Finance Ministry assures strong baht not yet hurting exports
Finance Minister Suchart Jaovisidha is assuring exporters
that the strong baht is unlikely to be a hindrance to exports for the near
Traders anticipated the Bank of Thailand (BOT) will
intervene to avoid the strengthening of the baht and its negative impact on
the country’s economic growth.
The US dollar has been reeling from the slowing US
economy and the sell-off of dollar contracts by global fund manager George
Thailand’s economic growth is largely dependent on
exports and domestic consumption. Export and industry analysts have been
concerned about the strengthening of the Thai baht against the US dollar.
"The weaker dollar is a result from heavy selling.
However, it is not weak enough to create any adverse effect at the
moment," said the finance minister.
Suchart conceded that if the dollar becomes too weak it
will have some impact on the world economy, particularly the economy of
European countries. He added that Soros, who had been offloading his dollar
accounts, has predicted that the weak dollar could do serious damage to
Suchart admitted that a stronger baht could raise the
price of Thai goods. "But it will also help lower the price of imported
oil" he said.
on investing in Thai SMEs
A recent investment road show in Japan revealed many
small- and medium-size enterprises in Japan have shown interest in boosting
investment and trade with Thai counterparts, according to the Board of
Board of Investment (BOI) secretary general Sompong
Wanapa said, "Many Japanese investors would like to invest,
particularly in Thailand’s automobile and electronics industries. It is
possible more than 100 SMEs could decide to follow major investors in
shifting their investment to Thailand this year."
Discussions with potential Japanese investors revealed
the epidemic of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has renewed their
interest in investing in Thailand after they had previously focused
investment on China.
The BOI chief said meetings with several major
electronics operators in United States also proved fruitful, saying they
showed interest in shifting their production base, particularly for
hard-disk products, to Thailand. To give the investors confidence, BOI said
it might need to plan a road show in the US again. (TNA)
Lack of computer use
hampers Thai businesses
Thai businesses are not growing as fast as they should
due to an extremely low level of computer and information technology use,
with nearly 46 percent of businesses surveyed failing to use computers in
their day-to-day operations, according to a recent report published by the
University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
Thanawan Pholwichai, director of the UTCC’ s Center for
Economic and Business Forecasting, said that a recent survey of 608
businesses in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces, ranging from small and
medium-sized enterprises to large-scale companies, showed that as many as
46.4 percent did not use computers.
Thanawan said that Thailand should focus on product
innovation and quality, rather than trying to compete with low prices.
Computer usage in Thailand is extremely low compared to
other countries, where the use of computers reduces costs and facilitates
communication. Many Thai companies see computers as high initial costs. They
also lack skilled personnel and the high budgets needed to train them.
The survey found that in the trade sector 47 percent of
companies did not use computers, compared to 31 percent in the service
sector and 20 percent in the manufacturing sector. Moreover, most computers
were used for data and accounting operations, and few companies had plans to
use computers to expand their businesses.
PTT predicts fuel demand
will exceed supply
PTT’s president Viset Choopiban recently stated that
demand for natural gas among local power producers is likely to exceed its
original projection on the back of a continued economic recovery of economy.
PTT is Thailand’s largest oil and gas conglomerate and has projected it
may not have enough natural gas to supply local power plants in the next two
to three years.
"To meet the rising demand for natural gas among
local power producers, PTT will speed up its construction of a third
pipeline network linking its sources in the Gulf of Thailand to onshore
points in the southern province of Songkhla," said Viset.
The investment cost for PTT’s third pipeline is based
on a growth of about 3 percent a year for the Thai economy over the next 6
years; however growth has been greater than expected.
PTT’s vice-president Prasert Bunsumpun said PTT’s
existing dual main gas pipelines can pipe a maximum of 2,700 million cubic
feet daily of natural gas. But if growth continues at its present rate local
power producers’ demand is likely to reach 50 million cubic feet daily, a
demand higher than PTT can supply.
Prasert projected domestic power producers will continue
to use natural gas of around 2,750 million cubic feet daily for fueling
their power plants until 2005. Then the industry may need about 1,000 liters
of bunker oil a year to fuel their power plants to make up for the
Fair Properties opens their second branch office
At the auspicious hour of 9.09 a.m. on May 29 directors
and staff of Fair Properties opened their second office on Pratamnak Road in
auspicious hour of 9.09 a.m. on May 29 directors and staff of Fair
Properties opened their second office on Pratamnak Road in South Pattaya.
abbot of Wat Huay Yai, Phra Khru Patrakijviboon blessed the new office under
Friends, family and business associates turned up to wish
the company and its directors well in their new office, presenting flowers
and cards of congratulations.
Heading up the religious ceremonies was the abbot of Wat
Huay Yai, Phra Khru Patrakijviboon who blessed the new office under
Fair Properties is owned and operated by Thai and Dutch
businesspeople dealing in the huge property market in Pattaya. The company
also provides management services as well as sales and rentals of land,
houses and condominiums.
The main office is located on Thappraya Road in Jomtien, in front of the
View Talay complex. Company representatives said that they aim to provide
straightforward service to their clients and have over 10 years experience
in the property industry.
Bechtel/Sinopec Engineering/Foster Wheeler Consortium implements $4.3 billion
petrochemical project in southern China
BSF, a consortium of Bechtel Petroleum & Chemical of
the USA, Sinopec Engineering Inc. (SEI) of China, and Foster Wheeler Energy
Limited of the UK recently announced it has been appointed as the project
management contractor by CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Ltd. (CSPC)
for the implementation phase of a world-scale $4.3 billion petrochemicals
complex in China’s Guangdong province. The award follows BSF’s
successful completion of the project’s 17-month definition phase.
The CSPC Nanhai Petrochemicals Project is the largest
Sino-foreign investment in China to date. Located in Daya Bay, Huizhou
Municipality of Guangdong province, the greenfield project will involve the
construction of an ethylene cracker with a capacity of 800,000 tons per
annum (tpa), together with other process units, power generation, utilities
and infrastructure. The complex will produce styrene monomer, propylene
oxide, ethylene glycol, polypropylene, low-density polyethylene, linear
low-density polyethylene/high-density polyethylene.
In total, the complex will produce some 2.3 million tpa
of products primarily for the Guangdong province and the high consumption
areas of China’s coastal economic zones. The complex is scheduled to start
operations at the end of 2005.
Poultry firms further limit chicken supply to market
The poultry industry recently agreed to extend a limit on
the supply of chickens to the market for another 10 weeks in hopes of
The decision came in wake of a recent outbreak of the
highly infectious bird flu in key competitors China and the Netherlands.
Thai chicken exporters now expect greater demand from Europe and Japan in
coming months because of the incident.
Worried about a plunge in prices over last two years, the
Thai poultry industry agreed in March of this year to cut chicken supply by
15 percent until May 25. That brought production down to 18 million chickens
The Broiler Breeder Association said the measure was
introduced to force the export price of chicken up to about $2,200 per ton
from $1,150 at the beginning of this year.
The association’s president Sooksunt Jiumjaiswanglerg
said, "All the country’s 27 chicken raisers and exporters have agreed
to extend the limit for another 10 weeks. We are hoping that the price of
export chicken will rise during the second and third quarter of the
After the European Union found traces of banned chemicals
in Thai shipments and imposed strict testing measures, prices of Thai
poultry products fell nearly 30 percent.
Sooksunt said he expected greater demand from Europe and
Japan after the bird flu outbreak in China and the Netherlands, where around
25 million birds have been slaughtered. (TNA)
Japan grants GSP for more Thai products
Thai exporters will join with others in developing
nations in enjoying Japan’s generalized system of preference (GSP), as
Tokyo has announced to grant the GSP for more imported products from the
Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade
Rachane Potjanasuntorn said that the Japanese government has agreed to grant
the GSP for more 119 items of products from developing countries.
"Thailand is classified as a developing country, so Thai exporters will
join their counterparts from other developing countries in enjoying the GSP",
Tokyo had also granted its GSP for another 198 items of
products to the least developed countries.
"For the least developed countries, there will be no
import tariffs and quotas for their exports of the 198 items of products to
the Japanese market. The products include farm and fishery goods. For
developing countries, there will be no quota or quantitative and value
ceilings for the farm products. But for industrial products, exporters will
enjoy tariff exemption or lower tariffs, with overall imported quota for all
countries, called the ‘global ceiling’", Rachane said. (TNA)
Cold climate mushrooms
cultivated for export
The Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological
Research (TISTR) has successfully developed and cultivated 10 species of
cold climate mushrooms with nutritional and health benefits for export and
Dr.Birasak Varasundharosoth, Governor of TISTR said the
institute had been conducting research on cold climate mushrooms since 1969.
The production, he said, has not only decreased the ratio of imported
mushrooms but it also supplies exports to the world market.
The species of mushrooms cultured by the TISTR are
Shiitake Mushroom, Button Mushroom, Golden Mushroom, Shimeji Mushroom, King
Oyster Mushroom, Oyster Mushroom, Monkey Head Mushroom, Yanagi Mushroom,
Nameko Mushroom, and Maitake Mushroom.
After technology for growing Shiitake Mushroom, Button
Mushroom, and Golden Mushroom has been transferred to local farmers,
consumers can eventually buy mushrooms at the lower prices. (TNA)
Central bank admits to baht intervention
Bank of Thailand (BOT) governor MR Pridayatorn Devakula
has conceded that the central bank was intervening in the price of the baht
to prevent over-appreciation, ending weeks of insistence that the currency
would be left to fend for itself.
Pridayatorn said, "Recently there has been a huge
influx of foreign currency into Thailand, flooding in at the beginning of
May. The BOT has had to ensure that the baht does not rise too much. It is
not yet clear where the influx of foreign currency has come from. It’s
possible that the Thai stock market or economy have been seen to improve.
But it’s an influx of real money. You can see this from the strengthening
of official capital reserves, and the continual increase of the stock market
index. These factors in conjunction with the depreciation of the US dollar
and the strengthening of the Euro have led to the appreciation of the baht,"
However, the central bank maintained that Thailand had
retained its competitive edge over neighboring countries, as other
currencies in the region were following in the same direction. (TNA)