Economy March 28, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Diesel contribution to Oil Fund cut by Bt0.40

The Energy Policy Administration Committee has cut the diesel-sales contribution to the Oil Fund by 40 satang per litre to keep the retail price at Bt30 per litre, Energy Ministry permanent secretary Suthep Liumsirijarern said.
Other fuel prices were left unchanged.
After the reduction, the Oil Fund will bring in about Bt23 million less per day. As of Sunday, the fund had a net deficit of about Bt7.28 billion.
Rating still on watch
Moody’s Investors Service says it is keeping Thailand’s sovereign rating at “Baa1” with “stable” outlook, noting its low external vulnerability, very small current-account deficit, favourable government debt structure, and substantial policy space, if required, to respond to the deleterious effects of an emerging-market crisis. 
Nevertheless, the ongoing political crisis is having a negative effect on key sovereign credit metrics, slowly undermining some of Thailand’s traditional buffers, the rating agency reported.
More organic Hom Mali urged
The Foreign Trade Department has encouraged farmers, millers and cooperatives to produce more organic jasmine (Hom Mali) rice to cash in on high global demand and better returns than other varieties.
Surasak Riangkrul, director-general of the department, said demand for organic jasmine rice was rising in many countries, and price would not be an obstruction to trade, as Thai organic rice has no competitors.
Its price is also double that of normal jasmine rice. Farmers and producers therefore should focus more on organic rice in the long run. The organic-rice market is expected to grow by 10-15 per cent a year as consumers become more health-conscious, Surasak said.
Thailand is able to produce about 4 million tonnes of jasmine rice per annum, and export about 2.65 million tonnes. However, only a small proportion of those volumes is organic jasmine rice. 
High-potential markets for Thai organic rice are countries in Europe, the United States, and emerging nations in Asia.
Egat ready for gas disruption
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is prepared for disruption in the natural-gas supply from April 10 to 27 due to maintenance of the pipeline from the Bongkot gas field, said Chanin Chaonirattisai, Egat’s assistant governor for systems control. 
Bunker oil will be used to run the power plants to ensure stable electricity supply. However, PTT’s temporary suspension of gas supply from the Thailand-Malaysia Joint Development Area from June 13 to July 10 could affect the adequacy of power supply in southern Thailand.  
Egat has 4,122 megawatts of backup electricity supply to cover the Bongkot pipeline maintenance period to support power usage, which is expected to peak to 26,752MW during the Songkran festival. Egat says power supply adequacy during that time is assured.