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Update January - March , 2020

Thailand News
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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern
Business News

Thailand faces workers ‘Layoffs’ on COVID-19 despite Govt. incentives

BANGKOK - Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has asked operators to continue employing their workers despite the economic slowdown resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mr Somkid made the request in his meeting with representatives of the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce at the Industry Ministry. They discussed the supplies of consumer products, face masks and alcohol.

“I would like the private sector to postpone layoffs; otherwise, workers would be in trouble. Please maintain employment at this moment for mutual survival although returns may be reduced,” the deputy prime minister said.

The government supported continuous employment by offering deductions worth three times of employment costs from operators’ taxable income, Mr Somkid said.

“This is a time of crisis. Layoffs would affect many workers,” he said.

In the meeting, the government and the private sector agreed to produce 10 million reusable cloth masks within two months and 1 million of them would be given to people free of charge.
The meeting acknowledged that there are enough alcohol spray and gel products for consumers and manufacturers would raise their production. Besides, there are enough supplies of instant foods, chicken and pork. (TNA)


Chonburi and EEC residents urged to lower water consumption by 10%, Deputy PM

BANGKOK - Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has urged companies and residents within the region of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to lower their water consumption as the fresh water supply in the area is running low.

General Prawit together with his advisors, who included all heads of departments responsible for managing water resources, and governors of related provinces, visited Chonburion Wednesday to inspect water supplies.

After the inspection, General Prawit shared that despite some precipitation which feeds water into the region’s reservoirs, the quantity is considered low which could lead to many areas within the EEC experiencing water shortages. To combat the threat, the officials have formulated urgent plans to manage the water supply to make sure that there is sufficient water to supply all individuals and businesses until the end of the drought season.

Secretary-General of the Office of National Water Resources Dr. Somkiat Prajamwong explained further that the government has created water networks to supply water to the three major reservoirs within the region, namely Prasae Reservoir and Nong Pla Lhai Reservoir in Rayong province, and Bang Phra Reservoir in Chonburi province. The three reservoirs will circulate a water supply to nearby streams while in turn pumping water from those resources to fill the reservoirs.

In preparation for the possibility of extreme shortages, the government is planning to purchase 14 million cubic meters of water from the private sector in the area, to feed into the system. Dr. Somkiat assured residents of the area that there would be sufficient water for consumption in the EEC until the end of May. However, residents and companies especially factories within the area, are urged to use water sparingly, ideally at least 10% less than their usual consumption, at this time. (NNT)


Thailand’s Commerce Min prosecutes ‘Lazada’ for allowing vendors to hike mask prices

BANGKOK (NNT) The Ministry of Commerce has instructed the relevant authorities to prosecute several vendors on Lazada, an online shopping platform, for price gouging in sales of face masks. The ministry has also warned dealers that overcharging for delivery fees is an offence.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, said today that the first of the three vendors is DD Pharma, a drugstore in Nakhon Pathom province. The drugstore was found to be stocking 28 packs of face masks. It was selling them for 1,100 baht per pack, or 22 baht per mask. The second vendor is 928 Shop in Bangkok. It was selling a pack of surgical masks for 1,099 baht, or 22 baht per mask. The third vendor is Appliance & Safety (NK), a shop in Nakhon Pathom province. It was selling a pack of masks for 1,299 baht, or 26 baht per mask.

Vendors who sell face masks at a price higher than the fixed price are subject to five years in prison or a fine of 100,000 baht, or both. As for price gouging, violators are subject to seven years imprisonment or a fine of up to 140,000 baht, or both.

The Ministry of Commerce is also taking legal action against the CEO of Lazada Thailand for collusion, and the same penalties will be applied.

The ministry has warned dealers that charging unreasonable delivery fees is also an offence, even if they are selling the masks at the control price of 2.5 baht per item.

Lazada Thailand later issued a statement, saying its services adhere to the government’s rules, regulations and policies to ensure a safe online community for all. Lazada Thailand has always supported the measures implemented by the Department of Internal Trade by supervising prices of different products, including face masks. It has closely followed the situation of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and related regulations, and has provided a better understanding with vendors on the platform. It has suspended the accounts of those selling face masks at inflated prices. People can contact Lazada immediately, if they see prohibited items listed on the platform.

Exports, drought, tourism pull Thailand’s economy growth to 1.1% in GDP

BANGKOK (TNA) The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) revises its projection on the Thai economic growth downwards from 2.8% to 1.1% this year on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic while consumers’ confidence was the lowest in 21 years in February.

UTCC president Thanavath Phonvichai said the university’s gross domestic product revision was based on COVID-19 spreading in regions and affecting tourism, exports and global trade. Besides, drought was affecting farm prices and people’s purchasing power and the country was experiencing political instability, he said.

The university predicted that exports would fall by 1% instead of growing by 0.8% as earlier anticipated. Tourism-related income would drop by 11.3% because arrivals would be falling. The prediction was based on the condition that the COVID-19 situation is relieved within May. If the critical situation continues until August, the GDP will grow 0.6%, exports will shrink by 1.5% and tourism-related income will fall by 18.9%.

The consumer confidence index in February declined for the 12th consecutive month to 64.8, the lowest in 21 years. Mr Thanavath attributed it to concerns about the spreading COVID-19 especially in the tourism sector, the National Economic and Social Development Council’s report on the lowest GDP growth in 21 quarters in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to the China-United States trade war and the drought-affected agricultural sector.

Other consumers’ sentiment indices fell to 52.5 for confidence in overall economy, 61.4 in job opportunities and 80.4 in future income, Mr Thanavath said. (TNA)

Thailand’s leading bank announces suspension of currency exchange service at branches and forex booths

KASIKORN BANK - Reference is made to the Notification of the Ministry of Public Health dated March 5, 2020, RE: Territories outside the Kingdom of Thailand defined as Disease Infected Zones of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, consisting of four countries, and the locations with continuing intensive spread of COVID-19, comprising five countries.

KASIKORN BANK has deemed that strict compliance with public health measures during the spread of the dangerous communicable disease, for concerted prevention, surveillance and control of the infection, is an essential civic duty. Therefore, KBank has halted the currency exchange service at all branches and Forex Booths nationwide, indefinitely, starting from 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 8, 2020. The suspension of the service will continue until the situation of the coronavirus outbreak improves significantly, as determined by the Ministry of Public Health.

Employees working at all Forex Booths that have been closed are ordered to self-quarantine at home for 14 days in accordance with the practical guidelines of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. As of now, no KBank employees have been found to be infected with COVID-19.

KBank has announced its decision to all parties concerned, including:

​​1. The Ministry of Public Health via the Department of Disease Control

2. The Bank of Thailand

3. Airports of Thailand PLC.

​4. King Power International Group (which is authorized to manage commercial activities within passenger terminals at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport and Phuket International Airport)

Issued on March 8, 2020


Note: Customers can use currency exchange service via KBank’s electronic channels as usual. 

Thailand’s Excise Dept exempts tax for hand sanitizers alcohol amid COVID-19 spread

BANGKOK (NNT)- The Excise Department has offered a tax exemption program for the processing of liqueur with 80% or more alcohol content to make hand sanitizers. A relaxation of ethanol sales regulations will be for 6 months to facilitate a capacity increase in the production of hand sanitizers amid the epidemic of COVID-19.

The Excise Department Director General Patchara Anuatasilpa said the department announced on 6 March a special guideline for companies to file 0% excise tax for liqueur with 80% or more alcohol content that has been processed into an ingredient to make hand sanitizers. This special guideline allows liqueur companies to donate their alcohol for the making of hand sanitizers.

The department is in the process of relaxing ethanol sale regulations, which will be valid until 30 September, specifically to help the production of hand sanitizing products.

The Excise Department chief said there are currently some 26 ethanol factories in Thailand, all capable of producing a total of 10 million liters monthly, with some 1 million liters excess each day. He said the current availability of ethanol is sufficient for the production of sanitizing products for the general public.

The department has received a donation of 300,000 liters of alcohol from ethanol manufacturers. It will be distributing this to the general public for free at 100 liters per day for 30 days, starting this month.

Govt postpones 1,000-baht cash handout to low-income earners, farmers

BANGKOK (TNA) The government has postponed the plan to consider 1,000-baht cash handouts for low-income earners to alleviate impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak, said Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha.

The cash handout of 1,000 baht for two months to three groups of people is proposed by the Finance Ministry among several measures as the economic stimulus package to help people affected by the outbreak. 

Three groups of people are low-income earners, farmers and independent workers.

The cash handout will not be raised for consideration at the Cabinet, scheduled on Tuesday. The plan is postponed indefinitely, the prime minister said after chairing a meeting with senior officials to address the Covid-19 problems.

He said the outbreak situation in Thailand was limited and the country was ranked 25th among more than 100 countries. 

Regarding Thai returnees from high risk countries, he said about 200 sites have been prepared for their quarantine but he denied to give further details on the locations.

To ease shortage of face masks, he said the probe found 11 manufacturers have production capacity of 38 million pieces a month or 1.2 million pieces per day. Out of all 1.2 million face masks, 700,000 pieces are sent for the medical sector and the remaining 500,000 face masks are supplied to the market.

Probes are being conducted for reports of hoarding and selling overpriced face masks, Gen Prayut said. 

He ordered the Industry Ministry to discuss with manufacturers to increase production by 20 million pieces to meet high demand. (TNA)

Thailand to paylow-income earners 1000 baht for two months to fight Covid-19 impacts


BANGKOK (NNT) - The Economic Minister’s Committee has approved remedial measures to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 virus. There will be 1000 baht payments for two consecutive months, made to low-income earners, starting in April.

The meeting of the Economic Minister’s Committee chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha approved the first set of remedial measures to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 virus. The measures will be submitted to the cabinet on March 10, 2020, to consider using them as temporary measures for 2-3 months, hoping to assist all affected groups. For two months 1000 baht payments, will be made to low-income earners to reduce their cost of living. The Prime Minister stressed that the government is ready to cooperate with all parties to overcome the problem. Initially, it is necessary to issue urgent assistance measures and spend money carefully.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak admitted that the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus has affected many groups including the manufacturing and service sector and not just the tourism sector. Once the first set of measures is launched, an evaluation will be conducted. If the situation has escalated, the government will launch a new set of measures to care for those affected. He admitted that the subsidy is only a part of all measures. At this time, all measures must be taken to take care of all sectors.

BGRIM endures economic downturn, virus impacts see good prospects for business expansion

BANGKOK (NNT) - B.Grimm Power Plc (BGRIM) appears to weather the economic downturn and adverse impact brought by COVID-19 outbreak almost unscathed so far.

BGRIM CEO Preeyanart Soontornwata summa rised the state of the leading private power producer of Thailand following the assessment of the situation to date and outlook.

She said: "January 2020’s figures showed while some of industrial customers such as some auto parts, reduced power off-take due to the economic condition, but we also see many customers boosted their power purchase from the increasing demand."

For instance, packaging firms like AJ Plast PLC and Universal Polybag increased power purchase in January by 20% over the same period last year.

Air conditioners and home appliances producers including Toshiba Consumer Products (Thailand) and Toshiba Carrier (Thailand) raised their purchase in the month by 9%, while new customer Tenma (Thailand) pushed overall delivery to the electronics group by 32%.

BGRIM is on course to expand its client’s long term contracts with 31 MW in additional power sales are set for sychronisation this year.

The company has lately clinched a deal to supply 8 MW to a new customer as part of the overall 31 MW due for delivery to users in Rayong Industrial Estate in 2020.

There are many good prospects for BGRIM to significantly expand its customer base in various industrial estates where there are 1,500 factories in operation and can become our customers.

Currently, there are 130 factories which have signed up for energy supplies from 17 BGRIM’s co-generation facilities.

"There are industries which require quality and reliable power supply including the data center business, petrochemical and steel which can well become our customers," Mrs Preeyanart pointed out. BGRIM is regularly monitoring the demand in the areas in need, she added.

Regarding the expected drought situation, BGRIM has implemented water management measures to optimise water use and conserve water resources in accordance with sustainability guidelines.

Most of the water that is used by BGRIM’s co-generation facilities comes from recycled process or being treated wastewater from industrial plants.

The company has also added procedures to recycle water from the production process to help save water resources as well.

The company is confident that it will be able to continuously produce reliable power and steam to meet the needs of customers throughout the year, she concluded.

Thailand to China ‘Fruit Exports’ flatten, local consumption driven

BANGKOK (TNA) Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset has ordered the Cooperative Promotion Department to quickly find markets for fruit farmers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The global COVID-19 outbreak was affecting Thai fruit exports to China that was the biggest fruit trading partner of Thailand in the past three years. Last year Thailand exported 12,251.16 tons of durian, mangosteen and longan worth 572.45 million baht to China but did not receive an order from the trading partner this year, Ms Mananya said.

According to her, Thailand will produce 3.07 million tons of fruits including durian, longan, mangosteen, rambutan and lychee this year. Durian, longan and mangosteen will form 84% of the total yields.
“Without relevant measures, there will be oversupplies and farmers will suffer from losses,” Ms Mananya said.

She ordered the Cooperative Promotion Department to quickly find ways to distribute local fruits. The department will work with 90 farmers’ cooperatives that usually gather fruits in 31 provinces. They have 95,321 farmers as their members. From April to September, the cooperatives are expected to distribute 40,000 tons of durian and 20,000 tons each of mangosteen and longan at reasonable prices.

Ms Mananya would seek a 414.20-million-baht budget from the government to facilitate the operations of the farmers’ cooperatives. There would be campaigns for the consumption of local fruits in major provinces including Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, KhonKaen, UbonRatchathani, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Surat Thani and Bangkok, she said.



Cabinet to assist tourism operators, ITB Berlin 2020 cancellation

BANGKOK (TNA) - The Thai cabinet on Tuesday will consider measures to help tourism operators affected by the current coronavirus outbreak.

Yuthasak Sup the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said tax measures will be proposed to the Cabinet, aiming to reduce expenses shouldered by the operators.

He said the TAT was informed of the cancellation of the International Tourism us Borse 2020 (ITB Berlin 2020), due to be held between March 4 – 8 at Berlin Expo Center City.

Over 10,000 tourism operators from 180 countries, including Thailand are earlier expected to participate in the event.

The ITB Berlin 2020, considered to be the largest tourism sales in the world, is cancelled due to the new coronavirus situation. Yuthasak said TAT will urgently give assistance to affected Thai tourism operators. (TNA)


BGRIM posts profit leap 215% in Q4’19, adding new clients and approving Bt0.22 dividend per share for 2H’19


BANGKOK (NNT) - B.Grimm Power Plc (BGRIM) reported a hefty profit rise in fourth-quarter 2019, fueled by higher capacity and additional customers.

BGRIM, a leading private power producer in Thailand, posted 2019 result with net profit in October-December of 816 million baht, with 409 million baht attributable to major shareholders, jumping by 215%. Normalized net profit in the period soared 118% to 832 million baht, 428 million baht of which was attributable to major shareholders which represented a 94.5% growth, according to BGRIM CEO Preeyanart Soontornwata.

For the whole year, BGRIM’s consolidated net profit was 3,977 million on a 20.6% increase in revenue from sales and services to 44,132 million baht.

Net earnings attributable to major shareholder were 2,331 million baht, up 25.1% from the previous year.

The robust 2019 results were driven by the 40% rise in production capacity from both local and international projects which were acquired or newly developed, as well as the fuel efficiency improvement of gas turbines at two co-generation facilities, and the reduction of financial cost by loan refinancing.

BGRIM has put in place a water management to ensure maximum benefits from water utilization in pursuance of conservation under the sustainability guidelines.

Most of the water that is used by BGRIM’s co-generation facilities comes from recycled process or being treated wastewater from industrial plants.

The company has also ensured that its generation is efficient to support effective water management in collaboration with the industrial estate operators.

This emphasis ensures that that water reserves kept at reservoirs of industrial parks are sufficient for operation until the rainy season.

BGRIM is confident that it will be able to continuously produce quality electricity and steam to meet the needs of existing and new industrial customers.

The company has a large number of world-class creditworthiness customers, resulting in its overall power sales to industrial customers in January 2020 remaining strong at a stable level comparing to the same period last year. There are new power purchasing agreements with new industrial clients with total volume of 23 MW, scheduled to start over the first seven months of this year.

Meanwhile, there are still demands from more than 1,000 potential clients in industrial estates at sites under operation or development which could well become potential clientele of the company.

BGRIM is confident of exceeding the 5,000 MW capacity target with joint venture investment in several projects being explored.

On the radar’s screen are gas-fired and renewable energy schemes in Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and other countries.

There are also many merger plans both at home and abroad under scrutiny.

BRGIM’s combined capacity of facilities in operation and under development current stands at 3,424 MW.

Some of projects under construction are the 16-MW Bo Thong wind farm, the 39-MW solar energy scheme in Cambodia, the 6-MW solar rooftop project in the Philippines and a 30-MW development for partners in Oman.

The year 2019 was noteworthy in the sense of recognition and acclaim with BGRIM winning ten awards in various fields from national and international organizations. These include Best Renewable Projects, Green Bond Financing, Best CEO and Best IR Team.

Together with seven other ESG and sustainability accolades. All these reflect BGRIM’s commitment and responsibility in the environment, society and governance for sustainable development.

BGRIM has declared a dividend of 0.22 baht per share for the second-half 2019, payable on May 11, 2020 to shareholders which the record date on March 13, 2020.

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 construction projects.

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 people.”

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 available.


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 related equipment.

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 Sorapong said.

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 Duangjai said.

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 August.


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 new coronavirus.

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 situation.

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 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 year.

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 maker.

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 buyers.

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 bikes.

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 on Thursday.

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 1,200 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 exported 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 1-2 weeks

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 recession.

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 year.


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 Bangkok Hotel

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 an analyst.

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 minister said.

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 parties. (TNA)


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 this month.

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 airline fuel.


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 office.

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 1.89-2.0 million.

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 Santisuk.             

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 Krungthep.
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 front.

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 government banks.

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. 

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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 economic sentiment.

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 million baht

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, 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.

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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.

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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.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 added.d.

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 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 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.

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