail sector is poised for ‘big-bang' growth in the foreseeable future, after some recent initiatives undertaken by the government to open up the sector to foreign players. And with a large number of domestic and foreign players namely Reliance Retail, the Bharti-Wal-Mart combine, AV Birla Group, Future group, Tesco's and Carrefour all set to announce some really aggressive plans for their eventual entry into the sector, things just could not have gotten any better in the country. However, retailers must surmount several obstacles in order for the sector to successfully embark on the path towards tangible reforms and growth.

Ready for Growth
Analysts consider India's retail business one of the most attractive in the world. Consumer demand is booming as the government's liberalizing policies have produced 8-9 percent annual GDP growth. Technopak, a Delhi-based retail consultancy, expects retail sales of $250-300 billion now to rise to nearly $430 billion by 2010.1 Also the retail industry is the largest provider of jobs after agriculture, accounting for 6-7 percent of employment and about 10 percent of GDP.2

Currently India lags behind other Asian countries like China, Thailand and South Korea where the organized retail sector has a much greater percentage share of the total business carried out in those nations. This is in stark contrast to India, where of the approximately 98 percent "traditional retailing" taking place, most of the business is being handled by the mom-and-pop kirana stores.3 These stores suffer from some severe limitations, namely the small size of their operations, low-cost format and the widespread under-reporting of business transactions resulting in tax evasion. Additionally, the Indian retail sector suffers from limited access to capital, labor and suitable real estate options. 4 Technopak estimates that over the next four years, organized retail in India will receive investments in excess of $25 billion from 40 players.5 The primary advantages of organized retailing is that retailers are able to leverage their massive size and well-established supply chains in order to deliver a variety of choice at competitive prices to the consumer.

Major Constraints
Things, however, are not as rosy as they appear. Some believe that the retail sector should be kept shut since an influx of foreign supermarket chains would wipe out the millions of small shops presently dominating the retail landscape. This potential loss in jobs has invited the ire of the Communist parties who want to protect the interests of the small traders and local shopkeepers. Since the government relies on the votes of these Communist parties for its parliamentary majority, implementing the reforms in the retail sector has become somewhat tricky. Other problems acting as potential stumbling blocks in the growth of organized retailing include poor infrastructure, land grabs, the massive red tapism prevalent in the bureaucracy and labor disputes. All of these legal, infrastructural, cultural and educational constraints would have to be overcome if the sector truly aspires to achieve the kind of growth it envisages for itself.

Retail Rolls On
Just recently, the Commerce and Industries Minister Kamal Nath said that the government is considering opening up retail sector for multi brand specialty formats like consumer electronics, sports goods, building and construction equipment and stationery. The move follows last year's decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retail outlets.6 Big players like Reliance Retail have already seized the opportunity and have announced plans to open approximately 5000 shops across India over the next five years. The government has received FDI proposals for single brand outlets from companies like Starbucks, Lee Cooper and Argentina's Rino Jreggio but has yet to decide on these proposals.7 Despite setback, analysts estimate Indian retailing will grow about 37 percent in 2007 and 42 percent in 2008.8 If this is the case, the government will be forced to open up even further after of the current spate of reforms are underway.

Winners and losers
Indian consumers can expect to benefit enormously from the influx of foreign competition in the retail sector. Not only would they have access to a vast array superior quality of products at extremely affordable prices from competing producers all over the globe. However, millions of small store-owners are terrified of the onslaught from giant domestic and foreign retailers and fear being driven out of business. The government must take strong steps to ensure that consumer's and big retailer's huge gains do not result in the ultimate demise of the kirana stores, which have been a staple feature of India's retail landscape since time immemorial.

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thailand

New Economic Reforms for Thailand

The Thai government, lead by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, has said his country will go through a "year of great reforms" in order to establish a new system entitled the "sufficiency economy." The main focus of this system is to find a way to sustain economic development for the long-term. Though it clashes with the Western economic philosophy of short-term maximum profits, the "sufficiency economy" may prove to be a good response to the long-term decline of the US dollar and economy, which will most definitely draw the interest of other Asian economic markets.

The Thai government, lead by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, has said his country will go through a "year of great reforms" in order to establish a new system entitled the "sufficiency economy." The main focus of this system is to find a way to sustain economic development for the long-term. Though it clashes with the Western economic philosophy of short-term maximum profits, the "sufficiency economy" may prove to be a good response to the long-term decline of the US dollar and economy, which will most definitely draw the interest of other Asian economic markets.

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thailand

Expectations for Thai Growth Scaled Back

Thailand's Kasikorn Research Center scaled back its expectations for economic growth in 2007. Predictions dropped 0.5% -- from 4-5% growth down to 3.5-4.5%. Lowered expectations are based on political instability and the appreciation of the Baht. The strengthening of the currency may lead to a drop in exports which account for 60% of Thailand's economy. Optimists hope interest rate cuts paired with on-schedule general elections will revive the Thai economy.

Thailand's Kasikorn Research Center scaled back its expectations for economic growth in 2007. Predictions dropped 0.5% -- from 4-5% growth down to 3.5-4.5%. Lowered expectations are based on political instability and the appreciation of the Baht. The strengthening of the currency may lead to a drop in exports which account for 60% of Thailand's economy. Optimists hope interest rate cuts paired with on-schedule general elections will revive the Thai economy.

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thailand

Emerging Asia’s Growth and Integration - How Autonomous are Business Cycles?

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

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thailand

Exchange Rate Pass-Through in ASEAN: Implications for the Prospects of Monetary Integration in the Region

This paper investigates, for the first time, the degree of exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices in all five founding members of ASEAN. For this purpose, a three variable recursive VAR model was applied which uses the Choleski decomposition method along the distribution chain of pricing, using data for the period 1968 to 2001. The results show that a strong case for entering a currency union can only be made for the cases of Singapore and Malaysia as in these countries there appears to be a case of exchange rate disconnect. A case for a common currency can also be made for Indonesia but for entirely different reasons. For this country, an independent monetary policy is a clear source of shocks to the economy and therefore a currency union would tend to eliminate then. A weaker case for a common currency can be made for the Philippines as evidence of some exchange rate pass-through to inflation was found but not to import prices. Finally, Thailand exhibits a clear case of exchange rate pass-through to import prices (but not to inflation) and thus evidence that a flexible exchange rate might be preferable as it provides the means to improve the country's price competitiveness.

This paper investigates, for the first time, the degree of exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices in all five founding members of ASEAN. For this purpose, a three variable recursive VAR model was applied which uses the Choleski decomposition method along the distribution chain of pricing, using data for the period 1968 to 2001. The results show that a strong case for entering a currency union can only be made for the cases of Singapore and Malaysia as in these countries there appears to be a case of exchange rate disconnect. A case for a common currency can also be made for Indonesia but for entirely different reasons. For this country, an independent monetary policy is a clear source of shocks to the economy and therefore a currency union would tend to eliminate then. A weaker case for a common currency can be made for the Philippines as evidence of some exchange rate pass-through to inflation was found but not to import prices. Finally, Thailand exhibits a clear case of exchange rate pass-through to import prices (but not to inflation) and thus evidence that a flexible exchange rate might be preferable as it provides the means to improve the country's price competitiveness.

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thailand

Currency Futures Volatility During the 1997 East Asian Crisis: An Application of Fourier Analysis

We analyze a recently proposed method to estimate volatility and correlation when prices are observed at a high frequency rate. The method is based on Fourier analysis and does not require any data manipulation, leading to more robust estimates than the traditional methodologies proposed so far. In the first part of the paper, we evaluate the performance of the Fourier algorithm to reconstruct the time volatility of simulated univariate and bivariate models. In the second part, the Fourier method is used to investigate the volatility and correlation dynamics of futures markets over the Asian crisis period, with the purpose of detecting possible interdependencies and volatility transmissions across countries amid a period of financial turmoil.

We analyze a recently proposed method to estimate volatility and correlation when prices are observed at a high frequency rate. The method is based on Fourier analysis and does not require any data manipulation, leading to more robust estimates than the traditional methodologies proposed so far. In the first part of the paper, we evaluate the performance of the Fourier algorithm to reconstruct the time volatility of simulated univariate and bivariate models. In the second part, the Fourier method is used to investigate the volatility and correlation dynamics of futures markets over the Asian crisis period, with the purpose of detecting possible interdependencies and volatility transmissions across countries amid a period of financial turmoil.

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thailand

Progress toward a Common Currency Basket System in East Asia

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

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thailand

Thailand Seen as Unfavorable Investment to Japanese

In a recent poll of Japanese businessmen, Thailand was viewed as the least favorable of five ASEAN nations (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines) for investment. This negative perception has been attributed to political instability, Baht appreciation, rising prices, inflation and interest rates. According to the survey, Japanese investment in the Thai manufacturing sector is expected to drop 26.5% from last year. Despite this, Thailand remains optomistic that compatible cultures and Thai hospitality will continue to attract Japanese investors.

In a recent poll of Japanese businessmen, Thailand was viewed as the least favorable of five ASEAN nations (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines) for investment. This negative perception has been attributed to political instability, Baht appreciation, rising prices, inflation and interest rates. According to the survey, Japanese investment in the Thai manufacturing sector is expected to drop 26.5% from last year. Despite this, Thailand remains optomistic that compatible cultures and Thai hospitality will continue to attract Japanese investors.

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thailand

Bank of Thailand Relaxes Reserve Requirement

Thai corporations can now store their foreign currencies in Thai banks, without being subject to the 30 per cent withholding. If their local proceeds are not urgent, the Thai corporations can park up to 50,000,000 US Dollars (equivalent to 1.8 billion Baht) in foreign currency deposits at local Thai banks.

Thai corporations can now store their foreign currencies in Thai banks, without being subject to the 30 per cent withholding. If their local proceeds are not urgent, the Thai corporations can park up to 50,000,000 US Dollars (equivalent to 1.8 billion Baht) in foreign currency deposits at local Thai banks.

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thailand

The Bank of Thailand Reduces its Benchmark Interest Rate

For the first time since August of 2004, the Bank of Thailand cut its benchmark interest rate. The Monetary Policy Committee(PMC) reduced the benchmark one-day repurchase rate from 4.9375 % to 4.75 %. Despite the growth in exports, the PMC decided to implement this reduction policy due to the weakening domestic demand from previous months.

For the first time since August of 2004, the Bank of Thailand cut its benchmark interest rate. The Monetary Policy Committee(PMC) reduced the benchmark one-day repurchase rate from 4.9375 % to 4.75 %. Despite the growth in exports, the PMC decided to implement this reduction policy due to the weakening domestic demand from previous months.

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thailand

Thailand to Reiterate the Openness of its Economy

Thailand remains open to foreign investors and committed to implementing structural reforms aimed at long-term sustainable growth, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told foreign investors yesterday. This comes weeks after excessive currency investment controls caused Thailand's largest market crash in 31 years.

Thailand remains open to foreign investors and committed to implementing structural reforms aimed at long-term sustainable growth, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told foreign investors yesterday. This comes weeks after excessive currency investment controls caused Thailand's largest market crash in 31 years.

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thailand

Harnessing the Private Sector for Rural Development, Poverty Alleviation and HIV/Aids Prevention

In resource-constrained developing countries, mobilizing resources from outside sources may assist in overcoming many development challenges. This paper examines the Thai Business Initiative in Rural Development (TBIRD), an NGO-sponsored program that brings together the comparative advantages and self-interest of rural villages, private sector firms and a facilitating NGO, to improve social and community health outcomes in rural areas. We analyze key issues in the program with data from Northeast Thailand. We find that the TBIRD program appears to improve the income earning and other prospects of the TBIRD factory workers. Further, TBIRD factory employment exhibits a pro-poor bias. A key impact is to provide jobs for people who might otherwise be at increased risk of HIV infection through poverty-induced decisions to migrate to urban centres and participate in the commercial sex industry. This program adds another important tool for development planners in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In resource-constrained developing countries, mobilizing resources from outside sources may assist in overcoming many development challenges. This paper examines the Thai Business Initiative in Rural Development (TBIRD), an NGO-sponsored program that brings together the comparative advantages and self-interest of rural villages, private sector firms and a facilitating NGO, to improve social and community health outcomes in rural areas. We analyze key issues in the program with data from Northeast Thailand. We find that the TBIRD program appears to improve the income earning and other prospects of the TBIRD factory workers. Further, TBIRD factory employment exhibits a pro-poor bias. A key impact is to provide jobs for people who might otherwise be at increased risk of HIV infection through poverty-induced decisions to migrate to urban centres and participate in the commercial sex industry. This program adds another important tool for development planners in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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thailand

Thailand Improves Investment Incentives in Energy Sector

Thailand is amending its Petroleum Act of 1971 to improve incentives for investment. These amendments would give a 90% reduction of royalty fees on unproductive petroleum fields. Krairit Nilkuha, the director-general of the Deparment of Mineral Fuels, explained that the motivation behind these new incentives is to improve the benefits gained from petroleum exploration and improve the investment climate, while taking into account rising fuel prices.

Thailand is amending its Petroleum Act of 1971 to improve incentives for investment. These amendments would give a 90% reduction of royalty fees on unproductive petroleum fields. Krairit Nilkuha, the director-general of the Deparment of Mineral Fuels, explained that the motivation behind these new incentives is to improve the benefits gained from petroleum exploration and improve the investment climate, while taking into account rising fuel prices.

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thailand

An Empirical Study of Asian Stock Volatility Using Stochastic Volatility Factor Model: Factor Analysis and Forecasting

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

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Real Estate and the Asian Crisis

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

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Monetary and Exchange Rate Stability in South East Asia

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

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Post-crisis Exchange Rate Regimes in ASEAN:A New Empirical Test Based on Intra-daily Data

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what affected the post-crisis exchange rates of three ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Our critical departure from previous studies is the use of intra-daily exchange rates. The use of the intra-daily data is useful in removing possible estimation biases which the choice of numeraire may cause. It can also contrast exchange rate movements during the time zone when the government intervention is active with those when the intervention is not active. We examine how and when the ASEAN currencies changed their correlations with the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. We find significant structural breaks in the correlations during the time zone when East Asian market is open. In the post-crisis period, the first structural break happened when Malaysia adopted the fixed exchange rate and the second break happened when some East Asian countries introduced inflation targeting. The structural breaks suggest strong monetary and real linkages among the ASEAN countries.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what affected the post-crisis exchange rates of three ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Our critical departure from previous studies is the use of intra-daily exchange rates. The use of the intra-daily data is useful in removing possible estimation biases which the choice of numeraire may cause. It can also contrast exchange rate movements during the time zone when the government intervention is active with those when the intervention is not active. We examine how and when the ASEAN currencies changed their correlations with the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. We find significant structural breaks in the correlations during the time zone when East Asian market is open. In the post-crisis period, the first structural break happened when Malaysia adopted the fixed exchange rate and the second break happened when some East Asian countries introduced inflation targeting. The structural breaks suggest strong monetary and real linkages among the ASEAN countries.

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Children, childhood and migration

The abstract of this paper is not available.

The abstract of this paper is not available.

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Rethinking the Role of Agriculture and Agro-Industry in the Economic Development of Thailand: Input-Output and CGE Analyses

Thailand's economic development has been quite successful in terms of achieving high growth rate and reasonable per capita income. The country's economic performance in terms of the transformation of production and exports are tending toward the normal pattern of increasing share of manufactured products. However, the major problems Thailand is still facing are the late reduction of its agricultural labor force, inequality that has occurred as a result of the development process, and problems in potential of manufacturing industrial sectors. These three issues are made the main discussions of this dissertation. In addition, structural transformation in Thailand has posed many difficulties for the development of Thai agriculture, which is closely related to the welfare of the poor in the rural areas. Therefore, to tackle income distribution problems directly requires that farmers be given new opportunities. Agro-industry and high value-added agricultural sectors were proposed as the key sectors to improve inequality problems, smoothen employment transformation, generate high growth and induce high output production, and act as a bridge connecting Thai primary agriculture with the modern sectors. Agro-industry was proposed to be promoted in the rural areas for closer input locations, to shift agricultural workers from primary agriculture, to improve the real wage of farmers, and to prevent extensive urban migration. Qualitative analysis, input-output analysis, SAM analysis, and CGE analysis were applied to aid the discussions, prove the hypothesis, and achieve the objective.

Thailand's economic development has been quite successful in terms of achieving high growth rate and reasonable per capita income. The country's economic performance in terms of the transformation of production and exports are tending toward the normal pattern of increasing share of manufactured products. However, the major problems Thailand is still facing are the late reduction of its agricultural labor force, inequality that has occurred as a result of the development process, and problems in potential of manufacturing industrial sectors. These three issues are made the main discussions of this dissertation. In addition, structural transformation in Thailand has posed many difficulties for the development of Thai agriculture, which is closely related to the welfare of the poor in the rural areas. Therefore, to tackle income distribution problems directly requires that farmers be given new opportunities. Agro-industry and high value-added agricultural sectors were proposed as the key sectors to improve inequality problems, smoothen employment transformation, generate high growth and induce high output production, and act as a bridge connecting Thai primary agriculture with the modern sectors. Agro-industry was proposed to be promoted in the rural areas for closer input locations, to shift agricultural workers from primary agriculture, to improve the real wage of farmers, and to prevent extensive urban migration. Qualitative analysis, input-output analysis, SAM analysis, and CGE analysis were applied to aid the discussions, prove the hypothesis, and achieve the objective.

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Financial Liberalization and Corporate Debt Maturity in Thailand, 1993-97

Excessive short-term debt is thought to be one of the major causes of the Asian financial crisis, and this paper documents the changes in the maturity of corporate debt in Thailand during a period of rapid integration with international capital markets. Using data from publicly-traded Thai corporations for the period 1993-97, we find that the evidence is weak at best that financial liberalization brought about by globalization reduced the maturity of corporate debt contracts, and the evidence may in fact support an increase in maturity. This result casts some doubts on the generality of the idea that financial liberalization created the short-term debt problem.

Excessive short-term debt is thought to be one of the major causes of the Asian financial crisis, and this paper documents the changes in the maturity of corporate debt in Thailand during a period of rapid integration with international capital markets. Using data from publicly-traded Thai corporations for the period 1993-97, we find that the evidence is weak at best that financial liberalization brought about by globalization reduced the maturity of corporate debt contracts, and the evidence may in fact support an increase in maturity. This result casts some doubts on the generality of the idea that financial liberalization created the short-term debt problem.

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Proposed Rules of Origin in Emerging Asia-Pacific Preferential Trade Agreements: Will PTAs Promote Trade and Development?

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

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Tougher Accounting Rules Decrease Bank Profits in Thailand

Due to the new IAS 39 accounting standard put in place only two banks recorded a net profit for 2006. Although these results may look grim it was highly expected and many analysts believe that most of the banks actually outperformed expectations.

Due to the new IAS 39 accounting standard put in place only two banks recorded a net profit for 2006. Although these results may look grim it was highly expected and many analysts believe that most of the banks actually outperformed expectations.

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Laos, Thailand Work Together to Promote Trade

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Chamber of Commerce met in Vientiene on Jan 13, 2007 to discuss possibliities of improving trade between the nations. Thailand agreed to lift barriers on Lao exports transiting through Thailand, and to introduce more Lao agricultural products into Thai markets. Laos pledged to help Thai companies that encounter problems operating in Laos.

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Chamber of Commerce met in Vientiene on Jan 13, 2007 to discuss possibliities of improving trade between the nations. Thailand agreed to lift barriers on Lao exports transiting through Thailand, and to introduce more Lao agricultural products into Thai markets. Laos pledged to help Thai companies that encounter problems operating in Laos.

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Thai Monetary Policy Committee Cuts Interest Rate

In an attempt to mitigate an economic slowdown, the Thai Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut the policy interest rate down from 5% to 4.75%. This cut, the first since August 2004, brings the rate back to the level it was at last April. The MPC hopes that this cut will lower the cost of borrowing and therefore increase personal consumption and investment. Some critics imply that this action is too little and too late.

In an attempt to mitigate an economic slowdown, the Thai Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut the policy interest rate down from 5% to 4.75%. This cut, the first since August 2004, brings the rate back to the level it was at last April. The MPC hopes that this cut will lower the cost of borrowing and therefore increase personal consumption and investment. Some critics imply that this action is too little and too late.

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Thailand FM Cancels Trip to Singapore

The Thai Government canceled the foreign minister George Yeo's trip to Singapore in retaliation to a meeting Singapore's Prime Minister Jayakumar had with former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin. Thaksin had been forced out of office by the Thai Military on September 19. The Thai Government feels that it was highly inappropriate for the meeting between Jayakumar and Thaksin to take place and it seems that already strained relations between the two countries are only getting worse.

The Thai Government canceled the foreign minister George Yeo's trip to Singapore in retaliation to a meeting Singapore's Prime Minister Jayakumar had with former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin. Thaksin had been forced out of office by the Thai Military on September 19. The Thai Government feels that it was highly inappropriate for the meeting between Jayakumar and Thaksin to take place and it seems that already strained relations between the two countries are only getting worse.

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ASEAN Summit Comes to a Close

The 12th association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held at Cebu, Philippines drew to a close yesterday. The North Korean nuclear situation was one of the biggest issues discussed during these meetings. ASEAN is highly involved in the effort to denuclearize North Korea. Also discussed was the idea of economic integration in Southeast Asia and an overall community building in the region. The next ASEAN summit meeting will be held on Nov. 21st in Singapore.

The 12th association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held at Cebu, Philippines drew to a close yesterday. The North Korean nuclear situation was one of the biggest issues discussed during these meetings. ASEAN is highly involved in the effort to denuclearize North Korea. Also discussed was the idea of economic integration in Southeast Asia and an overall community building in the region. The next ASEAN summit meeting will be held on Nov. 21st in Singapore.

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India Expands Trade Ties with ASEAN

India said on Thursday it was close to reaching a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expected to have it wrapped up by July. India, an emerging economy which adopted a free-market policy in the early 1990s, is keen to expand in the global market.

India said on Thursday it was close to reaching a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expected to have it wrapped up by July. India, an emerging economy which adopted a free-market policy in the early 1990s, is keen to expand in the global market.

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Thailand: No Plan To Lift Remaining Capital Controls

Tarisa Watanagase, governor of the Bank of Thailand has said that the government has no plans to scrap the tough currency controls announced Dec. 19 to curb speculation on the baht, but the central bank is prepared to make some slight adjustments.

"The reserve policy will not be changed. It's not that we will scrap it in three or six months as people said because we don't want hot money. But we may make some adjustments," Reuters quoted Tarisa as saying.

Thai shares plunged nearly 15 percent Dec. 19 after the central bank announced regulations restricting foreign capital inflows to stem the baht's surge, which was hurting exporters. Authorities quickly lifted the controls on foreign stock investments but retained those on bonds and other debt instruments, prompting the benchmark stock index to bounce back 11 percent the next day.

The controls require banks to lock up 30 percent of new foreign-currency deposits intended to buy bonds and to impose penalties on those held for less than a year. The bank governor has said the rules are expected to stay in place at least three to six months.

The central bank will continue to monitor the controls, under which investors must hand over 30 percent of nontrade-related inflows to an interest- free account for a year with early withdrawal resulting in a stiff penalty, Tarisa said. But despite an abrupt exclusion of equity investments from the measure after the Thai stock market plunged nearly 15 percent in a day, the bank has no timeframe for lifting the controls, she said.

"It's not that when the baht is stable, we'll scrap the measure. We don't want the currency to be volatile and we want fund inflows to stay more than one year," she said.

The baht was steady at 35.94 to the dollar in trading Monday. A day before the controls were imposed, the baht traded at 35.06 to the dollar, its strongest position in nine and a half years.

Capital outflows had been limited so far, judging from the stable baht, Tarisa said.

Tarisa Watanagase, governor of the Bank of Thailand has said that the government has no plans to scrap the tough currency controls announced Dec. 19 to curb speculation on the baht, but the central bank is prepared to make some slight adjustments.

"The reserve policy will not be changed. It's not that we will scrap it in three or six months as people said because we don't want hot money. But we may make some adjustments," Reuters quoted Tarisa as saying.

Thai shares plunged nearly 15 percent Dec. 19 after the central bank announced regulations restricting foreign capital inflows to stem the baht's surge, which was hurting exporters. Authorities quickly lifted the controls on foreign stock investments but retained those on bonds and other debt instruments, prompting the benchmark stock index to bounce back 11 percent the next day.

The controls require banks to lock up 30 percent of new foreign-currency deposits intended to buy bonds and to impose penalties on those held for less than a year. The bank governor has said the rules are expected to stay in place at least three to six months.

The central bank will continue to monitor the controls, under which investors must hand over 30 percent of nontrade-related inflows to an interest- free account for a year with early withdrawal resulting in a stiff penalty, Tarisa said. But despite an abrupt exclusion of equity investments from the measure after the Thai stock market plunged nearly 15 percent in a day, the bank has no timeframe for lifting the controls, she said.

"It's not that when the baht is stable, we'll scrap the measure. We don't want the currency to be volatile and we want fund inflows to stay more than one year," she said.

The baht was steady at 35.94 to the dollar in trading Monday. A day before the controls were imposed, the baht traded at 35.06 to the dollar, its strongest position in nine and a half years.

Capital outflows had been limited so far, judging from the stable baht, Tarisa said.

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Asian Stock Markets Fell

Asian stocks and regional currencies declined due to the proposed nationalization of Venezuela's utilities and the fall of oil prices to a 15-month low. Among the Asian stock markets, Jakarta was hard-hit losing 3.96% or 70.51 points to 1710.36. In addition, the country's currency also fell 0.55 percent to a two-week low. Other bursars in the region also did not perform well.

Asian stocks and regional currencies declined due to the proposed nationalization of Venezuela's utilities and the fall of oil prices to a 15-month low. Among the Asian stock markets, Jakarta was hard-hit losing 3.96% or 70.51 points to 1710.36. In addition, the country's currency also fell 0.55 percent to a two-week low. Other bursars in the region also did not perform well.

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Black Market and Official Exchange Rates: Long-Run Equilibrium and Short-Run Dynamics

This paper presents further empirical evidence on the relationship between black market and official exchange rates in six emerging economies (Iran, India, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand). First, it applies both time series techniques and heterogeneous panel methods to test for the existence of a long-run relationship between these two types of exchange rates. Second, it tests formally the validity of the proportionality restriction implying a constant black-market premium. Third, it also analyzes the short-run dynamic responses of both markets to shocks. Finally, it tries to shed some light on the determinants of the market premium. Evidence of slow reversion to the long-run equilibrium is found. Further, it appears that capital controls and expected currency devaluation are the two main factors affecting the size of the premium and determining the breakdown in the proportionality relationship.

This paper presents further empirical evidence on the relationship between black market and official exchange rates in six emerging economies (Iran, India, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand). First, it applies both time series techniques and heterogeneous panel methods to test for the existence of a long-run relationship between these two types of exchange rates. Second, it tests formally the validity of the proportionality restriction implying a constant black-market premium. Third, it also analyzes the short-run dynamic responses of both markets to shocks. Finally, it tries to shed some light on the determinants of the market premium. Evidence of slow reversion to the long-run equilibrium is found. Further, it appears that capital controls and expected currency devaluation are the two main factors affecting the size of the premium and determining the breakdown in the proportionality relationship.

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Understanding the Latest Wave and Future Shape of Regional Trade and Cooperation Agreements in Asia

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

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Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN+3+1 or ASEAN+1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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The Evolution of the East Asian Currency Baskets – Still Undisclosed and Changing

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

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Asian Equity Markets: Growth,Opportunities, and Challenges

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

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Is Asia Prepared for an Aging Population?

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

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IBOR Rates in Asia

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

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thailand

Economic Integration in Asia: Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Versus Asian Single Market

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

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thailand

Thai Baht Tumbles as Foreign Investors Dump Shares

Thailand's baht fell against the US and Singapore dollars yesterday as overseas investors put their money out of the country. Foreign investors still fears that the Thai government will set to implement further harsh currency control measures. Fears of foreign investors has helped decrease Thailand's SET index to 676.10 which is down by 2.23 percent yesterday.

Thailand's baht fell against the US and Singapore dollars yesterday as overseas investors put their money out of the country. Foreign investors still fears that the Thai government will set to implement further harsh currency control measures. Fears of foreign investors has helped decrease Thailand's SET index to 676.10 which is down by 2.23 percent yesterday.

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Vietnam and Thailand Agree to Strengthen Bilateral Ties

Vietnam and Thailand will increase trade and investment through bilateral economic cooperation. This year both countries celebrate 30 years of Official Diplomatic Relations. The two countries signed a joint statement on security and agreed to mutual high level visits. The two countries seek to increase trade to $US5bn from $US3.4bn in the coming year. Leaders also talked about the construction of a super-highway connecting Myanmar, Laos, Thailand to Vietnam's Ports.

Vietnam and Thailand will increase trade and investment through bilateral economic cooperation. This year both countries celebrate 30 years of Official Diplomatic Relations. The two countries signed a joint statement on security and agreed to mutual high level visits. The two countries seek to increase trade to $US5bn from $US3.4bn in the coming year. Leaders also talked about the construction of a super-highway connecting Myanmar, Laos, Thailand to Vietnam's Ports.

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Thai Finance Minister in the Hot Seat After the Market Crashed

The Finance Minister of Thailand Pridiyathorn Devakula finds himself in the country's political hot seat after the euphoria that happened when the Bank of Thailand imposed stringent capital-control policy on Tuesday. The policy controls sent the Stock Exchange of Thailand crashing after the announcement and had a contagion effect on other Asian markets. In fact, International Monetary Fund (IMF) publicly criticized Thailand's finance minister for his capital-controls experiment to curb the appreciating baht.

 

The Finance Minister of Thailand Pridiyathorn Devakula finds himself in the country's political hot seat after the euphoria that happened when the Bank of Thailand imposed stringent capital-control policy on Tuesday. The policy controls sent the Stock Exchange of Thailand crashing after the announcement and had a contagion effect on other Asian markets. In fact, International Monetary Fund (IMF) publicly criticized Thailand's finance minister for his capital-controls experiment to curb the appreciating baht.

 

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RP's Peso and other Asian Currencies Recover

The peso and other Asian currencies bounced back on Wednesday from a fall Tuesday after Thailand decided to backtrack on its plan to restrict capital flows to temper baht's rise. The peso closed stronger at 49.375 against the US dollar, 34.5 centavos higher than the previous day. The euphoria in Thailand's market had a domino effect on other Asian markets, specifically, Indonesia and the Philippines, because the three markets are usually treated by investors as one basket. Hence, it is no coincidence that euphoria in one market quickly spilled over to the others, Anton Periquet, a Deutsche Bank strategist said.

The peso and other Asian currencies bounced back on Wednesday from a fall Tuesday after Thailand decided to backtrack on its plan to restrict capital flows to temper baht's rise. The peso closed stronger at 49.375 against the US dollar, 34.5 centavos higher than the previous day. The euphoria in Thailand's market had a domino effect on other Asian markets, specifically, Indonesia and the Philippines, because the three markets are usually treated by investors as one basket. Hence, it is no coincidence that euphoria in one market quickly spilled over to the others, Anton Periquet, a Deutsche Bank strategist said.

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thailand

Stringent Currency Control Lifted as Thailand's Market Crashes

Thai authorities made an embarrassing u-turn on Tuesday and lifted the drastic currency control imposed on foreign investors one day after Thailand's stock market crashed. The country's stock exchange lost 800 billion baht, the largest one-day drop in the last 31 years. Finance minister Devakula recognized that Thai authorities underestimated the impact of the harsh currency control measures imposed on the market.

Thai authorities made an embarrassing u-turn on Tuesday and lifted the drastic currency control imposed on foreign investors one day after Thailand's stock market crashed. The country's stock exchange lost 800 billion baht, the largest one-day drop in the last 31 years. Finance minister Devakula recognized that Thai authorities underestimated the impact of the harsh currency control measures imposed on the market.

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thailand

The Predictability of ASEAN-5 Exchange Rates

In an attempt to determine the predictability of ASEAN exchange rates, five currencies including Malaysian ringgit, Thailand baht, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso, denominated in US dollar as well as Japanese yen, were modeled using advanced time series analysis. Results suggested that Singapore exchange rate could be better predicted when denominated in US dollar, most probably because the East Asian Financial Crisis did not affect them both. On the other hand, other Asean exchange rates were better predicted when denominated in Japanese yen, as they had closer economic ties with Japan. However, while Japan had undergone serious recession after the crisis, it did not experience dramatic political instability as experienced by Indonesia, hence Indonesian rupiah remained unpredictable by yen. These results show that although advanced time series analysis dealt with economic fundamentals implicitly; it still could be a powerful tool for exchange rates modeling and forecasting, especially in the medium to long term.

In an attempt to determine the predictability of ASEAN exchange rates, five currencies including Malaysian ringgit, Thailand baht, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso, denominated in US dollar as well as Japanese yen, were modeled using advanced time series analysis. Results suggested that Singapore exchange rate could be better predicted when denominated in US dollar, most probably because the East Asian Financial Crisis did not affect them both. On the other hand, other Asean exchange rates were better predicted when denominated in Japanese yen, as they had closer economic ties with Japan. However, while Japan had undergone serious recession after the crisis, it did not experience dramatic political instability as experienced by Indonesia, hence Indonesian rupiah remained unpredictable by yen. These results show that although advanced time series analysis dealt with economic fundamentals implicitly; it still could be a powerful tool for exchange rates modeling and forecasting, especially in the medium to long term.

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thailand

Hong Kong, Singapore And The East Asian Crisis: A First Look At The Importance Of Trade Spillovers

The literature on the East Asian crisis has concentrated almost exclusively on the five crisis-hit econmoies of Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (Asia-5). Relatvely scant attention has been paid to Hond Kong and Singapore, both of which also suffered from contagious fallout from the crisis despite being well acknowledged as having relatively sound finacial and economical fundamentals.This paper examines the extent to wihich trade spillovers, both direct and indirect, have been impprtant in transmitting the regional downturn from the Asia-5 economies to Kong Kong and Singapore.

The literature on the East Asian crisis has concentrated almost exclusively on the five crisis-hit econmoies of Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (Asia-5). Relatvely scant attention has been paid to Hond Kong and Singapore, both of which also suffered from contagious fallout from the crisis despite being well acknowledged as having relatively sound finacial and economical fundamentals.This paper examines the extent to wihich trade spillovers, both direct and indirect, have been impprtant in transmitting the regional downturn from the Asia-5 economies to Kong Kong and Singapore.

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thailand

Regional Responses To The Southeast Asian Economic Crisis:A Case Of Self-Help Or No Help?

The currency crises of the 1990s, particularly the one that hit Southeast Asia since the devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997, are suggestive of the relevance and pervasiveness of contagion or negative spillover effects that are largely regional in scope. As such, one of the mantras since the onset of the Southeast Asian economic crisis has been the need for "regional solutions to regional problems". Given that the two focal institutions in Southeast Asia, viz. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were perceived as being successful in their past attempts in problem-solving, there were high expectations
that such regionalism would be key in finding solutions to the Southeast Asian economic crisis and mitigating the after-shocks. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the regional responses to the crisis, taking stock of both preventive and curative initiatives of significance. While the focus is on ASEAN and APEC, consistent with the concept of ‘loose' or ‘non-institutionalised' regionalism in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, other ad hoc unilateral or bilateral initiatives of significance by other Asian member countries in APEC are also examined, particularly those
by the region's dominant economic power, Japan.

The currency crises of the 1990s, particularly the one that hit Southeast Asia since the devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997, are suggestive of the relevance and pervasiveness of contagion or negative spillover effects that are largely regional in scope. As such, one of the mantras since the onset of the Southeast Asian economic crisis has been the need for "regional solutions to regional problems". Given that the two focal institutions in Southeast Asia, viz. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were perceived as being successful in their past attempts in problem-solving, there were high expectations
that such regionalism would be key in finding solutions to the Southeast Asian economic crisis and mitigating the after-shocks. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the regional responses to the crisis, taking stock of both preventive and curative initiatives of significance. While the focus is on ASEAN and APEC, consistent with the concept of ‘loose' or ‘non-institutionalised' regionalism in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, other ad hoc unilateral or bilateral initiatives of significance by other Asian member countries in APEC are also examined, particularly those
by the region's dominant economic power, Japan.

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thailand

Implications of the Economic Rise of the PRC for ASEAN and India: Trade and Foreign Direct Investment

An important and vigorous policy debate ongoing in Asia concerns the impact of
the economic rise of the PRC on the rest of the region. This paper examines the relative
performances of the PRC, selected ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), and India over time, as well as the intensity and
changing dynamics of their intra-regional economic interactions. Focus is on trends and
patterns in merchandise trade, trade in commercial services, and FDI flows the last two
decades and potential impact of the PRC's continued economic emergence on ASEAN
and India.

An important and vigorous policy debate ongoing in Asia concerns the impact of
the economic rise of the PRC on the rest of the region. This paper examines the relative
performances of the PRC, selected ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), and India over time, as well as the intensity and
changing dynamics of their intra-regional economic interactions. Focus is on trends and
patterns in merchandise trade, trade in commercial services, and FDI flows the last two
decades and potential impact of the PRC's continued economic emergence on ASEAN
and India.

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thailand

Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN +3+1 or ASEAN +1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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thailand

Bank of Thailand Concerned Over Speedy Baht Appreciation

Thailand's central bank --The Bank of Thailand --should take stricter measures to oversee the movement of the baht, after the local currency appreciated to 36.39 to the US dollar, the strongest in almost eight years, on Tuesday, the Kasikorn Research Centre said Wednesday.

The leading think tank reported although the central bank only recently came up with additional measures to curb speculation on the baht (early this month), Thailand's currency continued to strengthen.

So, money dealers and market observers expected the bank would come up with new measures to more closely supervise the baht's stability.

KRC believed the baht would probably continue to appreciate, and rapidly, particularly if the American economy slows down considerably.

Under the circumstances, the Bank of Thailand is likely to -- and should -- take additional measures to maintain the stability of the baht. One measure is to reduce the policy interest rate.

The strengthening of the baht stemmed in part from a foreign capital inflow into Asian countries including Thailand due to the weakening of the US dollar.
Another reason behind the stronger baht is that local interest rates remain higher than those of most countries in the region.

So, should the bank cut the policy interest rate, it would help narrow a gap between local interest rates and those of other countries. It would help ease the foreign capital inflow into the country to a certain extent.

KRC conceded the implementation of the interest policy might neither help slow the foreign capital inflow nor ease the strengthening of the baht if foreign investors had confidence in the economic and political stability in Thailand.

It suggested that added measures to be taken by the bank to oversee the baht not be too strict because it could affect foreign investor confidence.

Kasikorn viewed the bank should gradually increase the degree of controls to curb speculation on the baht, such as controlling more kinds of business transactions and seeking cooperation from financial institutions to report information in detail and with greater caution.

Thailand's central bank --The Bank of Thailand --should take stricter measures to oversee the movement of the baht, after the local currency appreciated to 36.39 to the US dollar, the strongest in almost eight years, on Tuesday, the Kasikorn Research Centre said Wednesday.

The leading think tank reported although the central bank only recently came up with additional measures to curb speculation on the baht (early this month), Thailand's currency continued to strengthen.

So, money dealers and market observers expected the bank would come up with new measures to more closely supervise the baht's stability.

KRC believed the baht would probably continue to appreciate, and rapidly, particularly if the American economy slows down considerably.

Under the circumstances, the Bank of Thailand is likely to -- and should -- take additional measures to maintain the stability of the baht. One measure is to reduce the policy interest rate.

The strengthening of the baht stemmed in part from a foreign capital inflow into Asian countries including Thailand due to the weakening of the US dollar.
Another reason behind the stronger baht is that local interest rates remain higher than those of most countries in the region.

So, should the bank cut the policy interest rate, it would help narrow a gap between local interest rates and those of other countries. It would help ease the foreign capital inflow into the country to a certain extent.

KRC conceded the implementation of the interest policy might neither help slow the foreign capital inflow nor ease the strengthening of the baht if foreign investors had confidence in the economic and political stability in Thailand.

It suggested that added measures to be taken by the bank to oversee the baht not be too strict because it could affect foreign investor confidence.

Kasikorn viewed the bank should gradually increase the degree of controls to curb speculation on the baht, such as controlling more kinds of business transactions and seeking cooperation from financial institutions to report information in detail and with greater caution.

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thailand

Thailand's Central Bank Keeps Rates at 5 Per Cent

The Bank of Thailand will maintain its 5 per cent interest rate benchmark unless private investment says otherwise. Inflationary pressures remain due to potential oil production cuts. While this affects exporters, the baht's rise against the dollar is both a gift and a curse as well. Yet, the economy is expanding, consumer confidence has improved, and government spending will continue.

The Bank of Thailand will maintain its 5 per cent interest rate benchmark unless private investment says otherwise. Inflationary pressures remain due to potential oil production cuts. While this affects exporters, the baht's rise against the dollar is both a gift and a curse as well. Yet, the economy is expanding, consumer confidence has improved, and government spending will continue.

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thailand

Thai Government to Reduce Telecom Firms' Excise Tax to Zero

The Thai government is set to cut the excise tax paid by telecommunication companies to zero as part of its effort to restructure the industry and to revive its competitiveness. According to Information and Communications Technology Minister Pokai-udom that the telecom sector was undergoing restructuring to eliminate the distortion in the industry caused by the past government's policies.

The Thai government is set to cut the excise tax paid by telecommunication companies to zero as part of its effort to restructure the industry and to revive its competitiveness. According to Information and Communications Technology Minister Pokai-udom that the telecom sector was undergoing restructuring to eliminate the distortion in the industry caused by the past government's policies.

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thailand

Asean-India Trade Agreement Expected by June

India is expecting to sign a free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by June next year after both sides failed to meet the December deadline due to some conflicts on goods to be excluded from the agreement. Both parties are in disagreement on items such as agricultural products that India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. If the free trade agreement will push through, ASEAN will open up new overseas market for India's software and other services. In turn, the pact will give ASEAN more access to the world's second fastest growing economy.

India is expecting to sign a free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by June next year after both sides failed to meet the December deadline due to some conflicts on goods to be excluded from the agreement. Both parties are in disagreement on items such as agricultural products that India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. If the free trade agreement will push through, ASEAN will open up new overseas market for India's software and other services. In turn, the pact will give ASEAN more access to the world's second fastest growing economy.

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thailand

Manila Postpones ASEAN Summit to January

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

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thailand

ADB: Economic Growth in East Asia to Remain Strong in 2007

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

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thailand

US and Asian Economies Differ Over Free Trade Bloc Process

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

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thailand

Thailand's Bangkok Bank BBL Recieves Forex Award

For the sixth year in a row Bangkok Bank has been awarded for being the "best foreign exchange bank in Thailand". The award was granted based on overall perfomance in global transactions, customer service, and innovative technologies.

For the sixth year in a row Bangkok Bank has been awarded for being the "best foreign exchange bank in Thailand". The award was granted based on overall perfomance in global transactions, customer service, and innovative technologies.

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thailand

Integration of ASEAN Economies a Sound Way to Navigate Globalizing World

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to endorse plans to step up regional economic integration and create a common market by 2015. ASEAN aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The free trade pact will provide members "a sound way to navigate" the rapidly globalizing world by liberalizing and integrating economies.

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to endorse plans to step up regional economic integration and create a common market by 2015. ASEAN aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The free trade pact will provide members "a sound way to navigate" the rapidly globalizing world by liberalizing and integrating economies.

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thailand

Thailand Grants More Freedom for Brokers

According to Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission individual brokers with a record of "good-practice" may be allowed to make direct investments overseas in the coming year. This is seen as a means to encourage business expansion and increase liberalization of the securirties market.

According to Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission individual brokers with a record of "good-practice" may be allowed to make direct investments overseas in the coming year. This is seen as a means to encourage business expansion and increase liberalization of the securirties market.

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thailand

Central Bankers Upbeat Over Global Growth Next Year

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

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thailand

Thailand to Decide on FTA with Japan After Public Review

Commerce Minister Krikkrai Jirapaet said that Thailand's new government will begin public hearing on proposed free trade agreement with Japan. The country is expected to decide early next year whether to go ahead with the agreement.

The proposed free trade agreement was originally due to be signed early this year but was put off because of Thailand's political turmoil. The new government decided to review the proposed pact with Japan since farmers and other parties complained that the free trade pact did not take into account their concerns and had not been approved by a legislative body.

Commerce Minister Krikkrai Jirapaet said that Thailand's new government will begin public hearing on proposed free trade agreement with Japan. The country is expected to decide early next year whether to go ahead with the agreement.

The proposed free trade agreement was originally due to be signed early this year but was put off because of Thailand's political turmoil. The new government decided to review the proposed pact with Japan since farmers and other parties complained that the free trade pact did not take into account their concerns and had not been approved by a legislative body.

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thailand

APEC Shelves Free Trade Zone Plans

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

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thailand

No Russia-ASEAN Summit This Year

The Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be coming to Cebu, the Philippines, and that's as good as official and final. The reason is, the second Russia-ASEAN Summit that could have been organized back-to-back with an annual ASEAN Summit in that city, is not fit for a show.

Officially in any Foreign Ministry worth its salt, be it Russian or Asian ministry, you may get a comment that there was no invitation for Mr. Putin to come to the summit, so we are talking about wrong assumptions and failed expectations. Besides, the first Russia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on December 13th last year ended with an obligation to hold "regular", not "annual", summits.

But that's very feeble explanation, because there was a lot of unofficial talk about the Cebu summit. So what really happened? First of all, the Russian leader takes Moscow's ties to Asia in general, and the ASEAN 10 in particular, very close to his heart. You may say there's a lot of expectations in Moscow from everything and anything Asia-oriented (and we shall elaborate on that a bit later). But there is one thing that Mr. Putin hates, and that is "summits for summit's sake". The style of his presidency presumes that a presidential visit is a culmination of work of a lot of people, with serious agreements signed and shown to the voters. Making a trip across the globe and delivering a speech is definitely not enough to stir Mr. Putin's juices.

A year ago in KL three documents have been signed between Russia and ASEAN. These were: the Joint Declaration on progressive & comprehensive partnership; the Program of Action for 2005-2015 (mentioning trade, industry, energy, transport, antiterrorist cooperation, natural disaster prevention, etc); finally, the agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation. But nothing much happened in these 11 or so months after that summit.

On November 3 a joint committee on cooperation between Russia and ASEAN was hold in Moscow, the co-chairmen being the department heads of the Foreign Ministries. From the Russian side that was Mr. Bakhtiar Khakimov, from the ASEAN side Mr. Luis Cruz, the Philippines. The main issue was a cooperation fund – about 1 million US Dollars that Russia has to invest into a cooperation infrastructure. E-commerce development and studies of the Russian language – that's how some of this money will be spent. But in any case the programs will start only in 2007.

Several discussion groups are agreed to be set up – like, on transnational crime and technological cooperation. Energy security will also be under discussion, as well as many other subjects. But Moscow thinks that all this is not enough to justify a summit right now. You have to start carrying out the agreements reached at the previous summit, first.

The diplomatic sources are saying that the ASEAN side understands and even "respects" Moscow maximalism on the matter. To add, a lot of blame might be put on the Russian bureaucracy, too, and nobody is denying it.

You may feel, though, Russian leadership's deep dissatisfaction with its relations with ASEAN behind all the niceties. The reasons for this can be summed up as "too little, too slow" in business, in spite of almost complete harmony in political and diplomatic contacts.

Gone are the days when the Soviet Union was causing plenty of uneasy feelings in South East Asia. 10 years ago Russia has become ASEAN's Dialogue Partner, and 1 year ago it was elevated to the status of a Summit Partner. Look who is ASEAN's Summit Partner, and especially who is not, and you will see that Moscow is very, very close to ASEAN in global diplomacy and in its views on what the world should look like.

But thinking alike is not making us big trade partners, and that's the source of Moscow's frustration, and sometimes overreaction. The trade between Russia and ASEAN 10 has reached 4 billion dollars in 2004, 5 billion in 2005 and may touch 6 billion in 2006. It's a good show if you look at the growth rate, but a very weak one if you consider that it is still less than 1% of overall trade of both ASEAN and Russia. Moscow is trailing far behind US or China or Australia in that regard.

If you look close at the model of that trade, you will see that basically Russia is supplying ASEAN countries with metals, fertilizers and chemicals in exchange for purchases of commodities like the palm oil, and foodstuffs.

But this is definitely not what Russia wanted from that part of the world. Russia's basic economic problem is not unlike what Indonesia struggled with in the 70-s and 80-s – to diversify export, to eliminate dependence on oil and gas supplies to the world, to develop hi-tech export, be it in aerospace or nuclear power stations or anything else that the Russia researchers are good at.

You cannot hope for that with partners and regions where your hydrocarbon exports are bringing as much revenue as they do now to Russia. But Asia, notably in its South East, does not need Russia oil and gas. You just have to rely on hi-tech in all the exchanges with this area.

Essentially, Moscow was pinning high hopes on Asia to help diversify the Russian economy. And so far these hopes stay almost where they were.
Being a participant in the first and second Russia-ASEAN business forums, as well as in many similar meetings, I may say that we see some measure of success only in the aircraft sales – be it fighter jets or a wonderful Be-200 forest firefighter supplied to Indonesia. That's not enough, compared to the volume of offers made by the various Russian companies.

It's worth noting that anything good that happened to the Russian-ASEAN trade happened on bilateral basis, between businessmen of Russia and some particular countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as leaders. While the capabilities of ASEAN as an organization in facilitation of the hi-tech cooperation may be put in serious doubt. You may even say that the Russia-ASEAN relations history is the history of declarations signed. And you cannot really blame Mr. Putin for trying to change that situation, even by some rather dramatic gestures.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be coming to Cebu, the Philippines, and that's as good as official and final. The reason is, the second Russia-ASEAN Summit that could have been organized back-to-back with an annual ASEAN Summit in that city, is not fit for a show.

Officially in any Foreign Ministry worth its salt, be it Russian or Asian ministry, you may get a comment that there was no invitation for Mr. Putin to come to the summit, so we are talking about wrong assumptions and failed expectations. Besides, the first Russia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on December 13th last year ended with an obligation to hold "regular", not "annual", summits.

But that's very feeble explanation, because there was a lot of unofficial talk about the Cebu summit. So what really happened? First of all, the Russian leader takes Moscow's ties to Asia in general, and the ASEAN 10 in particular, very close to his heart. You may say there's a lot of expectations in Moscow from everything and anything Asia-oriented (and we shall elaborate on that a bit later). But there is one thing that Mr. Putin hates, and that is "summits for summit's sake". The style of his presidency presumes that a presidential visit is a culmination of work of a lot of people, with serious agreements signed and shown to the voters. Making a trip across the globe and delivering a speech is definitely not enough to stir Mr. Putin's juices.

A year ago in KL three documents have been signed between Russia and ASEAN. These were: the Joint Declaration on progressive & comprehensive partnership; the Program of Action for 2005-2015 (mentioning trade, industry, energy, transport, antiterrorist cooperation, natural disaster prevention, etc); finally, the agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation. But nothing much happened in these 11 or so months after that summit.

On November 3 a joint committee on cooperation between Russia and ASEAN was hold in Moscow, the co-chairmen being the department heads of the Foreign Ministries. From the Russian side that was Mr. Bakhtiar Khakimov, from the ASEAN side Mr. Luis Cruz, the Philippines. The main issue was a cooperation fund – about 1 million US Dollars that Russia has to invest into a cooperation infrastructure. E-commerce development and studies of the Russian language – that's how some of this money will be spent. But in any case the programs will start only in 2007.

Several discussion groups are agreed to be set up – like, on transnational crime and technological cooperation. Energy security will also be under discussion, as well as many other subjects. But Moscow thinks that all this is not enough to justify a summit right now. You have to start carrying out the agreements reached at the previous summit, first.

The diplomatic sources are saying that the ASEAN side understands and even "respects" Moscow maximalism on the matter. To add, a lot of blame might be put on the Russian bureaucracy, too, and nobody is denying it.

You may feel, though, Russian leadership's deep dissatisfaction with its relations with ASEAN behind all the niceties. The reasons for this can be summed up as "too little, too slow" in business, in spite of almost complete harmony in political and diplomatic contacts.

Gone are the days when the Soviet Union was causing plenty of uneasy feelings in South East Asia. 10 years ago Russia has become ASEAN's Dialogue Partner, and 1 year ago it was elevated to the status of a Summit Partner. Look who is ASEAN's Summit Partner, and especially who is not, and you will see that Moscow is very, very close to ASEAN in global diplomacy and in its views on what the world should look like.

But thinking alike is not making us big trade partners, and that's the source of Moscow's frustration, and sometimes overreaction. The trade between Russia and ASEAN 10 has reached 4 billion dollars in 2004, 5 billion in 2005 and may touch 6 billion in 2006. It's a good show if you look at the growth rate, but a very weak one if you consider that it is still less than 1% of overall trade of both ASEAN and Russia. Moscow is trailing far behind US or China or Australia in that regard.

If you look close at the model of that trade, you will see that basically Russia is supplying ASEAN countries with metals, fertilizers and chemicals in exchange for purchases of commodities like the palm oil, and foodstuffs.

But this is definitely not what Russia wanted from that part of the world. Russia's basic economic problem is not unlike what Indonesia struggled with in the 70-s and 80-s – to diversify export, to eliminate dependence on oil and gas supplies to the world, to develop hi-tech export, be it in aerospace or nuclear power stations or anything else that the Russia researchers are good at.

You cannot hope for that with partners and regions where your hydrocarbon exports are bringing as much revenue as they do now to Russia. But Asia, notably in its South East, does not need Russia oil and gas. You just have to rely on hi-tech in all the exchanges with this area.

Essentially, Moscow was pinning high hopes on Asia to help diversify the Russian economy. And so far these hopes stay almost where they were.
Being a participant in the first and second Russia-ASEAN business forums, as well as in many similar meetings, I may say that we see some measure of success only in the aircraft sales – be it fighter jets or a wonderful Be-200 forest firefighter supplied to Indonesia. That's not enough, compared to the volume of offers made by the various Russian companies.

It's worth noting that anything good that happened to the Russian-ASEAN trade happened on bilateral basis, between businessmen of Russia and some particular countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as leaders. While the capabilities of ASEAN as an organization in facilitation of the hi-tech cooperation may be put in serious doubt. You may even say that the Russia-ASEAN relations history is the history of declarations signed. And you cannot really blame Mr. Putin for trying to change that situation, even by some rather dramatic gestures.

read source article
thailand

Thailand's New Energy Minister to Scrap Deals With Myanmar

Thai Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand says he intends to scrap the previous government's controversial multi-billion dollar plans to ramp up imports of hydroelectric power and natural gas from neighboring military-run Myanmar, signaling a potentially significant shift in which direction the region's energy flows and a possible new era of bilateral antagonism between the historical rivals.

On October 9, Piyasvasti, making the first public statement by a new minister, told a local radio station in little-noticed comments that "sweeping reform" was in store for the kingdom's energy policy, including bolstering the use of renewable fuel in power production and reconsidering major projects that aggravated social tensions, which had run high since the September 19 coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government.

Toward that end, Piyasvasti suggested that he would shelve long-standing and controversial plans to build a network of five hydropower dams on the Salween river system in Myanmar. At a cost that could exceed US$10 billion, the projects are provisionally designed to generate some 12,500 megawatts of power, about 85% of which would be delivered to Thailand.

Thailand's new energy czar, a widely respected technocrat and energy expert with a doctorate from the London School of Economics, reiterated that policy shift on Friday, telling a gathering of foreign investors and reporters in Bangkok that Thailand would aim to purchase more hydroelectric power from neighboring Laos and to explore for more offshore natural gas and oil in the Middle East and Africa, as well as closer to home in Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Notably, Piyasvasti omitted Myanmar from that list.

Under Thaksin, Piyasvasti was the deputy permanent secretary at the Prime Minister's Office until he resigned in 2003 after clashing with the premier over several policy issues, including the best way to privatize the state-owned electricity monopoly, the Electrical Generating Authority of Thailand Plc, or EGAT, and over the establishment of an independent regulatory commission to guard against possible monopolistic and collusive pricing behavior, which has long left consumers beholden to EGAT's pricing discretion.

Similarly, Thaksin's Myanmar strategy, known as "forward engagement", came under constant fire for placing commercial considerations over pressuring Myanmar's junta to move towards more democracy and human rights, and for throwing the pariah regime an economic lifeline that buffered it from economic sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union. Thaksin's policy pushed forward the controversial plans to build new hydropower projects on Myanmar's Salween and Tenasserim rivers.

In October 2005, Thaksin reportedly signed an agreement with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) regime for joint investment in the construction of the hydropower plants. And last June, EGAT officials traveled to Beijing to ink a memorandum of understanding with China's largest hydropower company, Sinohydro Corporation, to jointly develop the Hatgyi hydroelectric station on the Salween in Myanmar's Karen state, located about 40 kilometers from the Thai border.

Damming the Salween has been a lightning-rod issue since Thailand signed the first agreement in 1994 to purchase 1,500 megawatts from the project. The forced relocations of entire villages, slave labor to clear land and carry supplies for the army, and extrajudicial killings have all been part of the regime's military campaigns against ethnic Shan, Karen and Karenni resistance fighters. Those abuses have more recently been directed against civilians who live in areas near the proposed dam sites, according to human rights organizations.

Gas exploration in Myanmar is also a touchy issue. Petrodollars are the Myanmar regime's prime source of foreign exchange - accounting for some $2.5 billion, or about 33% of all foreign direct investment since 1998. Human-rights abuses associated with Myanmar gas projects are a perennial concern. Two years ago, US oil giant Unocal Corporation settled out of court two lawsuits filed in California in 1996 by 15 villagers in Myanmar who alleged that they suffered human rights abuses during construction of its joint-venture Yadana pipeline, which carries gas from the Andaman Sea to Thailand.

Highly coveted reserves
During Thaksin's tenure, Thailand had thrown its hat into the ring to develop Myanmar's controversial but highly coveted offshore gas reserves in the A1 and A3 blocks in the Bay of Bengal off the western Arakan coast.

In August, Thaksin took a delegation that included top energy officials to Myanmar's new capital at Naypyidaw to negotiate exclusive exploration rights for the two blocks for Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Plc, or PTTEP, a 66%-owned subsidiary of the state-controlled Petroleum Authority of Thailand, or PTT Plc. And on October 31, PTTEP announced it formally tendered a bidding application for a 15% to 20% stake in the two blocks, which are already being developed by a consortium led by South Korea's Daewoo International Corporation.

With several big state-owned Asian gas firms already vying for the undeveloped gas fields, the prevailing feeling is that PTTEP has joined the bidding too late. The Thai company, however, already currently takes all of Myanmar's natural gas exports from offshore reserves, piping more than one billion cubic feet of gas per day at a cost of some $1 billion per year, all from the Yadana and Yetagun projects in the Andaman Sea, in which it has a 25.5% and 19.3% interest, respectively.

PTTEP also owns the exclusive rights to explore for oil and natural gas in three projects in the Gulf of Martaban: the so-called M7 and M9 blocks, the M3 and M4 blocks and the M11 block. As the sole importer of Myanmar's gas, the company was long granted preferential treatment from the junta. But now, says a company official, they are "alarmed" at the new competition for the A1 and A3 blocks, which Daewoo estimates to have proven reserves of 5.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 10 Tcf, with up to 8.6 Tcf believed to be recoverable.

Daewoo signed a production-sharing contract in August 2000 with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise for A1 and has been exploring the A3 oil field since 2004. Daewoo owns a 60% stake in the project and is the major operator of the two blocks; state-owned Gas Authority of India Ltd, or GAIL, holds a 10% stake; India's ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has a 20% interest; and state-run KOGAS, from South Korea, owns the remaining 10%. PTTEP's opening came in September when Daewoo said it would announce by early 2007 whether it would divest a portion of its shares to the company.

Landing transportation rights for the gas may be trickier business. The South Korean firms have proposed to liquefy it at a yet unbuilt liquefying plant in Myanmar and ship it as liquefied natural gas (LNG). But the cost could be prohibitive and it could be several years before an LNG facility in Myanmar would come on-stream. Thus, constructing pipelines is the more likely option.

To that end, GAIL completed a detailed feasibility report in May for laying a $3 billion, 1,400-kilometer gas pipeline from the Myanmar port town of Sittwe to Gaya in Bihar, India, to supply its northeast with gas. And last December, PetroChina signed a memorandum of understanding with MOGE to build a 2,380-kilometer pipeline from Sittwe to Kunming in China's southwestern province of Yunnan.

If allowed to tie up with Daewoo as a minority equity partner, PTTEP would likely build a 1,100-kilometer underwater pipeline from the Bay of Bengal to join up with its existing 670-kilometer pipeline that currently brings gas to Thailand from Yadana and Yetagun. It would be part of the company's plans to spend 233 billion baht (US$6.16 billion) in the five years to 2010 to pump up output from existing gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand and to explore for new reserves abroad in offshore fields in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Oman, Algeria and South Africa.

Currently, more than 70% of electricity in Thailand is generated by natural gas, 30% of which is imported - all from Myanmar. With domestic production expected to peak in 2010 and domestic reserves expected to run dry in 30 years, Thai energy planners are scrambling for new sources of power.

With Thailand's own hydro capacity already maxed out, non-hydro renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biogases accounting for less than 1% of generation capacity and unlikely any time soon to play a significant role in power supply structure, and with coal-fired plants sure to stir up strong environmental opposition, Piyasvasti has admitted that for now, Thailand must depend on its neighbors, apart perhaps from Myanmar, to shore up its energy security.

The Malaysia-Thai Joint Development Area in the Gulf of Thailand is scheduled to come on stream next year and produce 700 million standard cubic feet per day of gas. PTTEP is also exploring gas and oil options in Indonesia's Nantuna field, considering building a pipeline from the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam and more recently is engaged in offshore exploration in Cambodia. Piyasvasti also said that the government would boost hydropower imports from Laos.

Even with other options in the cards, and with independent energy analysts claiming that Thailand's energy demand forecasts have been inflated by almost 50%, PTTEP officials who spoke with Asia Times Online still consider the A1 and A3 blocks "very strategic", thus heightening worries that they've entered the Myanmar hydrocarbons bonanza too late.

Political baggage
Another hangup could come from Thailand's new prime minister, retired army general Surayud Chulanont, who has long been at odds with the SPDC regime and so far looks to be in no hurry to patch things up. On his first foreign trip as premier, which took him to Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia in October, he snubbed Myanmar, to the dismay of PTTEP officials - though later, on the sidelines of the China-ASEAN summit in Nanning on November 1, he reportedly met with Myanmar Prime Minister Soe Win and tentatively scheduled a visit for later this month.

As army chief from 1998 to 2002, Surayud openly criticized Myanmar's government for its complicity in moving drugs into Thailand and he opposed moves to drive back the tens of thousands of refugees who had fled Myanmar for safety along the Thai border. More aggressively, in March 2002, he ordered one of Thailand's largest military operations in recent times, when Thai troops moved deep into Myanmar territory to destroy several drug labs and military bases controlled by the pro-junta militia the United Wa State Army.

Sources close to the SPDC say the Myanmar generals have never forgiven Surayud for that breach of sovereignty. To smooth cross-border ties, in 2002 Thaksin shuffled Surayud off to the symbolic post of supreme commander of the armed forces. Now a member of the Privy Council, the palace's top advisory body, and a staunch nationalist, Surayud's appointment as prime minister will likely not sit well with the junta's leaders.

Given India's and China's greater political leverage and their headstart in the gas sweepstakes, and the legacy of mistrust between the Thai and Myanmar governments, it's no wonder that a PTTEP spokesperson told the press last month that he was optimistic but "not fully confident" that the company would secure the rights to A1 and A3. A former Western diplomat with close ties to the junta's inner circle was less sanguine: "They [PTTEP] can forget about it."

With the gas deal precariously in the balance, attention has turned to the hydro projects, which until now continue despite the avowals of Thailand's new energy minister to scrap them. If all the dam projects go ahead, the Salween would become one of the world's most heavily dammed river systems in the world and would earn the regime plenty of cash to sustain its misrule.

Politics aside, one reason Piyasvasti wants to wean Thailand off Myanmar's energy, says a ministry insider, is that he is dubious of the Asian Development Bank-sponsored Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) integrated power grid, which hypothetically would link Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam in an energy-sharing pact.

He is also known to prefer bilateral deals to the multi-country arrangement proposed by the Asian Development Bank, which he feels lacks the legitimacy to tell individual GMS countries what to do. Skeptical of the economic and political sense of the project, Piyasvasti reportedly thought the GMS program would eventually run aground, according to the ministry insider.

But the project continues to move forward - to the point where several observers feel that the dams may be too far advanced to roll back the clock on the projects. The Hatgyi dam, for instance, would be the first on the 2,800 kilometer Salween, the last major free-flowing river in Southeast Asia. Its installed capacity could reach 1,500 megawatts at a cost exceeding $1 billion. Located in Myanmar's Karen state, some 30 kilometers from the Thai border, the dam is tentatively scheduled to be completed by 2013.

In December 2005, Thailand's EGAT signed a memorandum of agreement with Myanmar's Department of Hydropower, under the Ministry of Electric Power, for joint-investment and implementation of the Hutgyi dam construction to commence in late 2007. As with most of the dam and gas projects in Myanmar, details of the agreement were not disclosed. Highlighting the dangers that come with doing business in war-torn Myanmar, in May EGAT geologist Chana Mongplee was killed by a landmine explosion at an EGAT campsite near the proposed site.

China's leading hydropower company, Sinohydro Corporation, fueled by low-interest loans from state-run Chinese banks, is set to act as the major investor and contractor for the design, procurement and implementation of the Hatgyi dam. The Tasang dam, designed at 228 meters high with an installed capacity of 7,110 megawatts, would meanwhile be the biggest in Southeast Asia, bringing with it an estimated price tag of some $6 billion.

Planning is already at an advanced stage and several agreements have already been signed for financing its construction. Though located in the main area of conflict in Shan state where resistance forces have been fighting the Myanmar army for more than 40 years, and estimated to flood some 870 square kilometers of land, sources who live near the dam site say the construction continues on the road to the Nong Ook border crossing in Thailand and on land being cleared to build transmission lines to the country.

That construction is being carried out by Thailand's privately-owned and well-connected MDX Plc, a floundering real estate and infrastructure construction company based in Bangkok. One of its advisors, Subin Pinkayan, was the former commerce minister under the Chatichai Choonhavan government (1988-1991), which like Thaksin's government was ousted in a military coup.

A former MDX official who spoke with Asia Times Online believes that the Tasang and Hatgyi projects will carry on with or without Thai participation, though he added that building the other dams - the Weigyi and Dagwin dams in Karen state, and the Mong Hta dam in Shan state - would likely be too risky to secure financing.

Some energy experts now wonder whether Piyasvasti will really pull the plug on all the Myanmar mega-energy projects and if he does, whether his ministry can devise an economically viable solution to Thailand's pressing energy dilemma.

In his then capacity as chairman of Kasikorn Asset Management, Piyasvasti told a group of reporters last year that the government should start considering a nuclear power plant to shore up national energy security. Nuclear power, he said, would prove less expensive and produce less pollution than other options - presumably including doing deals with Myanmar's military junta.

Shawn L Nance is former deputy editor of the Irrawaddy news magazine. He is currently a freelance journalist based in Thailand.



The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Asia Times Online

Thai Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand says he intends to scrap the previous government's controversial multi-billion dollar plans to ramp up imports of hydroelectric power and natural gas from neighboring military-run Myanmar, signaling a potentially significant shift in which direction the region's energy flows and a possible new era of bilateral antagonism between the historical rivals.

On October 9, Piyasvasti, making the first public statement by a new minister, told a local radio station in little-noticed comments that "sweeping reform" was in store for the kingdom's energy policy, including bolstering the use of renewable fuel in power production and reconsidering major projects that aggravated social tensions, which had run high since the September 19 coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government.

Toward that end, Piyasvasti suggested that he would shelve long-standing and controversial plans to build a network of five hydropower dams on the Salween river system in Myanmar. At a cost that could exceed US$10 billion, the projects are provisionally designed to generate some 12,500 megawatts of power, about 85% of which would be delivered to Thailand.

Thailand's new energy czar, a widely respected technocrat and energy expert with a doctorate from the London School of Economics, reiterated that policy shift on Friday, telling a gathering of foreign investors and reporters in Bangkok that Thailand would aim to purchase more hydroelectric power from neighboring Laos and to explore for more offshore natural gas and oil in the Middle East and Africa, as well as closer to home in Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Notably, Piyasvasti omitted Myanmar from that list.

Under Thaksin, Piyasvasti was the deputy permanent secretary at the Prime Minister's Office until he resigned in 2003 after clashing with the premier over several policy issues, including the best way to privatize the state-owned electricity monopoly, the Electrical Generating Authority of Thailand Plc, or EGAT, and over the establishment of an independent regulatory commission to guard against possible monopolistic and collusive pricing behavior, which has long left consumers beholden to EGAT's pricing discretion.

Similarly, Thaksin's Myanmar strategy, known as "forward engagement", came under constant fire for placing commercial considerations over pressuring Myanmar's junta to move towards more democracy and human rights, and for throwing the pariah regime an economic lifeline that buffered it from economic sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union. Thaksin's policy pushed forward the controversial plans to build new hydropower projects on Myanmar's Salween and Tenasserim rivers.

In October 2005, Thaksin reportedly signed an agreement with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) regime for joint investment in the construction of the hydropower plants. And last June, EGAT officials traveled to Beijing to ink a memorandum of understanding with China's largest hydropower company, Sinohydro Corporation, to jointly develop the Hatgyi hydroelectric station on the Salween in Myanmar's Karen state, located about 40 kilometers from the Thai border.

Damming the Salween has been a lightning-rod issue since Thailand signed the first agreement in 1994 to purchase 1,500 megawatts from the project. The forced relocations of entire villages, slave labor to clear land and carry supplies for the army, and extrajudicial killings have all been part of the regime's military campaigns against ethnic Shan, Karen and Karenni resistance fighters. Those abuses have more recently been directed against civilians who live in areas near the proposed dam sites, according to human rights organizations.

Gas exploration in Myanmar is also a touchy issue. Petrodollars are the Myanmar regime's prime source of foreign exchange - accounting for some $2.5 billion, or about 33% of all foreign direct investment since 1998. Human-rights abuses associated with Myanmar gas projects are a perennial concern. Two years ago, US oil giant Unocal Corporation settled out of court two lawsuits filed in California in 1996 by 15 villagers in Myanmar who alleged that they suffered human rights abuses during construction of its joint-venture Yadana pipeline, which carries gas from the Andaman Sea to Thailand.

Highly coveted reserves
During Thaksin's tenure, Thailand had thrown its hat into the ring to develop Myanmar's controversial but highly coveted offshore gas reserves in the A1 and A3 blocks in the Bay of Bengal off the western Arakan coast.

In August, Thaksin took a delegation that included top energy officials to Myanmar's new capital at Naypyidaw to negotiate exclusive exploration rights for the two blocks for Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Plc, or PTTEP, a 66%-owned subsidiary of the state-controlled Petroleum Authority of Thailand, or PTT Plc. And on October 31, PTTEP announced it formally tendered a bidding application for a 15% to 20% stake in the two blocks, which are already being developed by a consortium led by South Korea's Daewoo International Corporation.

With several big state-owned Asian gas firms already vying for the undeveloped gas fields, the prevailing feeling is that PTTEP has joined the bidding too late. The Thai company, however, already currently takes all of Myanmar's natural gas exports from offshore reserves, piping more than one billion cubic feet of gas per day at a cost of some $1 billion per year, all from the Yadana and Yetagun projects in the Andaman Sea, in which it has a 25.5% and 19.3% interest, respectively.

PTTEP also owns the exclusive rights to explore for oil and natural gas in three projects in the Gulf of Martaban: the so-called M7 and M9 blocks, the M3 and M4 blocks and the M11 block. As the sole importer of Myanmar's gas, the company was long granted preferential treatment from the junta. But now, says a company official, they are "alarmed" at the new competition for the A1 and A3 blocks, which Daewoo estimates to have proven reserves of 5.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 10 Tcf, with up to 8.6 Tcf believed to be recoverable.

Daewoo signed a production-sharing contract in August 2000 with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise for A1 and has been exploring the A3 oil field since 2004. Daewoo owns a 60% stake in the project and is the major operator of the two blocks; state-owned Gas Authority of India Ltd, or GAIL, holds a 10% stake; India's ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has a 20% interest; and state-run KOGAS, from South Korea, owns the remaining 10%. PTTEP's opening came in September when Daewoo said it would announce by early 2007 whether it would divest a portion of its shares to the company.

Landing transportation rights for the gas may be trickier business. The South Korean firms have proposed to liquefy it at a yet unbuilt liquefying plant in Myanmar and ship it as liquefied natural gas (LNG). But the cost could be prohibitive and it could be several years before an LNG facility in Myanmar would come on-stream. Thus, constructing pipelines is the more likely option.

To that end, GAIL completed a detailed feasibility report in May for laying a $3 billion, 1,400-kilometer gas pipeline from the Myanmar port town of Sittwe to Gaya in Bihar, India, to supply its northeast with gas. And last December, PetroChina signed a memorandum of understanding with MOGE to build a 2,380-kilometer pipeline from Sittwe to Kunming in China's southwestern province of Yunnan.

If allowed to tie up with Daewoo as a minority equity partner, PTTEP would likely build a 1,100-kilometer underwater pipeline from the Bay of Bengal to join up with its existing 670-kilometer pipeline that currently brings gas to Thailand from Yadana and Yetagun. It would be part of the company's plans to spend 233 billion baht (US$6.16 billion) in the five years to 2010 to pump up output from existing gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand and to explore for new reserves abroad in offshore fields in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Oman, Algeria and South Africa.

Currently, more than 70% of electricity in Thailand is generated by natural gas, 30% of which is imported - all from Myanmar. With domestic production expected to peak in 2010 and domestic reserves expected to run dry in 30 years, Thai energy planners are scrambling for new sources of power.

With Thailand's own hydro capacity already maxed out, non-hydro renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biogases accounting for less than 1% of generation capacity and unlikely any time soon to play a significant role in power supply structure, and with coal-fired plants sure to stir up strong environmental opposition, Piyasvasti has admitted that for now, Thailand must depend on its neighbors, apart perhaps from Myanmar, to shore up its energy security.

The Malaysia-Thai Joint Development Area in the Gulf of Thailand is scheduled to come on stream next year and produce 700 million standard cubic feet per day of gas. PTTEP is also exploring gas and oil options in Indonesia's Nantuna field, considering building a pipeline from the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam and more recently is engaged in offshore exploration in Cambodia. Piyasvasti also said that the government would boost hydropower imports from Laos.

Even with other options in the cards, and with independent energy analysts claiming that Thailand's energy demand forecasts have been inflated by almost 50%, PTTEP officials who spoke with Asia Times Online still consider the A1 and A3 blocks "very strategic", thus heightening worries that they've entered the Myanmar hydrocarbons bonanza too late.

Political baggage
Another hangup could come from Thailand's new prime minister, retired army general Surayud Chulanont, who has long been at odds with the SPDC regime and so far looks to be in no hurry to patch things up. On his first foreign trip as premier, which took him to Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia in October, he snubbed Myanmar, to the dismay of PTTEP officials - though later, on the sidelines of the China-ASEAN summit in Nanning on November 1, he reportedly met with Myanmar Prime Minister Soe Win and tentatively scheduled a visit for later this month.

As army chief from 1998 to 2002, Surayud openly criticized Myanmar's government for its complicity in moving drugs into Thailand and he opposed moves to drive back the tens of thousands of refugees who had fled Myanmar for safety along the Thai border. More aggressively, in March 2002, he ordered one of Thailand's largest military operations in recent times, when Thai troops moved deep into Myanmar territory to destroy several drug labs and military bases controlled by the pro-junta militia the United Wa State Army.

Sources close to the SPDC say the Myanmar generals have never forgiven Surayud for that breach of sovereignty. To smooth cross-border ties, in 2002 Thaksin shuffled Surayud off to the symbolic post of supreme commander of the armed forces. Now a member of the Privy Council, the palace's top advisory body, and a staunch nationalist, Surayud's appointment as prime minister will likely not sit well with the junta's leaders.

Given India's and China's greater political leverage and their headstart in the gas sweepstakes, and the legacy of mistrust between the Thai and Myanmar governments, it's no wonder that a PTTEP spokesperson told the press last month that he was optimistic but "not fully confident" that the company would secure the rights to A1 and A3. A former Western diplomat with close ties to the junta's inner circle was less sanguine: "They [PTTEP] can forget about it."

With the gas deal precariously in the balance, attention has turned to the hydro projects, which until now continue despite the avowals of Thailand's new energy minister to scrap them. If all the dam projects go ahead, the Salween would become one of the world's most heavily dammed river systems in the world and would earn the regime plenty of cash to sustain its misrule.

Politics aside, one reason Piyasvasti wants to wean Thailand off Myanmar's energy, says a ministry insider, is that he is dubious of the Asian Development Bank-sponsored Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) integrated power grid, which hypothetically would link Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam in an energy-sharing pact.

He is also known to prefer bilateral deals to the multi-country arrangement proposed by the Asian Development Bank, which he feels lacks the legitimacy to tell individual GMS countries what to do. Skeptical of the economic and political sense of the project, Piyasvasti reportedly thought the GMS program would eventually run aground, according to the ministry insider.

But the project continues to move forward - to the point where several observers feel that the dams may be too far advanced to roll back the clock on the projects. The Hatgyi dam, for instance, would be the first on the 2,800 kilometer Salween, the last major free-flowing river in Southeast Asia. Its installed capacity could reach 1,500 megawatts at a cost exceeding $1 billion. Located in Myanmar's Karen state, some 30 kilometers from the Thai border, the dam is tentatively scheduled to be completed by 2013.

In December 2005, Thailand's EGAT signed a memorandum of agreement with Myanmar's Department of Hydropower, under the Ministry of Electric Power, for joint-investment and implementation of the Hutgyi dam construction to commence in late 2007. As with most of the dam and gas projects in Myanmar, details of the agreement were not disclosed. Highlighting the dangers that come with doing business in war-torn Myanmar, in May EGAT geologist Chana Mongplee was killed by a landmine explosion at an EGAT campsite near the proposed site.

China's leading hydropower company, Sinohydro Corporation, fueled by low-interest loans from state-run Chinese banks, is set to act as the major investor and contractor for the design, procurement and implementation of the Hatgyi dam. The Tasang dam, designed at 228 meters high with an installed capacity of 7,110 megawatts, would meanwhile be the biggest in Southeast Asia, bringing with it an estimated price tag of some $6 billion.

Planning is already at an advanced stage and several agreements have already been signed for financing its construction. Though located in the main area of conflict in Shan state where resistance forces have been fighting the Myanmar army for more than 40 years, and estimated to flood some 870 square kilometers of land, sources who live near the dam site say the construction continues on the road to the Nong Ook border crossing in Thailand and on land being cleared to build transmission lines to the country.

That construction is being carried out by Thailand's privately-owned and well-connected MDX Plc, a floundering real estate and infrastructure construction company based in Bangkok. One of its advisors, Subin Pinkayan, was the former commerce minister under the Chatichai Choonhavan government (1988-1991), which like Thaksin's government was ousted in a military coup.

A former MDX official who spoke with Asia Times Online believes that the Tasang and Hatgyi projects will carry on with or without Thai participation, though he added that building the other dams - the Weigyi and Dagwin dams in Karen state, and the Mong Hta dam in Shan state - would likely be too risky to secure financing.

Some energy experts now wonder whether Piyasvasti will really pull the plug on all the Myanmar mega-energy projects and if he does, whether his ministry can devise an economically viable solution to Thailand's pressing energy dilemma.

In his then capacity as chairman of Kasikorn Asset Management, Piyasvasti told a group of reporters last year that the government should start considering a nuclear power plant to shore up national energy security. Nuclear power, he said, would prove less expensive and produce less pollution than other options - presumably including doing deals with Myanmar's military junta.

Shawn L Nance is former deputy editor of the Irrawaddy news magazine. He is currently a freelance journalist based in Thailand.



The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Asia Times Online

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thailand

Bank of Thailand Takes Measures to Limit Foreign Baht Holdings

The Bank of Thailand is ready to come up with additional measures to prevent the baht speculation should there be an inflow of funds for speculation in an excessive amount, according to its Governor-designate Tarisa Watanagase.

She said the central bank's move to seek cooperation from financial institutions not to issue or sell baht-denominated bills of exchange of all kinds of maturity to non-resident customers is part of its efforts to curb the speculation on the local currency.

Allowing non-resident persons to hold the baht in an excessive amount might enable foreign investors to bring a lot of money into Thailand for a speculation purpose, she said.

"Should the non-resident persons be allowed to hold a baht-denominated B/E, the central bank will be unable to know an exact amount of baht foreign investors have in hand.

"According to an existing rule, the non-resident persons are allowed to have an amount of money in hand in an amount of not exceeding 300 million baht. Should they be allowed to hold B/Es too, they may have more baht in hand in an amount that the bank is unaware of," she said.

Mrs. Tarisa said the recent appreciation of the baht stemmed from an inflow of foreign capital into the country. Most funds are for local investment with a small amount for speculation on baht.

An influx of foreign capital into Asia, particularly in stock markets, was partly attributed to mounting worries by investors about the fragility of the United States economy thanks to a slowdown in the housing market in the country.
Last year, there was a net foreign capital inflow into Thailand of 39 billion baht. But in the first 10 months of this year, up to 113 billion baht had flown into the country.

The amount excludes funds flown into the country due to the implementation of free trade area (FTA) agreements and investment in the bond market.
Mrs. Tarisa said she believed more foreign capital would flow into Asian countries, particularly Thailand, since the stock prices remained low and a confidence in the country's situation had increased.

She added the central bank was ready to issue more measures to prevent the baht speculation if it found there was a lot of funds flown into the country for that purpose.

The Bank of Thailand is ready to come up with additional measures to prevent the baht speculation should there be an inflow of funds for speculation in an excessive amount, according to its Governor-designate Tarisa Watanagase.

She said the central bank's move to seek cooperation from financial institutions not to issue or sell baht-denominated bills of exchange of all kinds of maturity to non-resident customers is part of its efforts to curb the speculation on the local currency.

Allowing non-resident persons to hold the baht in an excessive amount might enable foreign investors to bring a lot of money into Thailand for a speculation purpose, she said.

"Should the non-resident persons be allowed to hold a baht-denominated B/E, the central bank will be unable to know an exact amount of baht foreign investors have in hand.

"According to an existing rule, the non-resident persons are allowed to have an amount of money in hand in an amount of not exceeding 300 million baht. Should they be allowed to hold B/Es too, they may have more baht in hand in an amount that the bank is unaware of," she said.

Mrs. Tarisa said the recent appreciation of the baht stemmed from an inflow of foreign capital into the country. Most funds are for local investment with a small amount for speculation on baht.

An influx of foreign capital into Asia, particularly in stock markets, was partly attributed to mounting worries by investors about the fragility of the United States economy thanks to a slowdown in the housing market in the country.
Last year, there was a net foreign capital inflow into Thailand of 39 billion baht. But in the first 10 months of this year, up to 113 billion baht had flown into the country.

The amount excludes funds flown into the country due to the implementation of free trade area (FTA) agreements and investment in the bond market.
Mrs. Tarisa said she believed more foreign capital would flow into Asian countries, particularly Thailand, since the stock prices remained low and a confidence in the country's situation had increased.

She added the central bank was ready to issue more measures to prevent the baht speculation if it found there was a lot of funds flown into the country for that purpose.

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thailand

Asian Market: Potential Risks Ahead

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

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thailand

GPF’s Capital Fund Size Almost Doubles in 5 Years

The Government Pension Fund's Secretary-General Visit Tantisunthorn on Monday revealed its capital fund size had increased almost doubly to 305.78 billion baht at current from 158.5 billion baht in 2001.

He said depositing money with GPF is considered a saving opportunity of member government officials.

It could help reduce state burdens and increase local investment, which could contribute to the country's economic growth.

Should members live their life sufficiently, set a clear target for money spending and saving, understand how to invest, he said, it would make the country's economy grow steadily.

In the past five years, he said, the number of GPF members had gradually increased to around 1.17 million.

On the 5-year performance result, he said GPF began managing the fund with 158.6 billion baht in 2001. At present, the fund rose almost doubly to 305.78 billion baht.

The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Day.

The Government Pension Fund's Secretary-General Visit Tantisunthorn on Monday revealed its capital fund size had increased almost doubly to 305.78 billion baht at current from 158.5 billion baht in 2001.

He said depositing money with GPF is considered a saving opportunity of member government officials.

It could help reduce state burdens and increase local investment, which could contribute to the country's economic growth.

Should members live their life sufficiently, set a clear target for money spending and saving, understand how to invest, he said, it would make the country's economy grow steadily.

In the past five years, he said, the number of GPF members had gradually increased to around 1.17 million.

On the 5-year performance result, he said GPF began managing the fund with 158.6 billion baht in 2001. At present, the fund rose almost doubly to 305.78 billion baht.

The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Day.

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thailand

Thai Entrepreneurs Urged to Improve Efficiency and Competitiveness

Thai entrepreneurs need to accelerate the improvement of efficiency and competitiveness in preparation for more currency exchange risks, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Kosit Panpiemras.

Speaking about the ongoing baht appreciation, he said the government saw a need to boost efficiency and competitiveness for the local entrepreneurs, which is part of the government's policy.

He said the improved efficiency would give the entrepreneurs immunity to any possible impacts from the baht volatility.

Should the entrepreneurs fail to adjust themselves, possible repercussions they would face would be more severe.

So, it is necessary for any entrepreneurs to build up their immunity to protect themselves from the currency exchange risks, he said.

The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Day.

Thai entrepreneurs need to accelerate the improvement of efficiency and competitiveness in preparation for more currency exchange risks, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Kosit Panpiemras.

Speaking about the ongoing baht appreciation, he said the government saw a need to boost efficiency and competitiveness for the local entrepreneurs, which is part of the government's policy.

He said the improved efficiency would give the entrepreneurs immunity to any possible impacts from the baht volatility.

Should the entrepreneurs fail to adjust themselves, possible repercussions they would face would be more severe.

So, it is necessary for any entrepreneurs to build up their immunity to protect themselves from the currency exchange risks, he said.

The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Day.

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thailand

Thai and Vietnamese Leaders Meet to Raise the Volume of Bilateral Trade

Thai Prime Minister, General Surayud Chulanont, stated that strengthening bilateral cooperation and relationships with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam would be the first priority for improving both parties' long-lasting relations.

During a meeting with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh, Surayud expressed gratitude for his warm reception. The premier echoed his intention that during the short period of his one-year administration, he would emphasize fostering relations with Vietnam and other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The prime minister and his Vietnamese counterpart will also discuss the ways in which the two countries can raise the amount of bilateral trade to five billion US dollars a year.

General Surayud left for Vietnam this morning on a one-day official visit which is the sixth in a series of his visits to member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reports Thaisnews.com.

Information Department Director-General Kitti Vasinond said the Thai and Vietnamese leaders are determined to jointly push the annual bilateral trade volume to five billion US dollars. General Surayud will also ask Vietnam to help facilitate investment from Thailand before they become a member of the World Trade Organization. The two leaders are also expected to discuss cooperation in the fields of public health including bird flu prevention, security matters as well as the promotion of people-to-people cooperation in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Thai-Vietnamese diplomatic relations.

Besides, Thailand will reaffirm commitments with Vietnam under multi-lateral framework, particularly its efforts to push for concrete cooperation under the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy or ACMECS.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont had already visited Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, in respective order, before his visit to Vietnam. The Information Department Director-General said leaders of Brunei Darussalam and Singapore have already confirmed their meetings with General Surayud on the sidelines of their participation in the ASEAN-China summit in Nanning, the People's Republic of China at the end of this month.

The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Day.

Thai Prime Minister, General Surayud Chulanont, stated that strengthening bilateral cooperation and relationships with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam would be the first priority for improving both parties' long-lasting relations.

During a meeting with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh, Surayud expressed gratitude for his warm reception. The premier echoed his intention that during the short period of his one-year administration, he would emphasize fostering relations with Vietnam and other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The prime minister and his Vietnamese counterpart will also discuss the ways in which the two countries can raise the amount of bilateral trade to five billion US dollars a year.

General Surayud left for Vietnam this morning on a one-day official visit which is the sixth in a series of his visits to member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reports Thaisnews.com.

Information Department Director-General Kitti Vasinond said the Thai and Vietnamese leaders are determined to jointly push the annual bilateral trade volume to five billion US dollars. General Surayud will also ask Vietnam to help facilitate investment from Thailand before they become a member of the World Trade Organization. The two leaders are also expected to discuss cooperation in the fields of public health including bird flu prevention, security matters as well as the promotion of people-to-people cooperation in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Thai-Vietnamese diplomatic relations.

Besides, Thailand will reaffirm commitments with Vietnam under multi-lateral framework, particularly its efforts to push for concrete cooperation under the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy or ACMECS.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont had already visited Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, in respective order, before his visit to Vietnam. The Information Department Director-General said leaders of Brunei Darussalam and Singapore have already confirmed their meetings with General Surayud on the sidelines of their participation in the ASEAN-China summit in Nanning, the People's Republic of China at the end of this month.

The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Day.

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thailand

ASEAN Countries Discuss Open Skies

Singapore's Prime Minister proposed an open skies agreement between China and ASEAN countries to be implemented in the coming year. Along with other sets of open-transit initiatives that are being planned, ASEAN hopes to work towards a free trade agreement with China by year 2010. With 1.7 billion people, this could be the world's biggest free trade area.

Singapore's Prime Minister proposed an open skies agreement between China and ASEAN countries to be implemented in the coming year. Along with other sets of open-transit initiatives that are being planned, ASEAN hopes to work towards a free trade agreement with China by year 2010. With 1.7 billion people, this could be the world's biggest free trade area.

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thailand

Asia: Stocks at a Five-Month High

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

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thailand

Nestl?e Sells Off Two Thai Factories

The Swiss Conglomerate Nestle licensed the Malaysia-based Fraser & Neave Berhad to take over the production of the three Nestle product categories, effective February 2007.

The Swiss Conglomerate Nestle licensed the Malaysia-based Fraser & Neave Berhad to take over the production of the three Nestle product categories, effective February 2007.

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thailand

Asian Bankers Push for Market Reforms

An Asian Development Bank official has stated that creating a region-wide free-trade area is a realistic goal in contrast to the hopes of establishing a common market, which is currently blocked by major obstacles.  According to the official, there are currently 183 free trade agreements either signed or in negotiation across Asia, where intra-regional trade has risen to 55% last year compared to ~40% in the early 1990's.  The ultimate goal would be "consolidating these various inter-Asian FTA's into a single, Asia-wide, best practices FTA."  Howeover, many domestic issues must be resolved before most countries would be able to fully open up their markets.

An Asian Development Bank official has stated that creating a region-wide free-trade area is a realistic goal in contrast to the hopes of establishing a common market, which is currently blocked by major obstacles.  According to the official, there are currently 183 free trade agreements either signed or in negotiation across Asia, where intra-regional trade has risen to 55% last year compared to ~40% in the early 1990's.  The ultimate goal would be "consolidating these various inter-Asian FTA's into a single, Asia-wide, best practices FTA."  Howeover, many domestic issues must be resolved before most countries would be able to fully open up their markets.

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thailand

EU Clears Malaysia of Dumping Accusation: China and Thailand Slapped with Duties

The EU has cleared Malaysia of allegations that they were dumping plastic bags (selling them at below production costs) to Europe.  An investigation was launched in June 2005 after European manufacturers complained that plastic bags exported from Asia were unfair competition, and adversely affected the local industry.  On Monday, the investigation cleared Malaysia but concluded that they would now impose duties of 28.8% and 14.3% on bags and sacks from China and Thailand, respectively.

The EU has cleared Malaysia of allegations that they were dumping plastic bags (selling them at below production costs) to Europe.  An investigation was launched in June 2005 after European manufacturers complained that plastic bags exported from Asia were unfair competition, and adversely affected the local industry.  On Monday, the investigation cleared Malaysia but concluded that they would now impose duties of 28.8% and 14.3% on bags and sacks from China and Thailand, respectively.

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thailand

Oil Prices Fall Below $60 in Asia

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

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thailand

Asia Stocks Strong, Thailand Takes a Hit

Following the military coup in Thailand, the Thai stock market fell today with some shares falling as much as 4.2%. However most of Asia seemed unaffected by the trouble in Thailand. With the Japanese automaker Toyota and Taiwan Semiconductor leading the way, the Asia stock market rose today. Also contributing to the Asia market success is the declining cost of oil, which dropped to below $60 a barrel.

Following the military coup in Thailand, the Thai stock market fell today with some shares falling as much as 4.2%. However most of Asia seemed unaffected by the trouble in Thailand. With the Japanese automaker Toyota and Taiwan Semiconductor leading the way, the Asia stock market rose today. Also contributing to the Asia market success is the declining cost of oil, which dropped to below $60 a barrel.

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thailand

Thai Airlines Not Hit Hard, Yet

Days after the military coup, airline travel to Thailand is still flying strong. With nearly half of its air travel related to tourism, many expected to see the Thai airlines take a hard hit.  According to International Air Transport Association's Giovanni Bisignani no major cancellations have occurred.  Thai still needs to liberalize the airline market by creating more open sky agreement to help keep airline industries out of the red.

Days after the military coup, airline travel to Thailand is still flying strong. With nearly half of its air travel related to tourism, many expected to see the Thai airlines take a hard hit.  According to International Air Transport Association's Giovanni Bisignani no major cancellations have occurred.  Thai still needs to liberalize the airline market by creating more open sky agreement to help keep airline industries out of the red.

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thailand

Currency Stabilizes in Thailand after Military Coup

The fear of a currency crisis by investors was subdued today as the Thai bhat showed signs of recovery.  After taking it's hardest hit in 3 years yesterday, the bhat only fell 0.1% to the dollar today. The Thai stock exchange and banks will be closed today, but will open tomorrow according to coup leaders.

The fear of a currency crisis by investors was subdued today as the Thai bhat showed signs of recovery.  After taking it's hardest hit in 3 years yesterday, the bhat only fell 0.1% to the dollar today. The Thai stock exchange and banks will be closed today, but will open tomorrow according to coup leaders.

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thailand

Currency Falters in Thailand after Military Coup

The Thailand baht fell 1.3%, the most in 4 years, after a military coup Tuesday. Stocks elsewhere dropped after the coup was carried out against the country's Prime Minster. Traders will be watching Thailand closely not forgetting the 1997 Asia currency crisis that began there.To learn details about the stock crash, please see this article at ABC News.

The Thailand baht fell 1.3%, the most in 4 years, after a military coup Tuesday. Stocks elsewhere dropped after the coup was carried out against the country's Prime Minster. Traders will be watching Thailand closely not forgetting the 1997 Asia currency crisis that began there.To learn details about the stock crash, please see this article at ABC News.

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thailand

Morgan Stanley Suggests Southeast Asian Currency

Morgan Stanely's Chief Asia Economist Andy Xie suggests purchase of some Southeast Asian currencies, as he expect them to grow more quickly than North Asian currencies. By the end of the month, Xie expect the following gains:Indonesia's Rupiah is expected to gain 1.7% to 9,000 per US$ with 14.9% on-year inflation.Thailand's Baht is expected to gain 0.7% to 37.20 per US$ with 3.8% on-year inflation.Malaysia's Ringgit is expected to gain 0.7% to 3.65 per US$ with 4.1% on-year inflation.On the other hand, South Korea's Won is expected to grow only 0.5% relative to the US$.

Morgan Stanely's Chief Asia Economist Andy Xie suggests purchase of some Southeast Asian currencies, as he expect them to grow more quickly than North Asian currencies. By the end of the month, Xie expect the following gains:Indonesia's Rupiah is expected to gain 1.7% to 9,000 per US$ with 14.9% on-year inflation.Thailand's Baht is expected to gain 0.7% to 37.20 per US$ with 3.8% on-year inflation.Malaysia's Ringgit is expected to gain 0.7% to 3.65 per US$ with 4.1% on-year inflation.On the other hand, South Korea's Won is expected to grow only 0.5% relative to the US$.

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thailand

Most Asian Markets Rise as Lower Oil Prices Boost Shares in Tokyo

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

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thailand

ASIA DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK 2007

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

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thailand

Thailand Expands Cargo Capabilities

Thailand's new Suvarnabhumi Airport will undergo major renovation to increase cargo-handling and logistical capabilities.  The plan includes 800,000 square meters of cargo space.

Thailand's new Suvarnabhumi Airport will undergo major renovation to increase cargo-handling and logistical capabilities.  The plan includes 800,000 square meters of cargo space.

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thailand

Thai Fiscal Policy Officer is Confident

While the rest of us are still worried about the rest of 2006, the Thai are getting excited about 2008-2009. Citing hopes of increased exports, improved tourism, and a positive balance of payments which had previously been in the red by 2% of GDP, Fiscal Policy Office's Director-General is getting excited for the years to come.

While the rest of us are still worried about the rest of 2006, the Thai are getting excited about 2008-2009. Citing hopes of increased exports, improved tourism, and a positive balance of payments which had previously been in the red by 2% of GDP, Fiscal Policy Office's Director-General is getting excited for the years to come.

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thailand

Asian Stocks Up During U.S. Trading

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

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thailand

Political Turmoil to Stunt Thai Economic Growth

Thai publication Business Day cites a report from the Thailand Development Research Institute stating that growth will be limited to 2.5-4% this year due to "political confusion."

Thai publication Business Day cites a report from the Thailand Development Research Institute stating that growth will be limited to 2.5-4% this year due to "political confusion."

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thailand

Thai exports reach record high for month of july.

Exports reached a record high of $11.15 billion in July, a 16.4% growth compared to the same period last year. Increases have come due to improved agricultural exports to the US, EU, and Japan. Despite the impressive performance, Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak says the Thai government is hoping for 17.5% growth this year.

Exports reached a record high of $11.15 billion in July, a 16.4% growth compared to the same period last year. Increases have come due to improved agricultural exports to the US, EU, and Japan. Despite the impressive performance, Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak says the Thai government is hoping for 17.5% growth this year.

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Other Important News In Thailand


ICBC Bank May Buy Stake in ACL Bank Pcl From Bangkok Bank

The Thai government may approve ICBC's bid to buy its shares in ACL, the Kao Hoon newspaper reported May 20, citing Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij. Korn said he will support the deal if the takeover benefits the Thai bank, according to the report.

Bangkok Bank Pcl, Thailand's biggest lender, agreed to sell its stake in ACL Bank Pcl to Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world's biggest bank by market value. "We are done with the talks, now it's up to the finance ministry," Kosit Panpiemras, the Thai bank's chairman, told reporters today, adding that ICBC also wants to buy the ministry's stake in ACL. Bangkok Bank said Nov. 21 it aimed to complete the sale of a 19.3 percent stake in ACL, worth $33 million at yesterday's close, to ICBC by the end of 2007. The deal was delayed pending a plan to raise overseas ownership limits in Thai banks to 49 percent. Thailand's government holds 30.6 percent of ACL. A deal would add to ICBC's emerging-market holdings as the state-owned bank continues an overseas expansion drive begun in 2006 with the purchase of 90 percent of PT Bank Halim Indonesia. The firm agreed to buy 79.9 percent of Macau's third-biggest bank in August and bought a fifth of South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. in October, the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese lender.

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Thai Exports Plunge but Improvement is Predicted

Thailand's exports for the month of May dropped dramatically since 1992 due to lack of demand for products. Shipments declined 26.6 percent from the prior year, according to the Commerce Ministry's Permanent Secretary Siripol Yodmuangcharoen.

Thailand's exports for the month of May dropped dramatically since 1992 due to lack of demand for products. Shipments declined 26.6 percent from the prior year, according to the Commerce Ministry's Permanent Secretary Siripol Yodmuangcharoen. An Economist at Capital Nomura Securities Pcl in Bangkok, Nuchjarin Panarode said the drop has steadied and other economic indicators support the prediction that exports may improve. Exports have fallen about 15-19 percent in 2009 and perhaps will continue to fall at a slower rate in the third quarter, but the Prime Minister asserts that exports will return to growth by the fourth quarter of the year. About 70 percent of Thailand's economy relies on shipments. A less severe drop in exports is predicted as companies like Hana Microelectronics Pcl and KCE Electronics Pcl ship more products. Thailand's industrial output actually increased in April since exporters' customers began rebuilding stockpiles, expecting a boost in demand. Richard Han, chief executive officer from Hana affirmed that demand had increased from April to May. They expect demand from China and the rest of the continent to help their exports. Since the country's imports are still relatively low, the economy will not worsen, and it might be positive for net exports, as stated by Capital Nomura's Nuchjarin.

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Thailand: Saha Calls For Subsidies

Saha Group, Thailand's biggest consumer products conglomerate, called for the government to provide subsidies to companies to help them save their workers from layoffs during the economic crisis.

Saha Group, Thailand's biggest consumer products conglomerate, called for the government to provide subsidies to companies to help them save their workers from layoffs during the economic crisis. Boonchai Chokwatana, president of Saha Pathanapibul, a subsidiary of Saha Group, said that the government should switch some of its intensive vocational training budget worth 6.9 trillion baht to help save workers from layoffs, arguing that training people does not guarantee them a job. The National Economic and Social Development Board predicted that Thailand would have at least 1 million unemployed people this year, about 2.5 percent of its workforce.

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Thailand: FTI Still Seeks B380m Retraining Budget

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is still seeking government approval for its proposed skill retraining budget worth 380 million baht.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is still seeking government approval for its proposed skill retraining budget worth 380 million baht. According to Taweekit Chaturacharoenkhun, the FTI deputy chairman overseeing employment, the Thai government has largely overlooked their proposal. The FTI's proposed projects were also not included in the 6.9 billion baht government budget allocated to curb unemployment. The 380 million baht would go to a pilot project to retrain 57,00 workers from 315 factories across all industries over four months.

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Thailand Trade Surplus Reaches 18-Year High

Thailand's trade surplus reached $3.58 billion in February, its widest trade surplus in 18 years.

Thailand's trade surplus reached $3.58 billion in February, its widest trade surplus in 18 years. The widening of the trade surplus is attributed to the 40.3% drop in imports, its sharpest drop in 11 years. The decline in imports reflects lower demand for raw materials among manufacturers and falling oil prices. The large decline in imports, particularly of raw materials and capital goods, signals that manufacturing exports are likely to decline in the next few months. Exports, which account for 70% of the economy, sank for the fourth consecutive month by 11.3% from a year ago to $11.73 billion.

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Thailand: 15 Years of Free Education Program Launched

The government distributed 18 billion baht among over 40,000 local schools throughout the country to start its program of 15-years free education on Wednesday.

The government distributed 18 billion baht among over 40,000 local schools throughout the country to start its program of 15-years free education on Wednesday. A total of 18.257 billion baht was transferred to public and private schools nationwide. The program aims to help alleviate the financial burden carried by parents and also help stimulate the economy. The money would benefit students from kindergarten to high school, including vocational education inside and outside the formal education system. The policy would cover fees for education, books, education tools, student uniforms and recreational activities for about 11.8 million students.

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Thailand Government Launches B1.4 Trillion Stimulus Budget

The Thai government is planning to invest 1.4 trillion baht over a span of three years to help boost its domestic economy amid falling exports and foreign investment inflows.

The Thai government is planning to invest 1.4 trillion baht over a span of three years to help boost its domestic economy amid falling exports and foreign investment inflows. The stimulus will focus on infrastructure projects, including mass transit and water supply development. The plan will be put to a cabinet meeting next week.

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Thailand Government Targets Telecom Concessions

Thailand's State Enterprise Policy Office recently proposed to create a holding company to manage telecom concessions owned by TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, two state-owned telecommunications firms.

Thailand's State Enterprise Policy Office recently proposed to create a holding company to manage telecom concessions owned by TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, two state-owned telecommunications firms. This arrangement could allow the government to make better use of the revenue-sharing payments made by private telecom operators. The new holding company would manage the concessions and collect earnings directly from private telecom operators before directing them to government coffers. This is crucial especially at the time when the Thai government has been struggling to collect taxes and other revenues in a weak economy.

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Thailand: Food Export Projection Worsens

The National Food Institute (NFI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries are expecting that food exports will drop by 15 percent from last year’s 778 billion baht to 661.2 billion baht this year.

The National Food Institute (NFI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries are expecting that food exports will drop by 15 percent from last year's 778 billion baht to 661.2 billion baht this year. Commodities will be hit the hardest this year due to the plunge in demand and prices for such goods.

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Thailand's Tax Revenue Falls 16.4% Under Goal

Taxes collected over the first five months of the Thai government's fiscal year fell short of its target by 16.4 percent, with only 451.53 billion baht received.

Taxes collected over the first five months of the Thai government's fiscal year fell short of its target by 16.4 percent, with only 451.53 billion baht received. Tax refunds were 19.6 percent above projections and up 29.4 percent over the same period last year, at 95.33 billion baht. These tax results reflect the global economic downturn and the government's policy of continuing to reduce the excise tax for oil. These reports on the most recent tax revenues come after the Thai cabinet approved a framework to borrow $2 billion to build infrastructure and boost the economy from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Japan Bank of International Cooperation.

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