40 % of Local Construction Materials to Be Used for Railway Projects
BANGKOK (TNA) A new
self-reliance development strategy “Thai First” has been launched with the
first target to rely on 40 percent of Thai-made materials for railway
Fifteen public agencies and private enterprises signed
an agreement spearheaded by Thailand Institute of Scientific and
Technological Research on Wednesday.
The “Thai First” strategy is aimed at advancing
innovation and human resources development in order to become more
self-reliant in railway construction.
The agreement also set a target for using at least 40
percent of Thai-made materials worth THB7 billion within four years.
At present, Thailand was capable of manufacturing
powertrain, brake system and cabin equipment, said Sorapong Paitoonpong,
Director-general of Rail Transport Department.
Using domestically-manufactured parts and materials
could reduce maintenance cost and fare, he said. (TNA)
PM promises more economic stimulation packages
BANGKOK (TNA) Prime Minister
Prayut Chan-o-cha promised the government would issue more measures to
stimulate the national economy.
Gen Prayut made the promise in Nakhon Ratchasima
province where he visited people affected by the Feb 8 shooting rampage.
“The measures will focus on the promotion of domestic
tours but the important question is whether people have money to travel,”
the prime minister said.
“Please be strong and patient. The government will try
to work out suitable measures. Some measures may affect some groups of
Gen Prayut said that there were several factors that
obstructed economic stimulation measures and they included the novel
coronavirus outbreak that caused travel restriction.
Regarding economic stimulation for Nakhon Ratchasima,
the prime minister said that there would be sports events including running
and Muay Thai competitions as well as performances in the northeastern
province. Gen Prayut said that he would participate in the events when he is
Cabinet approves 1.7 billion baht budget for underwater electricity cable tunnel to Koh Tao
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Cabinet has approved a 1.7 billion baht budget
for a project to construct an underwater electricity cable tunnel from Koh
Pha Ngan to Kh Tao, in a bid to supply a rising demand for power.
Government Spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwan, explained
that 1.3 billion baht will be borrowed from local financial institutions,
and the Provincial Electricity Authority will fund the remaining amount.
She further clarified that the project will cover the
development of Koh Tao’s electricity grid, power distribution capacity and
stability, as the southern island welcomes a rising number of visitors each
year and enjoys expanding economic growth.
The three-year initiative that is expected to begin
next year involves the construction of a tunnel to house the cable, the
establishment of a power distribution system, and the installation of
The project was initially begun in 2014 but was
postponed until it was renewed by the current administration.
Thailand to Develop Local Railway Content, Personnel
BANGKOK (TNA) Government and private
organizations signed an agreement on academic cooperation to develop local
railway components and relevant personnel as the country is actively
expanding its railway networks.
Fifteen organizations took part in the signing. They
included the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research and
the Department of Rail Transport.
After the signing, Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher
Education Science Research and Innovation, said the local railway
development would cover both technology and personnel.
The participating organizations would develop local
railway technology and the production of rails and personnel that could
serve the growth of railways in the future, he said.
“Thailand is investing in railways including electric
railways and high-speed ones,” Mr Suvit said.
Sorapong Paitoonphong, director-general of the
Department of Rail Transport, said the cooperation was aimed at increasing
the proportion of local railway materials needed in railway projects to 40%
in three years. The expanded content would be worth about 7 billion baht.
“Today Thailand can produce transmission and brake
systems as well as equipment inside trains and the State Railway of Thailand
started to order locally made freight cars,” he said.
The development would expand related industries
including the steel industry and the use of local materials would cut
railway maintenance costs which required 9.6 billion baht per year
presently. The cost would exceed 15 billion baht a year in the future, Mr
The local content development could also help reduce
train fares for people, he added.
GWM Will use Thailand As Export Base
BANGKOK (TNA) The
secretary-general of the Board of Investment (BoI) said that Great Wall
Motors (GWM) of China that will take over the plant of General Motors (GM)
in Rayong province will product vehicles with higher technology and use
Thailand as a base for exports to Southeast Asia and Australia.
BoI secretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit sent her
message via the Facebook page, BoI News, referring to the report of GM’s
plan to stop producing Chevrolet vehicles in Thailand and sell its plant in
Rayong to GWM this year.
GWM would expand its investment in Thailand and use the
country as its base for exports to Southeast Asian nations and Australia.
“There will be investment in Thailand. Workers will be employed and the
personnel of the company will be trained to improve their skills,” Ms
She assured that BoI would cooperate with both
companies to make the transition smooth and develop industries in Thailand,
especially the automotive industry that would apply higher technology to
produce modern vehicles.
Ms Duangjai said that in Thailand GWM would produce
100,000 pickup trucks, sports utility vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric
vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) per year. Half the
outputs will be exported to many destinations including Europe, Southeast
Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She expected GWM production to start in the
first quarter of 2022. (TNA)
NESDB projects 1.5-2.5% economic growth this year
BANGKOK (NNT) - Following on
from last year, the Thai economy has already suffered from many negative
impacts such as the ongoing trade war, national drought disaster, and the
appreciating Thai baht, all of which has resulted in only 2.4 percent
economic growth. This year, the country’s economy is facing another big
concern from the COVID-19 virus situation. With help from the government’s
economic measures, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB)
is expecting the Thai economy this year to grow just 1.5-2.5 percent.
The NESDB Secretary General Tossaporn Sirisamphan has
released the Q4 2019 Thai economic report showing 1.6 percent growth, which
is the lowest in 21 quarters. The performance of the final quarter, means
2019 economic growth of 2.4 percent overall.
The NESDB cited the global economic slowdown, the
U.S.-China trade war, strong Thai currency, budget bill delays, and the
drought disaster to be the main affecting factors.
This year, the NESDB is projecting 1.5-2.5 percent
growth, which has been reduced from the previous 2.7-3.7 percent estimate.
This is due to the effects of the COVID-19 virus expected to remove at least
150 billion baht’s revenue from the tourism industry, should the situation
be under control by March. Drought disaster and government budget delays
also play their part. The slowly recovering global economy and trade are
expected to provide a positive push as the U.S.-China trade war is slowly
resolving itself, and Brexit concerns are more relaxed. These aspects are
expected to help the export sector grow by 1.4 percent.
Internal factors, resulting from the government’s
economic measures and investments are expected to help propel the economy,
with government investments expected to grow at 3.5 percent, and private
investments expected to grow at 3.6 percent. Household consumption is also
expected to grow as well.
Thailand considers CPTPP membership
BANGKOK (NNT) - The
International Economic Policy Committee has held a meeting chaired by Deputy
Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak to consider the pros and cons of Thailand
joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific
Partnership (CPTPP), as well as gathering public input. Outcomes from this
meeting will be proposed to the Cabinet for consideration within this April.
The Department of Trade Negotiations’ (DTN) Director
General Auramon Supthaweethum, said today that as a member of the CPTPP,
Thailand may gain an additional 0.12 percent GDP growth worth 13 billion
baht, however Thailand may lose 0.25 percent economic growth if it chooses
not to join the partnership, resulting in a loss of about 26 billion baht.
She said the CPTPP will provide opportunities for Thai
products to hit new markets in countries without existing FTA agreement with
Thailand, such as Canada and Mexico, while certain products such as rice,
rubber, canned pineapple, vehicles, and electronic appliances would benefit
from the new partnership.
The DTN is collecting related information to propose to
the Cabinet for consideration before this April, which should allow enough
time for the government to prepare should it decide to move forward with
CPTPP negotiations, at a ministerial meeting of member states scheduled for
New Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce head outlines policies
BANGKOK (NNT) - The new
President of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Narongsak
Puttapornmongkol, is promoting a policy supporting joint investment,
connecting the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eastern Economic Corridor
(EEC). He has expressed confidence that Chinese investment in Thailand will
grow, as the chamber is preparing measures to aid businesses impacted by the
The 27th Chairman of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of
Commerce, said today that he intends to elevate relations between the two
countries, especially in terms of trade and investment, and wants to link
the EEC in Thailand and China’s BRI. Mr. Narongsak said he will support
investment through Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and
voiced confidence investment by China in Thailand will increase this year,
noting his chamber will discuss clarification of foreign investment
regulations with the government.
On the impact of the coronavirus, Mr. Narongsak said
the epidemic will weigh on the Thai economy during the first two quarters,
especially on the tourism sector. One in four travelers to Thailand is from
China, or about 42 million people. Nonetheless, he said Thailand will be
able to handle the situation, pointing out infection rates in the kingdom
have already begun to drop. He believes however, that it will take three to
four months to fully recover from the effects of the virus.
Despite China being Thailand’s second largest
destination for exports, accounting for 904 billion baht in 2019, or 11.8%
of total export value, Mr. Narongsak said the coronavirus will have little
impact. He also believes the tourism sector will recover quickly from this
The chamber is now preparing measures to aid businesses
impacted by the virus and is coordinating with exporters with stock pending
export, so that shipments can be made to China. New markets are also being
sought to further aid operators.
Online mask sales under control
NONTHABURI (TNA) -- The Commerce Ministry convened online shopping
operators of Lazada, Shopee and jd.com sites and urged them to control the
prices of face masks sold on their platforms.
Commerce permanent secretary Bunyarit Kallayanamit said
the operators were told to control the prices of face masks made available
on their platforms by vendors and the operators were cooperative.
The operators would first issue warnings to the vendors
of overpriced masks and later remove defiant vendors from their websites.
The measure would start on Feb 12, Mr Bunyarit said.
He said that the measure also covered the vendors who
sold face masks via Facebook.
The Commerce Ministry had prosecuted 18 vendors mainly
for overpriced masks, Mr Bunyarit said.
Earlier the Internal Trade Department started to check
the prices, sales, stocks, imports and exports of face masks and asked
stores to limit the amounts of mask sold to individual buyers to ensure face
masks would be available for everyone, he said.
Besides, face masks were distributed to 800 Pracharat
stores nationwide as well as to stores in areas of high demand to guarantee
the availability, Mr Bunyarit said. (TNA)
Electric motorcycles boom last year
BANGKOK (TNA) -- The number of
registered electric motorcycles in Thailand soared by 12 times to 5,020 last
The Next Generation Automotive Research Center reported
that the registered electric motorcycles comprised 4,229 hybrid electric
vehicles and 791 battery electric vehicles.
In December last year 305 HEV motorcycles and 57 BEV
motorcycles were registered thanks to special promotions for teachers from a
In December last year motorcycle production in Thailand
rose by 7% year on year due to the production of commuter motorcycles and
sports motorcycles with engine capacities of over 400cc which rose near the
end of last year
On a yearly basis, motorcycle production was lower than
expected and motorcycle sales dropped by 17% because drought weakened
farmers’ purchasing power. The decline was obvious with commuter
motorcycles. Meanwhile, the sales of motorcycles with engine capacities of
251-399cc were growing steadily as they were gaining popularity among
Motorcycle exports by volume declined by 3% from the
previous year because exporters shifted from small motorcycles to big ones.
Their exports by value almost doubled.
Last year motorcycle production fell by 6% to 1.95
million. Local sales dropped 4% to 1.72 million. Export volume decreased 2%
to 364,050 units but value rose 26% to US$1.7 billion.
The Federation of Thai Industries predicted motorcycle
production would reach 2.1 million this year, rising by 8%. Local sales were
estimated at 1.7 million units, down 1% due to economic problems, and
exports should go up by 10% to 400,000 units thanks to the popularity of big
TCG to help guarantee 80,000 new SMEs this year
BANGKOK (NNT) - In an effort to help SMEs have better access to capital, the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG)
is this year offering credit guarantees of some 150 billion baht in loans
taken out by new SMEs from financial institutions, as well as providing a
refinance service for SMEs in trouble.
TCG’s President Rak Vorrakitpokatorn announced today
the TCG had set a 150 billion baht credit guarantee target to help some
83,500 new SMEs. The figures are based on an extension of the existing SMEs
credit guarantee campaign with a 60 billion baht credit limit.
The TCG aims to help SMEs facing financial trouble to
refinance, offering them a chance to continue their business activities
through an extension of the payback deadline, and payment postponement.
These services will, for the first time ever, be offered to clients with an
overdue payback record.
SMEs currently holding credit guarantees in the PGS5
and PGS7 campaigns will have their credit guarantee extended for 5 more
years, within the 70 billion baht credit limit. There are currently 5,000
TCG clients in both campaigns waiting for approval of their loans, worth
some 12.5 billion baht in total.
Since January, the TCG has helped delay the loan
payback deadline and refinancing of non-performing loans for 11,400 SMEs,
worth 18 billion baht in total. The campaign helps businesses maintain
better financial fluidity, by significantly reducing monthly payments, such
as from 500,000 baht to 150,000 baht per month.
Thailand seeks to regaining role as world’s largest rice exporter
BANGKOK (NNT) - After losing the
number one global rice exporter position for three years, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives has met with related agencies and rice
exporters to find measures to reclaim the top spot.
Speaking after a meeting with representatives from the
Rice Department, the Department of Foreign Trade, the Rice Exporters
Association of Thailand and rice sellers, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture
and Cooperatives Praphat Phothasoothon said the agencies and companies have
agreed to solve some cumulative issues in rice exports, as Thailand
currently does not produce new rice varieties which are currently in demand
in the global market.
The country’s rice exports have seen stronger
competition from Vietnam and Cambodia, with Myanmar expected to be even more
competitive in the future. This situation has lowered the usual 10 million
annual tons of rice exports from Thailand to only 7.5 million last year.
Most Thai rice varieties are white, hard rice which are
not in demand in foreign countries. Related departments will be working to
improve the varieties to meet customer demand.
At this meeting, related departments have been assigned
to formulate a drought response and rice farm zoning plan, to be completed
in two weeks, and to be implemented in the next farming season starting
around May. The Rice Department has been assigned to speed up research into
new rice varieties, in addition to the varieties recently introduced, in
order to meet the fast changing consumer demands. These research projects
will receive government funding.
For areas that are not suitable for rice farming, the
Department of Livestock Development will be holding a 3-year occupational
promotion campaign. This will help reduce the overall number of rice farms
in the country, to prevent oversupply, which affects the price.
Soft rice grains are now in more demand by global
customers, such as the PSL 07023-CNT-18-2-1-3 variety, which is being
planted in a pilot project by farmers in Phichit.
BOT cuts interest rate to record-low 1%
BANGKOK (TNA) - To cope with
economic woes including the new coronavirus outbreak, Thailand’s central
bank cuts its policy rate to 1 percent, the lowest since 2000.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of
Thailand (BOT) decided to lower the benchmark rate at its first meeting of
2020 on Wednesday.
MPC Secretary Titanun Mallikamas said the committee
members voted unanimously to cut the policy rate by 0.25 percentage point
from 1.25 to 1.00 percent effective immediately.
The MPC viewed that the economy faced downside risks
from the coronavirus outbreak, the delayed budget disbursement and the
drought that could be more severe than previously assessed, Titinun said.
Trade tensions and geopolitical risks also contributed
to high uncertainty affecting Thai economic outlook this year, added Titinun.
The impacts of the coronavirus outbreak would be
significant in the first half of this year as it affected the country’s
tourism industry, leading the MPC to predict much lower GDP growth than
previously forecast at 2.8 percent, he said.
Visitors from China, the biggest source of tourists in
Thailand, increased by 4.4% to 10.99 million last year.
The Committee’s decision was an accommodative monetary
policy stance that would alleviate the negative impacts, said Titinun. (TNA)
Face masks, hand sanitizersput on price-control list
BANGKOK (TNA) - Face masks and hand
sanitisers will be put on Thailand’s list of controlled products, effective
The Ministry of Commerce’s proposal has been approved
by the cabinet which will, among others, limit the export volume of the
products and require sellers and manufacturers to report their supplies.
On Wednesday, ministry officials called a meeting with
major retailers to inform them of new measures deriving from the decision
and assess the shortage situation. The retailers were asked to limit
purchase of face masks at no more than
10 per person.
So far, the ministry has received about
complaints about shortages of face masks. Members of the public are able to
report hoarding and overpricing of the products to the Ministry.
After the listing, export of over
500 pieces of face masks must be permitted by the Ministry. Thailand
220 million face masks last year.(TNA)
DPM Somkid asks GSB to help indebted govt employees
BANGKOK (NNT) - The government
is pursuing its goal to assist indebted government employees whose debts now
amount to 1 trillion baht in total. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid
Jatusripitak has ordered the Government Savings Bank (GSB) and Bank of
Thailand to offer assistance measures such as payment reductions and
refinancing. More details of these measures are expected to be available in
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has delivered
policies to GSB executives on the transformation of the bank into a
socially-conscious financial institution, which offers help to all people.
The DPM stressed the necessity to solve debt issues
among government employees, saying the GSB should work with the Bank of
Thailand to adopt feasible measures that help releive the financial burden
faced by government employees, to help them have a better quality of life.
The GSB President and CEO Chatchai Payuhanaveechai said
today the bank has offered loans to 1.18 million government employees, worth
in total 629 billion baht. These loans were mostly taken out by civil
servants at the Ministry of Education at 41 percent, or about 400 billion
baht. The total debt owed by government employees is some 1 trillion baht.
The GSB will be working to promote financial discipline
among its clients, pushing back payment deadlines and reducing the interest
late. Refinance will be offered to Non Performing Loan clients to improve
their situation. These measures are now being studied, and will be proposed
to the Ministry of Finance for further consideration within 1-2 weeks. The
measures will be officially introduced and implemented this year in March.
Budget bill delay lowers consumer confidence
BANGKOK (NNT) Concerns regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak and
the delay of the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget bill, are the main factors causing
a fall in consumer confidence, according to UTCC survey, making the January
2020 index hit 69-month low.
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC)
President Thanawat Polvichai has revealed that the January 2020 consumer
confidence index released by the university’s Center for Economic and
Business Forecasting (CEBF) was 67.3, showing 11 consecutive months of
The CEBF’s evaluation shows concerns about the outbreak
of novel coronavirus are affecting the people’s livelihood, business
operations, and the national economy, especially in the tourism sector;
while the delay in passing the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget bill may affect
planned disbursement schedules, which would inhibit new investment projects
from effectively stimulating the economy.
The forecasting center expects that concerns over the
noval coronavirus will continue to lessen consumer confidence. The center is
however retaining a national economic growth projection of 2.8 percent,
despite many challenges such as the coronavirus outbreak, global economic
slowdown, and the government budget delay.
The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee today
decided to further adjust the policy interest rate downwards by 0.25
percent, meaning the current policy rate has now dropped to 1 percent
annually due to the prospect of lower than expected economic growth this
Finance Min to implement measures to mitigate effects of coronavirus
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Cabinet has
approved the Ministry of Finance’s proposal to introduce monetary and
tax-related assistance policies to mitigate the side effects of the 2019
novel coronavirus outbreak in China, that has caused a tremor in global
public health and the world economy.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Lavaron
Sangsnit said today that the measures include extending the deadline for the
paying of taxes from March to June, doubling the tax reduction on expenses
incurred in organizing a seminar in Thailand this year, and reducing the
rate of excise tax on jet fuel.
He said the policy also offers an extension of the debt
payment period of state banks such as the Government Savings Bank, SME
Development Bank, Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, and
Government Housing Bank.
The Ministry expects these measures will stimulate the
Thai tourism economy amid the coronavirus outbreak, by increasing liquidity
and easing the financial burden of entrepreneurs and members of the public,
while also providing assistance to the tourism and aviation industries.
BGRIM CEO Wins Best CEO Award in Energy and Best Power Plant Project Developer
BANGKOK (NNT) - Mrs.Preeyanat
Soonthornwat (3rd from left), CEO of B.grimm Power Public Company Limited (BGRIM),
has been awarded the Best CEO in Energy Sector and the Best Power Plant
Project Developer – Solar for Phu Yen TTP Joint Stock Company’s power plant
project in the International Finance Utility Awards 2019 organized by Global
business and finance magazine “International Finance at the Waldorf Astoria
The Best CEO in Energy Sector award is the best award
given to the CEO of an energy business organization the has outstanding
leadership in the organization for international success.
Thai stocks to fluctuate in February due to Coronavirus Impact
BANGKOK (TNA) - Thai stocks will
fluctuate in February as an impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, says
KTB Securities Thailand’s Executive Chairman Win
Udomrachtavanich said he predicts continued downward trend this month.
But SET index, the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s key
index, would not hit a slump given strong liquidity and low policy interest
rate, he predicted.
Compared to the outbreaks of MERS and SARS in the past,
the stock market was under pressures for about two to three months, he said.
Not only coronavirus outbreak, the Thai economy also
faces many uncertainties such as those arising from drought problem,
government budget delay.
The SET index fell almost 100 points in January after
reaching its record high at 1,604.28.
Many expect the new coronavirus is expected to have a
wide-reaching impact on the Thai economy; not just tourism but also
manufacturing, exports, retail and agricultural sectors.
4th-phase cash giveaway to help tourism planned
PHATTHALUNG (TNA) -- The
government will launch its fourth-stage cash giveaway measure to boost
domestic tours as the novel coronavirus heavily reduces the number of
visitors to the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said that the
new cash giveaway measure would be submitted to the cabinet for approval
tomorrow to encourage Thai people to travel in the country while foreign
tourists were not paying a visit.
He said that Thailand was facing severely negative
economic factors including the novel coronavirus outbreak, global economic
problems and its delayed 2020 budget.
Apart from the local tourism promotion measure,
Thailand would have to take good care of Chinese tourists’ feelings so that
they would return when the viral outbreak was alleviated, the deputy prime
He also said that foreign investors were still
confident of Thai economic potential and if the present baht value was
maintained and the trade war between China and the United States was
relieved, Thai exports would pick up.
Mr Somkid urged government and opposition parties to
join forces to solve economic problems. He said people warmly welcomed the
politicians who could solve economic problems regardless of their political
Economic ministers meeting issues measures to cope with coronavirus
BANGKOK (NNT) - The latest
economic ministers meeting chaired by Prime Minister/Defense Minister Gen
Prayut Chan-o-cha has issued two measures to support the tourist industry
and cope with the effects of coronavirus infections from the beginning of
Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yutthasak
Supasorn, said today the urgent measure which is being implemented from
February to April calls for the creation of understanding with members of
the public and tourists that the Thai people are a top priority, while
alerts and information are being provided to tourists, with an upgraded One
Stop Service for them as well as assistance for tour business operators, and
a search for alternative tourist markets.
The long-term measure which will be implemented from
May calls for the setting up of an original Ease of Traveling Committee to
make preparations for tourists after the situation has returned to normal.
Kobsak Pootrakul, a deputy secretary general to the
prime minister, said assistance for tour business operators will initially
be provided by the Ministry of Finance with low-interest loans and extended
repayments while local administrative organizations will organize seminars
in the provinces to stimulate domestic tourism and introduce a tax cut for
Aid planned for virus-affected tour operators
BANGKOK (TNA) -- The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) discussed
the impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak on tourism and planned
assistance for affected operators.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn had the discussion with
representatives of airlines, the Thai Hotels Association, the Association of
Thai Travel Agents, and the Tourism Council of Thailand at the TAT head
After the meeting, he said that the Chinese
government’s decision to ban the outbound traffic of Chinese tour groups
caused the complete cancellation of hotel reservations by Chinese tour
groups and the reservations by independent Chinese travelers were halved.
The TAT governor predicted the number of Chinese arrivals would fall by
Mr Yuthasak said TAT would try to woo tourists from
other markets instead, for example, from Southeast Asian nations, Korea,
Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the United States and Canada. He
said the alternative markets had potential.
Besides, TAT would ask the Finance Ministry to cut fuel
tax for airlines, offer soft loans to affected operators, reduce the
passenger facility charge for visitors from the alternative markets, extend
visa-on-arrival fee exemption for visitors from India, Russia and China to
the end of this year.
Mr Yuthasak would propose the measures to the cabinet on Jan 31.
He still believed that Thailand would welcome 40.78
million visitors and generate 2.03 trillion baht, up 5% year-on-year, from
their arrivals this year as earlier expected. He estimated the overall
tourism-related income at 3.16 trillion baht. (TNA)
Finance Ministry projects 2.8% GDP growth this year
BANGKOK (TNA) --The Finance
Ministry revises its economic growth prediction downwards from 3.3% to 2.8%
this year due mainly to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Finance Ministry spokesman LavaronSangsnit said the
outbreak affected tourism as the global economic growth slowed down to 3.1%.
However, the ministry still believed that the gross domestic product growth
would be better than 2.5% last year.
The coronavirus outbreak added to negative factors like
economic slowdowns in the United States, Japan, Vietnam and China, he said.
According to Mr Lavaron, the number of visitors will be
declining in the next three months, from the normal level of 800,000 a
month. Usually visitors spend 50,000 baht each a month. To cope, the Finance
Ministry will work out measures to stimulate domestic tours.
Besides, the government is preparing its investment
projects so that they can start right when the 2020 budget bill is
legalized. Government investment would boost investment in the private
sector, MrLavaron said.
For exports, the Finance Ministry saw a growth pace of
1% this year, compared with a 3.2% decline last year, he said.
MrLavaron said important factors were the coronavirus, the Chinese economy,
trade negotiation between China and the United States, Brexit, interest
rates in developed countries and investment in the private sector.
Private sector sees lower GDP growth
BANGKOK (TNA) -- The Joint
Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking will revise its
projection of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth downwards due to many
factors including the novel coronavirus.
Representing the committee, Kalin Sarasin, chairman of
the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the committee was likely to revise the
2020 projection downwards from its previous range of 2.5-3% because the
economy was facing the virus outbreak, drought, national budget delay, smog
and strong baht.
However, he said that the Thai Chamber of Commerce had
confidence in the government's measures to cope with the viral outbreak and
it was communicating the government's guidelines to prevent the disease
transmission to its members. He praised hoteliers for screening their
customers for the disease in many provinces.
Mr Kalin urged the government to supply enough products
to help control the disease such as face masks, tissue paper and hand wash
gel for target groups including young children and elderly people in slum
communities as well as passengers at bus and boat terminals. (TNA)
Thai AirAsia affected by New Coronavirus
BANGKOK (TNA) – The novel
coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on airlines as Thai AirAsia projects a
three-per cent loss of revenue in the first quarter of this year from a drop
in passenger number by about 300,000.
Santisuk Klongchaiya, chief executive of Thai AirAsia (TAA)
said the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak prompted the airline to suspend three
daily direct flights to Wuhan and the Chinese government also ordered travel
agencies to suspend tours to contain virus outbreak.
These factors are likely to cause a drop in passenger
number by 200,000 in the first quarter and by about 300,000 persons,
including charter flights.
To create confidence among its passengers, Thai AirAsia
has adopted measures to ensure their safety by implementing thermal
screening for passengers, departing from China and Thailand and its aircraft
are fitted with HEPA Filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter), said
He said he believed that the new coronavirus outbreak
would only have a short –term impact and the state and private sectors could
have tourism stimulus plans to draw Chinese tourists back to Thailand after
the situation eases.
In the meantime, the airline eyes other travel routes
to replace Chinese markets and offset its loss. Destinations in southern
Japan such as Fukuoka have good potential and quite popular among Thai
tourists. Japanese people from this region are also interested to travel to
Thailand, he added. (TNA)
Bangkok sees sharp decline in Chinese tourists
BANGKOK (TNA) - The number of Chinese
tourists at popular tourist spots in Bangkok has decreased by half due to
the novel coronavirus outbreak.
According to officials at Temple of the Emerald Buddha
and Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, much fewer tourists from China who are
normally the largest group to visit showed up on Monday.
Since the new strain of coronavirus was reported, most
of Chinese group tours to Thailand have been cancelled.
A Thai tour guide said his Chinese tour group of 50
tourists visiting the Temple of the Emerald Buddha was from Shanghai; all
arrived in Thailand last week.
All of the group members had gone through a health
procedure that has been in place at Suvarnabhumi Airport since January 3.
Tour operators had been instructed to monitor their clients of any flu-like
symptoms and fever, he said.
The tour guide said his tour company had suspended
services to Chinese tourists.
Revenue loss from suspensions for tour services to
Chinese people has been estimated at over THB10 billion, according to the
Tourism Council of Thailand. (TNA)
PM wishes for 4% GDP growth
BANGKOK (TNA) -- Prime Minister
Prayut Chan-o-cha wishes the economy will grow by at least 4% this year
although the novel coronavirus outbreak is affecting tourism.
Gen Prayut voiced his expectation while opening the new head office of the
Federation of Thai Industries at Rajamangala University of Technology
Although the world economy was slowing down, the Thai economy should be
better than last year and he wished to see the growth pace of at least 4%,
Gen Prayut said.
The prime minister said his government had measures to
cope with the viral outbreak that was affecting tourism.
During the opening ceremony, Gen Prayut said he planned to form a committee
to receive proposals from FTI and the government would develop the proposals
to enhance the potential of Thai industries.
He suggested industrialists take baht appreciation as an opportunity to
import machinery to improve their businesses.
The new office of FTI covers 5,000 square meters. Founded 53 years ago, FTI
intends to promote Thai industries and economy. Its services cover 45
industrial clubs, 74 provincial branches, 11 industrial clusters and over
11,000 members. (TNA)
DPM Somkid to visit India to boost bilateral trade
(NNT) Deputy Prime Minister
Somkid Jatusripitak is scheduled to visit India this year to continue
boosting bilateral trade and investment. He said during his meeting with
India's ambassador to Thailand, SuchitraDurai, that both Thailand and India
have high potential to increase collaboration, especially on the economic
DPM Somkid orders Krungthai Bank to help SMEs, government employees
BANGKOK (NNT) - Krungthai Bank has been a major driver in the digital
transformation of the Thai economy and the government’s economic campaigns.
As it is a major financial institution under government supervision, Deputy
Prime Minister SomkidJatusripitak has ordered the bank to offer special
campaigns for SMEs and address government employees’ debt issues to
stimulate the economy.
During his visit to Krungthai Bank headquarters, Deputy
Prime Minister SomkidJatusripitak directed Krungthai Bank to offer special
loans to SMEs, which will help by adding more cash to the economy during the
slowdown and amidst uncertainties from the delayed 2020 Fiscal Year budget
bill. He also urged the bank to take special measures to help government
employees facing debt issues, which has long been a priority of the Prime
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The DPM asked the bank to consider offering mutual
refinance options together with the Government Savings Bank, the Government
Housing Bank, and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives,
and to consider reducing the interest rate.
Krungthai Bank President PayongSrivanich, said today it
is unlikely the bank can drop the interest rate in general as the rate
corresponds to the Bank of Thailand’s policy rate, and the current market
cash flow is quite tight.
He said however that the bank has been offering loans
for SMEs at reduced interest rate, while the suggested refinancing options
for government employees must depend on further discussions with other
Thai Industries Sentiment Index in December dropped to 91.7
BANGKOK (TNA) -The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in December
dropped to 91.7, wilting under pressure from the global economic
fluctuations, drought situation and strong baht.
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman
SupantMongkolsuthree reported on Wednesday the TISI survey which involved
companies in several industries.
He said the private companies were worried about the
lower domestic demands stemming drought-effect on agricultural products.
External economic situations and baht appreciation had
also limited the country's exports, he said.
The TISI in December stood at 91.7 points, down from
92.3 in November.
Looking ahead, the FTI predicted the TISI to reach
100.1 points over the next three months, given other risks pressuring
Suphant said the FTI recommend the government to
speedily implement measures to battle drought. (TNA)
GH Bank to comply with BOT’s new regulations to help home buyers
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Bank of
Thailand (BOT) has announced its decision to ease mortgage lending rules to
help first-hand and used home buyers seek loans. The decision came into
effect on Jan 20.
The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 100% remains unchanged
for buyers of homes worth less than 10 million baht, but they can borrow an
extra 10% of the collateral value. For buyers of homes valued at more than
10 million baht, they can now make a down-payment of at least 10%, down from
the previous 20%.
Buyers of second houses worth less than 10 million baht
can make a down-payment of 10%, if the mortgage on the first home has been
paid off for at least two years. The previous requirement was three years.
The BOT has adjusted its funding regulations to help people who want to seek
more loans to buy houses priced below 10 million baht and those who wish to
borrow to build houses on legal land.
The President of the Government Housing (GH) Bank,
ChatchaiSirilai, said today his bank is ready to comply with the BOT’s new
regulations to help people who want to own their own home, especially low
and middle-income owners as well as civil servants. The new regulations will
benefit buyers of homes worth less than 10 million baht, and they can borrow
an extra 10% of collateral value for the purchase of furniture. Previously,
a buyer of a house worth 1 million baht could borrow no more than 900,000
baht. Under the new regulations, the lending ceiling is raised to 1.1
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.s.
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.n.
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 www.ditp.go.th, 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
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
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
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
In the future, an energy storage system would
potentially be applied with the project to increase more reliable for
renewable energy production.n.
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
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
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
Thailand, India reach trade agreements worth over THB2.78 billionon
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
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
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
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
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