Economy March 15, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Myanmar inspects Thai firm's juice for coliform

Thailand-based FoodStar’s juice is subject to examination by Myanmar’s food-safety authorities for alleged contamination with coliform and mould, Eleven Media reported. 
According to lab results from the Myanmar Ministry of Cooperatives, samples of coliform and mould have been found in DeeDo juice. 
If consumed, the inedible fungus in the food can cause massive intestinal and stomach cancers, said Ba Oak Khine, chairman of that country’s Consumer Protection Association.
Tin Zaw of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said: “We have given directions to the offices in nine regions and districts to examine whether [contamination] has occurred in Yangon or in other places. Then, we will immediately send the samples to the Food and Drug Administration Department and wait for the results. We will take action depending on the outcome.” 
Established in 1993, FoodStar has manufactured and distributed juice and yoghurt beverages under the DeeDo brand, which has been exported to many countries. 
Plastic moulding plant
Thai Toray Synthetics Co’s plant will soon get into the plastic-moulding business as a base linking Japan, China and Asean.
Thai Toray Synthetics is a subsidiary of Japan-based Toyo Plastic Seiko Co, a Toray Group company headquartered in Tokyo engaged in moulding of plastics and marketing of plastic products.
The Thai subsidiary is Toyo Plastic Seiko’s second overseas expansion after China.
Ascott plans 58 openings
CapitaLand’s wholly owned serviced-residence unit, The Ascott Ltd, plans to open 58 properties across 12 countries by 2018, of which about 20 are scheduled to open this year.
Ascott, which pioneered the Asia-Pacific region’s first international-class serviced residence in 1984, has secured contracts to manage its first property in Myanmar, Somerset Kabar Aye Yangon, and its third property in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Somerset Zhuankou Wuhan. 
In addition, Ascott has opened its first property in Frankfurt, Citadines City Centre Frankfurt, and will open Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur on March 21 and Ascott Midtown Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu province next month.
Starting from one property each in Singapore (The Ascott Singapore) and France (Citadines La Defense Paris), Ascott has grown to become the world’s largest international owner-operator of serviced residences, with about 34,000 apartment units in 231 properties. 
Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s chief executive officer, said Ascott’s focus this year was to seek investment opportunities in key markets where it has a presence, such as Singapore, China, India, capital cities in Southeast Asia, Paris, London and key cities in Germany. 
The group says it will also expand through management contracts and strategic alliances to achieve its target of 40,000 apartment units globally by 2015 and to strengthen Ascott’s position as a global serviced-residence leader.
MPC cut should help economy and debtors as banks trim rates
The fact that commercial banks are cutting their deposit and loan rates means the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) decision on Wednesday to trim the policy interest rate should have a positive effect on the economy, Bank of Thailand spokeswoman Rung Mallikamas said yesterday.
   “We do not expect the cut in the policy rate will boost economic growth immediately, but it will reduce the burden shouldered by debtors,” she said.
Gold at 6-month high on rising Ukraine tension, China fears
The price of gold climbed to its highest level in six months yesterday as escalating tension in Ukraine before a vote in Crimea on breaking away to join Russia, as well as concern that China’s growth is faltering, boosted demand for a store of value. 
   Bullion for immediate delivery rose as much as 0.5 per cent to US$1,376.64 (Bt44,460) an ounce, the highest level since September 10, and was at $1,370.85 at 2.39pm in Singapore – up for a fourth day. 
   The metal is heading for a sixth weekly increase, the longest run since August 2011, as assets in the largest exchange-traded product expanded to the highest level this year. 
   Gold has advanced 14 per cent this year on demand for a haven, as turmoil in Ukraine hurt emerging-market assets already weakened by cuts to US stimulus, while growth slowed in China, the largest consumer. 
   Data this week on China’s retail sales and industrial output missed estimates, while Crimea prepared for the March 16 vote. US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have warned the ballot has no international legitimacy. 
   “Gold is buoyed by what’s happening in Ukraine and increasing worries about a slowdown in China’s economy,” said Ethan Wai, a research analyst at Wing Fung Financial Group, a Hong Kong-based gold trader and refiner. 
   “The pullback in equities and a weaker dollar are supportive,” he added.
   The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities has retreated 1.6 per cent this year on concern China’s growth is faltering, with at least four investment banks cutting their forecasts for the world’s second-largest economy. 
   The Bloomberg Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 currencies, is 0.4 per cent lower this year. – Bloomberg
Honda’s Thai unit launches the new, sportier Civic 
Honda Automobile (Thailand) has introduced the New Honda Civic, which has what it calls “an enhanced sporty sense”. 
   The premium, luxury and advanced image of the new Honda Civic is enhanced with new comfort and advanced features inside the cabin along with superior safety features, the company said.
   The new Honda Civic’s sporty sense is fulfilled by the sporty design of the front, side and rear under-spoilers, a wing-type trunk spoiler, and an exhaust-pipe finisher with an exclusive sport emblem. 
   The sporty aero parts are available on two new models, the 2.0 ES AT NAVI and the 1.8 ES AT. 
   The new Honda Civic is available in six models: the 2.0 ES AT NAVI, at Bt1.14 million; the 1.8 E AT NAVI, at Bt990,000, the, 1.8 ES AT, at Bt950,000, the 1.8 E AT, at Bt895,000; the 1.8 S AT, at Bt835,000; and the 1.8 S MT at Bt780,000.
India’s CII names Thailand top global golfing destination 
Thailand has been named the “Best International Golfing Destination” by the Confederation of Indian Industry. 
   The award was conferred at the “6th Asia Golf Industry Show”, organised by the CII in India earlier this month.
   Runjuan Tongrut, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) New Delhi office, received the award against the backdrop of a movie clip of Thailand’s golf ambassador in India, Gaganjeet Bhullar, teeing off at one of the many spectacular golf courses in Thailand.