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Air China to launch biweekly Wuhan-Chiang Mai Flights

Air China is today launching flights between Wuhan in central China and Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, following the introduction of its Beijing-Chiang Mai service last month.

Flight CA705/6 will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays using Airbus A320 aircraft. Flights will depart Wuhan's Tianhe International Airport at 7.30pm and arrive in Chiang Mai at 10pm. The return service will leave Chiang Mai at 11pm and reach Wuhan at 2.45am the next day.

China is now the biggest visitor source market for Thailand. In the first 10 months of this year, Thailand welcomed 4.05 million tourists from the mainland, representing an increase of 4.08 per cent over the same period last year.

Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city, has become popular among Chinese tourists in recent years, due largely to its unique history, culture and abundant natural attractions.

The northern Thai city has also received more air links from cities in China, and awareness among Chinese visitors following the release of the hit Chinese movie, "Lost in Thailand".

The thrice-weekly Beijing-Chiang Mai flights utilise a Boeing 737-800. Air China also operates a Beijing-Bangkok service with three flights per day, using a B777 and B737-800, and a Beijing-Phuket service with three flights per week using a B737-800.

Lakeside Shangri-La to open doors in Yangon in 2017

Shangri-La International Hotel Management will open its second property in Yangon in 2017.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Lakeside Shangri-La took place on Sunday near the new Shangri-La Residences, which are also managed by Shangri-La. The Hong Kong-based hotel group has been operating in Myanmar since 1996 when it opened the 334-room Traders Hotel in Yangon.

"The steady increase of domestic and foreign investment in Myanmar's economic capital makes Yangon an important commercial centre," Greg Dogan, president and CEO of Shangri-La, said yesterday.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts owns and manages more than 80 -La hotels with over 34,000 rooms. The group has a substantial development pipeline with projects in mainland China, India, Mongolia, the Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Yangon and the United Kingdom.

Philippines urged to import maximum Thai rice quota

Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan is negotiating with the Philippines to get that country to utilise the full import quota limit of 100,000 tonnes per year of Thai rice, up from the present annual average of 50,000 tonnes.

Niwatthumrong discussed the matter with Philippine Industry and Trade Minister Gregory Domingo during the recent World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Bali. He also urged that country to import more frozen chicken from Thailand. The Philippines reduced such imports after the bird-flu outbreak many years ago.

Domingo is scheduled to meet on December 20 with Yukol Limlamthong, the agriculture minister, in Thailand to discuss the possibility of importing more Thai agricultural goods and livestock products.



Fitch affirms ratings of six state banks, cites support from govt

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ratings for the following special-purpose banks: Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank), Government Housing Bank (GH Bank), Government Savings Bank (GSB), Islamic Bank of Thailand (IBank) and SME Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank).

All ratings are based on its view that there is a high probability of support from the government for these policy banks. The government, via the Ministry of Finance, has full ownership of Exim, GSB and GH Bank and near-full ownership of BAAC and SME Bank. GSB's and BAAC's support ratings are based on their important roles in implementing government policy objectives. GSB benefits from an explicit state guarantee on its liabilities, while BAAC has a deficiency guarantee from the government.

The "stable" outlooks of Exim, IBank, SME Bank and GH Bank reflect Fitch's expectation that state support policy towards these specialised financial institutions remains unchanged and will continue.



Allianz Ayudhya's premiums increase in first nine months

Allianz Ayudhya Assurance PCL reported continued growth in the first nine months of 2013 with increased premiums in all channels. Gross written premiums (GWP) increased to Bt17.5 billion, up by 11 per cent compared to the same period last year. Annualized new premium (ANP) reached Bt4.06 billion, up by 15 per cent. Direct marketing has been outperforming expectations, holding on strongly to its number 1 position in the market. The company remains confident that by the end of this year it will achieve the targets of Bt25 billion on GWP and Bt5.6 billion on ANP.



Bank of Ayudhya trims interest rates on savings deposits

Bank of Ayudhya announced yesterday that it was cutting interest rates on savings deposits by 10 basis points, the minimum lending rate by 0.125 percentage point, and the minimum retail rate by 25 basis points, effective immediately.

The bank's new MLR will be 7.25 per cent, down from 7.375 per cent, and MRR will be 8.20 per cent, down from 8.45 per cent. The savings-deposit rate will be 0.50 per cent, down from 0.60 per cent.




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