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Bourse, some businesses to stay open on Bangkok Shutdown day

SOME businesses and the stock market plan to open during the Bangkok Shutdown in the hope that the demonstrations will not turn violent.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand will continue operating on January 13 and all parties have their own back-up staff, computer systems and locations to support trading in the case of emergency, Pattera Dilokrungthirapop, chairman of the Association of Thai Securities Companies, said yesterday after the executives of 34 brokerages and the SET met to seek ways to deal with the Bangkok Shutdown campaign.

Stock trading has been thin in the past week and is expected to remain weak at Bt20 billion-Bt30 billion daily, as local and foreign investors take to sitting on the sidelines to see where the political situation is headed.

The SET closed at 1,230.84 points yesterday on turnover of Bt33.82 billion.

Saowaluck Thitapan, deputy chief financial officer of Siam Makro, reaffirmed that their cash-and-carry wholesale stores would have enough products on the shelves to sell to their shoppers during the siege.

Manatase Annawat, deputy managing director of the Emporium Shopping Complex, said special teams have been formed to look after both shopping centres and department stores by monitoring the situation very closely day by day to ensure that customers will be safe.

Sirichai Prapandhurakit, deputy manager for building management at Platinum Fashion Mall, said that according to the Platinum's preliminary estimate, the Bangkok Shutdown would not turn violent, so Platinum Mall would still open on January 13 as usual.

Phaibul Kanokvatanawan, CEO of The Mall Group, said all branches would still open but the company would consider closing them immediately on the day of the massive demonstration if there is any bloodshed.

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Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, executive vice president of Central Pattana, said the company is meeting to prepare protective measures. It will also evaluate the situation day by day for further action.

Suthep Liumsirijarern, permanent secretary of the Energy Ministry, said the anti-government rallies, which would be staged at 20 locations throughout Bangkok, would interfere with 73 petrol stations, 21 LPG stations and seven NGV stations. The ministry has informed all traders to prepare for the situation by reserving enough oil and gas and installing closed-circuit cameras at strategic locations.

Susco Plc will close its fuel stations on January 13 if they are on the routes of the marchers, as a protective measure, managing director Chairit Simaroj said.

At least 1 million commuters will run into difficulties caused by the protesters' plan to freeze Bangkok, according to the Transport Ministry's estimate.

Enterprises under the Transport Ministry met to make plans for the shutdown, such as finding more park and ride venues to accommodate commuters from outside Bangkok.

Permanent Secretary Somchai Siriwathanachoke said five inspectors will be put in charge of transportation in five major zones.


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