Economy February 05, 2014 00:00

Thai sovereign bonds shine on prospect of rates cut

Thailand’s sovereign bonds are beating their Asian peers on bets interest rates will be cut as anti-government protesters block roads and scare off tourists during the peak Chinese New Year holiday. 
Local-currency debt returned 1.5 per cent in the past three months, Bloomberg indexes show. That compares with drops of 6.2 per cent in Indonesia, 4.3 per cent in the Philippines and 1.2 per cent in Malaysia. 
The Bank of Thailand may have to cut its 2.25-per-cent benchmark rate as early as its next meeting on March 12, according to Barclays and ING Groep. 
The run-up to the election on Sunday saw 10 people killed, left Bangkok hotel rooms empty over the weekend, dragged consumer confidence to a two-year low in December and forced Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government to cut its 2014 growth forecast twice in less than a month, to 3.1 per cent from 5.1 per cent. 
While the baht has declined and bond risk surged, Neuberger Berman Group and Aberdeen Asset Management have taken the opportunity to add to government debt holdings. – Bloomberg
chicken export to japan resumes 
Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc yesterday shipped 22,800 kilograms of raw frozen chicken to Japan – the first time for Thailand to export the product to Japan since it was banned in 2004 due to a bird flu outbreak.
Japan continues to closely monitor all of Thailand’s supply chains to ensure that chicken is 100 per cent virus free. 
Prasit Chalongchaichan, senior vice president of CP Merchandising, said Thailand’s first shipment of fresh frozen chicken came off CPF’s processing line in Nakhon Ratchasima to ensure food safety and traceability.
Before 2004, Thailand exported about 200,000 tonnes of fresh chicken to Japan but had to stop due to the virus outbreak. Then, Japan turned to Brazil, buying 350,000 tonnes last year. 
CPF expects that its raw frozen chicken exports would reach 5,000 tonnes this quarter and 80,000-100,000 tonnes for the entire year. It is also forecasts that Thailand would return to the 200,000-tonne level in a few years. 
2 Thai hotels in top 100 list 
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket and Centara Karon Resort Phuket have both been named among the top 100 resort hotels in the Starway Tourism Awards organised by Coral Travel, one of Russia’s leading tour operators. 
The Starway Tourism Awards are based on scores from customer surveys and related to 2012, when Coral Travel handled more than 1.34 million tourists travelling from Russia to 26 countries throughout the world. The award winners were notified in December. 
Seagate posts $3.5 bn in revenue 
Seagate Technology yesterday reported revenue of US$3.53 billion, gross margin of 28.0 per cent, net income of $428 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.24 in its financial results for the second quarter of the fiscal year. The quarter ended on December 27.
On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes the net impact of certain items, Seagate reported gross margin of 28.5 per cent, net income of $455 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.32.