BANGKOK - Bank of Ayudhya has predicted that the Thai economy next year will likely expand by 3.2% - 3.5% and the baht currency will move in a range of 36.50 - 37.50 baht against the USD.

Head of Global Markets Group at Bank of Ayudhya Tak Bunnag said the Thai economy would likely grow by 2.9% in 2015 with investment by the public sector as a main drive. Other factors positively impacted the Thai economy this year included the growing tourism sector as well as low oil price and interest rates, said the banker.

The fragile global economic recovery, agricultural product price drop, high household debt and volatile financial markets are among the Thai economy’s negative factors in 2015.

As for the direction of the Thai currency, it has a tendency to weaken in the next three months. The bank also predicted that the U.S. would increase policy interest rate for the first time mid December 2015, resulting in gradual strengthening of the baht. It added that Thailand’s benchmark rate would be stable at 1.5% with a tendency to rise at the end of 2016 when the economy recovered more.

BANGKOK - The government invites the public to watch movies in honor of His Majesty the King on 24 November 2015 at Aksara Theatre in Bangkok.

Prime Minister's Office Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul and Permant Secretary for the PM's Office Pol.Gen. Ek Angsananont on Wednesday presided over the press conference on the film screening. Two movies--"Kham Athitthan" and "Yai Boonma"--are based on true stories of the two people whose lives have been touched by HM the King.

The two movies are in Thai with English subtitle. Both of them have a run time of around 30 minutes. People who want to watch these free movies can reserve sests at the PM's Office Minister by dialing 02-2834728.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked members of the public to keep tourist attractions clean during the high season.

As the high season approaches, the prime minister said he had instructed all related ministries and agencies to ensure safety at various tourist sites as well as risk-prone areas such as airports, bus stations and piers.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is buying palm oil from farmers, pushing the price up by 1 baht per kilogram.

The director of Krabi power plant, operating under the supervision of EGAT, said that the plant has been buying a total of 15,000 tons of palm oil from local farmers since October. He said the plant uses up to 200 tons of oil to generate electricity.

As a result of recent purchases, he said the price of palm oil has risen from 23 baht to 24 baht per kilogram, which is very satisfactory.

According to the director, local farmers have been expressing wishes that the plant would continue to buy palm oil from them.

In response to the farmers’ request, the director said there would be consequences should EGAT continue to increase the amount of palm oil used to generate power. One of the consequences is that it could drive up the FT charge by 0.1 satang per unit, meaning electricity bills would be higher.

MANILA - The Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn have traveled to the Philippines' capital of Manila to attend the annual APEC Summit.

BANGKOK – The Cabinet has given the green light to the plan to develop Thailand into the regional hub for automotive research and testing.

Government Spokesperson Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd announced the results of the weekly Cabinet meeting, saying the Cabinet approved in principle the Finance Ministry’s measure to support Thailand in becoming the region’s center of research, development and performance testing for prototype vehicles.

The Finance Ministry eyes granting special privileges to qualified researchers through the exemption of import tariff, excise tax and value-added tax. The Excise Department has been tasked with overseeing the matter and assessing the eligibility of each operator for the tax waivers.

It is believed that the measure will cost the government a small portion of its revenue. However, it will in turn lend a great boost to investment, generate a number of job opportunities and raise the competitiveness of the Thai automotive sector.

BANGKOK - The Ministry of Public Health has coordinated with the Ministry of the Interior in establishing dengue fever resistance centers across the country, urging provincial health agencies to provide preventative measures in schools.

Public Health Minister Dr Sophon Mekthon said the new centers will be responsible for keeping track of the dengue fever situation in their respective provinces and issuing appropriate assistance measures.

The provinces of Phetchaburi, Rayong, Ratchaburi and Uthai Thani have reported large numbers of dengue-related cases. However, the rate of infection has dropped as the cold season approaches, from 7,000 cases per week in September to the current rate of 3,000.

In addition, the Ministry has asked public health agencies across the country to coordinate with schools in educating students on the dangers of dengue fever as well as preventative measures.

CHIANG MAI - A total of 135 flights both to and from Chiang Mai province have either been cancelled or rescheduled from November 24 - 26, in order to avoid floating lanterns which will be released during the Loy Krathong Festival.

The Chiang Mai provincial administrative organization had earlier announced a ban on floating lanterns in Mueang, Hang Dong, San Sai, Mae Rim and Sarapee districts. The ban has been temporarily lifted to boost tourism on November 25, Loy Krathong Day, and December 31, New Year’s Eve.

Floating lanterns are allowed in other districts under the condition that residents inform the Chiang Mai Air Traffic Control Centre and the Chiang Mai Airport at least seven days in advance.

So far, there have been 84 flights canceled between November 24 - 26, of which 72 were domestic flights.

Another 51 flights have rescheduled their arriving time. Travellers are strongly advised to consult their airlines to confirm the exact timetable.

NORTHEAST - Temperatures in Thailand’s northeastern region continue to drop, compromising the visibility of commercial routes and challenging the resilience of communities to cold weather. 

BANGKOK - The Thai and Japanese governments have affirmed their readiness to ensure tourism safety, amid global security threats

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai met with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida ahead of this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Manila, Philippines, scheduled to begin today. The two countries affirmed their bilateral ties in terms of both strategic and economic cooperation.

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