The Nation




Farmers' debts rise over 4 yrs

Farmers' debt levels have increased by 4.84 per cent on average over the past four years because of the rising cost of production and falling prices of crops, according to the Agricultural Economics Office.

Secretary-general Anan Lila said yesterday that fiercer competition in the global market had caused debt to pile up. Farmers have to borrow more to increase productivity and expand plantation areas.

According to the office's survey, farmers' incomes have increased by 2 per cent since 2010. Farmers in the Northeast enjoy the highest incomes because of the improved prices of rice, cassava and sugar cane.

Farmers in the South shoulder the biggest liabilities because of the falling price of rubber and skyrocketing cost of production.

Japan firms boost investment

Top executives of Japanese corporations intend to ramp up capital investment in Southeast Asia on expectations of economic expansion in the region, according to a Nikkei survey.

Nearly one-third of respondents, or 32.6 per cent, said capital spending in Southeast Asia next fiscal year would be higher than this fiscal year, compared with 21 per cent in Japan and |the slightly more than 10 per cent in China and India.

The survey was conducted from December 4 through last Friday, drawing responses from 147 presidents and chairmen at key Japanese businesses.

Asked what countries outside China they plan to use as production sites, with up to three responses allowed, the most popular choices were Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Indonesia was also the most promising market, beating out India and other countries.

These Southeast Asian nations were attractive despite such concerns as the prolonged anti-government demonstrations in Thailand and the weakening currency in Indonesia.

Even through the yen has weakened recently from ultra-strong levels, some 40 per cent of the companies still plan to increase overseas production.

More than seven in 10 respondents expect the Southeast Asian economy to grow, with 15 per cent seeing steady expansion and 57.2 per cent predicting gradual growth.

Consumer-product manufacturers, service providers and others are planning aggressive capital investment in the region.

Push for anti-graft pledge

The Securities and Exchange Commission has urged the Association of Securities Companies and the Association of Investment Management Companies to make a declaration of intent against corruption by joining the Collective Action Coalition against Corruption Council.

Vorapol Socatiyanurak, secretary-general of the SEC, said yesterday after the quarterly meeting with the two bodies that the CAC, supported by the government and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, aimed at pushing forward the fight against graft nationwide.

Recently 264 companies applied for CAC membership, of which 103 were listed companies, 16 securities companies and 22 asset-management companies out of the 574 listed companies, 40 securities companies and 22 asset management companies in the market.

Nine listed companies have become CAC certified members.

Indorama refinances debt in North America

Indorama Ventures has successfully completed the refinancing of a US$640-million (Bt20.9 billion) term loan for its business in the United States by being able to increase the average tenor of this loan from 3.31 to 5.40 years. The loan is from a consortium led by Siam Commercial Bank, Krungthai Bank and Bangkok Bank. Moreover, the company has refinanced a working-capital facility led by Regions Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch totalling $360 million.

PTTGC raises stake in US firm

PTT Global Chemical's wholly owned PTT Chemical International (CH Inter) has purchased 6,049,443 shares or 25.44 per cent of the registered capital, totalling US$6.69 million (Bt219 million), in Myriant Corporation, a US-based chemical firm, which raises its share in Myriant to 72.62 per cent. PTTGC earlier held 47.18 per cent in Myriant via CH Inter.

Users of 3G to hit 25.6m

The number of subscribers to third-generation cellular service on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum is expected to reach 25.6 million by the end of the year, up from more than 22.728 million as of last month, according to the NBTC.

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