Archive for August, 2007

Mega projects : mega financing problems…

Bad day for the boiling room.

Do you remember the “mega projects” ? It started with Thaksin, by the end of 2004, as a hilarious saga. They were speaking about HUNDRED OF KILOMETERS of mass transportation lines… Grandiose budget started from 500 billions THB ! Then 270. Then 200. Then… 160.
Anyway. Right after the Coup last september, the Junta decided to board the same boat. But had to reduce the size of it (the boat). Now it’s 3 train lines, worth in total 160 billions THB. Reality principle I guess. But always a good political tool.

From a civil engineering challenge the whole idea has turned therefore into a mystic Holy Grail. Continue reading ‘Mega projects : mega financing problems…’

YouTube : ban lifted… but other websites still censored

It’s official. The IT Minister announces that the ban on YouTube is lifted.

Quick reminder : last april, thai authorities banned YouTube in Thailand after they found some videos offensive to the King (read here and here).

In front of such censorship, the controversy echoed worldwide, and put the the Junta in difficulty.

Anyway. 4 month after, here it is : YouTube is available again. Continue reading ‘YouTube : ban lifted… but other websites still censored’

GDP : boost of government’s spendings

The Fiscal Policy Office released its Monthly Economic Report for july.

-VAT collection : up 1,8 year on year, compare to -0,5 y-o-y in june. They say that it shows an improvement of consumption… Very optimistic view in my opinion…

-Private investment indicators in July grew at a slower pace. Indicator of investment in equipment and machinery as seen from import of capital goods fell by –3.3% (y-o-y), while the indicator of investment in construction sector from real-estate tax collection grew at a slower pace at 1.8% from 6.6% (y-o-y) in June.

-export value recorded at USD 11.8 billion, growing by 5.9% (y-o-y), significantly declined from 17.7% (y-o-y) growth in June.

And the big piece now : Continue reading ‘GDP : boost of government’s spendings’

Interest rate : BOT on hold

The Bank of Thailand yesterday maintained its one-day repurchase rate at 3,25%.

After 5 cuts since january, from 5 to 3,25 %… without any effects (as for the currency issue and the economic slowdown)… I think the BOT made the right move : wait and see, duck and cover…

All central banks around the world are actually waiting for the FED’s decision (meeting september 18).

Bangkok Post

Shin Deal : first victim of the nominees scandal ?

As I wrote here, the Shin Deal (january 2006, when Temasek from Singapore bought the flag amiral company of Prime Minister Thaksin) used many off shore companies and -probably- nominees.

In total contravention of laws and good governance principles (no one seemed surprised first that the Prime Minister of Thailand owned and worked with some companies located in British Virgin Islands, trully amazing !).

After one year and half… at last, the justice is tightening its grip (Nation). Continue reading ‘Shin Deal : first victim of the nominees scandal ?’

Cheers : huge increase of taxes on alcohol and cigarettes


The government has announced yesterday evening -without any warning- a huge increase of excises taxes on alcohol (spirits) and cigarettes… With immediate effect.

Details are available here (Nation, Bangkok Post). For instance :

+ 58 % for locally-distilled alcohol (from 70 to 110 THB per liter)

and extra 2 THB per pack of local cigarettes, and extra 3 THB for imported cigarettes

Official reason for this decision : “to curb consumption” for public health. Continue reading ‘Cheers : huge increase of taxes on alcohol and cigarettes’

Currency : expensive… interventions from the BOT

The Bank of Thailand bought about $8 billion during the first half of the year to help stem the gains in the baht, according to deputy governor Atchana Waiquamdee.

The number was derived from “the change in our foreign- exchange reserves”, Dr Atchana said yesterday.

The central bank spent about $18 billion last year to smooth the baht’s 15% gain against the dollar, she added.

“We can’t fix the currency like we fix other products,” she said. “There is $1.5 trillion flowing in the world and we don’t know how much of it will flow into Thailand. We don’t know how much the cost will be.

(Bangkok Post)

Comment : the deputy governor forgot one important item of the equation : the value of what BOT has bought. Continue reading ‘Currency : expensive… interventions from the BOT’

Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.