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Update January, 2020

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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern

Exports to Middle East performing well

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce reports that the value of Thai goods exported to the Middle East has continued to grow for a second month at 2.9 percent, with health products being the most popular item. However, the ministry has suggested exporters carefully manage risks presented by exchange rate fluctuations.


The Department of International Trade Promotion’s (DITP) Director General SomdetSusomboon, revealed today that the Middle East has become an important market for Thai exports, despite tension in the Gulf of Persia. Fresh and processed farm products, food, motor vehicles, and air conditioners now have great sales potential in this market, as trading partner countries such as Qatar and Bahrain are confident of the quality of Thai products, and have placed successive orders.

Key products exhibiting growth include vehicles and parts, air conditioning units, white sugar, processed seafood, and computers. Processed seafood from Thailand is of particular interest to many countries including those of the Middle East, along with health products which have proven to be popular in this region.

The DITP chief has suggested exporters be cautious of risks in currency exchange rates and increasing fuel prices. Exporters can seek more information by visiting the DITP website, or calling the DITP hotline 1169.

Finance Minister: Budget bill to solve economic issues, reduce inequality

BANGKOK (NNT) - A Senate meeting was held today to deliberate the government’s budget bill for the fiscal year of 2020. The Finance Minister, UttamaSavanayana, said the budget bill will help address economic issues, reduce inequality and create a foundation that is fair and accountable.

At the Senate meeting, the Finance Minister explained that the government drafted the budget bill in accordance with the national strategy, the economic development plan, the national reform plan and the national security policy. The bill integrates all functions of different ministries and agencies, strategically and operationally, to prevent budget misuse and redundancy.

The budget bill was drafted to steer the government’s work, so that the country will advance and the objectives will be met. This is an important stage for Thailand while it elevates its potential and reduces inequality and poverty comprehensively. The country will be able to respond to global changes.

Initially, 40 legislators signed up to take part in the budget bill debate. The Senate is required to approve or disapprove the bill within 20 days, starting January 13, according to Section 143 of the Thai constitution. The debate will be held until February 1, 2020.

SET promotes SMEs, startup fundraising via capital market

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is pursuing its initiative to encourage SMEs and startup businesses to raise funds via the capital market, expecting general investment this year to be challenged by external factors, urging investors to properly manage the risks.

SET President PakornPeetathawatchai said the SET aims to promote balanced growth due to technological changes in the capital market this year, by streamlining its services at One-Stop Service points for registered companies, as well as providing opportunities in Thailand and abroad through capital market connections with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The SET will be urging SMEs and startup companies to raise finds via capital markets, and improve regulations to provide better ease of doing businesses.

He said the overall investment scene in Thailand’s stock exchanges and capital markets will be subject to external challenges and fluctuations, such as the trade policies of major countries, central bank’s monetary policies, and international conflicts. Investors are advised to manage their risk my investing in more diverse assets, and adopt short and long term investment plans.

Stock markets of Thailand last year had an average daily trading figure at 53 billion baht, which resulted in the highest fluidity in ASEAN. Trade figures via TFEX have the average daily value of 430,000 contracts, which is the 26th biggest in the world. The IPO offers by Asset World Corporation to the general public, has broken a new record in Thailand of 380 billion baht, making it the largest funding by a real asset company in the world in the past 5 years.

BGRIM-Energy China Consortium to build the World’s Largest Hydro- Floating Solar Hybrid Project for EGAT

BANGKOK (NNT) - B.GRIMM POWER – ENERGY CHINA CONSORTIUM consists of B.Grimm Power Plc (BGRIM) together with China Energy Engineering Group Shanxi Electric Power Engineering Co., Ltd. (Energy China) have signed a EPC contract to build the World’s largest hydro-floating solar hybrid project for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

Under the Power Development Plan B.E. 2561-2580 (PDP2018), the first Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project has been implemented by EGAT at Sirindhorn Dam. B.GRIMM POWER – ENERGY CHINA CONSORTIUM as selected bidder with the deal worth over 842 million baht, will construct and install a 45-MW Solar Power Plant on water surface combines with existing Hydropower of EGAT.

Implementing this Project is an important co-friendly energy scheme that will encourage and strengthen the kingdom’s security of power supply.

EGAT’s Director Gen.SomsakRungsita Deputy Permanent Secretary for Defence representing EGAT Board of Directors presided over the signing ceremony which was inked by Mr.ThepparatTheppitak, EGAT Deputy Governor (Power Plant Development and Renewable Energy), BGRIM Chairman Dr. Harald Link, BGRIM CEO Mrs. PreeyanartSoontornwata, and Mr. Wang Xinping, Chairman of Energy China at the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok.

Gen.Somsak said the scheme of this Project creates synergy between solar and hydro power, representing an important step in the development of green energy in Thailand and resolve an uncertain electricity supply from renewable energy.

This Project’s development is consistent with the government’s policy to support electricity production from renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation according to the current Power Development Plan of Thailand (PDP2018).

Mr.Thepparat said that the Hybrid Hydro- Floating Solar for Sirindhorn Dam combine with solar power plant generate power from sunlight during the day along with hydropower controlling power output by the Energy Management System (EMS) allow continuous generation of electricity which will enhance reliability of the country’s overall power supply.

In the future, an energy storage system would potentially be applied with the project to increase more reliable for renewable energy production.

The solar panels selected for the Project are crystalline double glass module which is suitable for being installed on the surface of the water, also the solar panels, inverters and cables will be installed on HDPE plastic floating platform, with UV resistance ability, eco-friendly which is not dangerous to the environment and aquatic animals. The project will be installed cover the surface area over 450 rai with low cost of investment by sharing facilities with the existing transmission system, transformers, and high voltage substations etc.

The Project is expected to complete with 12 months from now and commercial operation date (COD) being set in December 2020.

BGRIM Chairman, Dr. Link said that entering into this contract marks another milestone for BGRIM to demonstrate its potential in engaging all dimensions of energy development.

He noted that the Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project at Sirindhorn Dam is regarded as a major step in the development of renewable energy in Thailand.

It also enables BGRIM to increase the potential and standards in the development of robust renewable energy business and serving government’s policies as well. Our participation in this Project will opens up opportunities other floating solar projects.

In partnership with a global partner, Energy China, as one of the world’s largest comprehensive energy solutions and a major state owned- conglomerate of the People Republic of China which has high potential and cost-effective advantages in procurement, providing with highest standard of engineering and of construction. We, the Consortium, confident that the project will achieve COD with international benchmark, Dr Link added.

Chinese New Year spending expected to decline

BANGKOK (TNA) - Consumer spending during the Chinese New Year is expected to contract for the first time in 12 years, says the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

UTCC President ThanavathPholvichai said the university’s latest survey showed that Thai people were concerned over economic uncertainties and had decided to cut their Chinese New Year spending.

Thais are expected to spend 57.6 billion baht, down 1.3% from the previous year, according to the survey.

Consumers anticipated further economic slowdown, negative results of drought and hazardous smog, he said, therefore they were more cautious about spending and travelling.

MrThanavath said such consumer behaviors could be described as “gloomy and unpleasant:” a big task for the government to address.(TNA)

Thailand, India reach trade agreements worth over THB2.78 billion


INDIA (TNA) - Thai and Indian business operators have reached trade agreements worth over THB2.78 billion during a high-level visit led by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce JurinLaksanawisit to Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Jurin revealed on Sunday, the last day of his five-day visit to India, that Thai private companies and their Indian counterparts successfully agreed on trade deals in business-matching events in the two cities.

Private sector representatives from over 80 Thai companies took part in the tour to Bengaluru and Hyderabad to expand trade opportunities and boost export.

It is one of the India visits organized by the International Trade Promotion Department after sending a trade delegation to Mumbai and Chennai in September last year.

The Ministry of Commerce under Jurin has consistently looked for new markets to replace current export markets during a global economic slowdown.

Jurin said he held talks with Indian officials on a proposal to establish a goods distribution center in Chennai.

His proactive policy set up ambitious plan to penetrate markets of Indian states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Talangana, New Delhi, West Bengal and the northeast states.(TNA) 

OSMEP says Thai SMEs to grow in 2020

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotions (OSMEP) has reported that the Thai economy is showing positive signs in early 2020, as startup entrepreneurs are learning ways to apply innovations and technology to enhance their business operations. The acting Director-General of the OSMEP, WimonkanKosumas, said today her agency expected the country’s economic growth to be 2.7 to 3.2% this year, while Thai SMEs are expected to grow 3.0 to 3.5%, thanks to the government’s economic stimulus measures and major infrastructure investments. Tourism and e-commerce are also expected to grow this year.

Risk factors for Thai SMEs include the global economic slowdown, the trade war between the United States and China, the baht’s appreciation, the high level of household debt and the problem of financial accessibility. However, businesses are adapting to the digital economy by creating new products, and this is a positive sign.

This year, the OSMEP continues to focus on equipping new entrepreneurs with greater knowledge on utilizing innovations and technology to strengthen their operations. The agency will also help Micro SMEs raise the quality standards of their products and services and use technology to expand their businesses. The OSMEP plans to increase the competency of some 380,000 SMEs this year.

The situation in the Middle East has affected some sectors, but demand for Thai SMEs’ food and consumer products is still high. The OSMEP is closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East.

BOT orders banks to revise interest rates

BANGKOK (NNT) - Good news for the general public and SMEs as the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has ordered commercial banks to revise their interest rates, and the fees they charge for their financial products and services including ATM and debit card fees, to help reduce the burden borne by customers.

The BOT now recommends commercial banks impose advance refinance fees on personal loans, with SME loans to be based on the remaining loan balance, as opposed to the entire loan amount, as well as offering a period of grace where fees are not imposed.

As for housing loans, SME loans, and personal loans, the interest rates for default cases will now be calculated on the amount due, as opposed to the remaining loan balance. A period of Grace will be offered to customers facing extraordinary circumstances. These new interest rate guidelines are effective from now until 31st December 2021.

Banks are now required to return customers annual ATM and debit card fees in cases of cancellation, by refunding the unused portion of the fee based on the time of year in all cases. With the issuance of replacement cards or pins, no fee should be collected unless there are significant costs associated with the replacement. This directive is effective indefinitely.

BOT Governor VeerathaiSantiprabhob said today the change in guidelines will help boost customer confidence in financial companies and the overall monetary system of the country. The Bank of Thailand will be asking the banks to revise their current interest rates and fees to reflect true costs, reduce the customers’ burden, reduce redundant fees, and fully disclose fees associated with other products and services.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] : 

Exports to Middle East performing well

Finance Minister: Budget bill to solve economic issues, reduce inequality

SET promotes SMEs, startup fundraising via capital market

BGRIM-Energy China Consortium to build the World’s Largest Hydro- Floating Solar Hybrid Project for EGAT

Chinese New Year spending expected to decline

Thailand, India reach trade agreements worth over THB2.78 billion

OSMEP says Thai SMEs to grow in 2020

BOT orders banks to revise interest rates