Steps set for smooth financial operation

Economy January 15, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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The Bank of Thailand, the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the banking sector have prepared measures aimed at facilitating the continued smooth operation of the financial market.

BOT spokesperson Roong Mallikamas yesterday said the central bank would work at its back-up site until Friday to facilitate payments and other financial transactions.

It operated at the back-up office for a second day yesterday after closing its head office in the inner-city area of Bang Khunphrom as anti-government protesters seized many areas of Bangkok.

Roong said key operational centres had been moved to the back-up centre to reduce travelling difficulties among staff and outsiders.

In a statement, she said that as of Monday, there had been no disruption in the financial market – with narrow movements in money-market rates and quite stable exchange rates.

Most financial institutions maintained normal operations yesterday, except for 31 branches that were closed all day, and another 101 branches that shut their doors early.

Debt securities for Krungthai Bank retail investors were moved to its Pin Klao branch, while individuals could still call 1213 for financial services.

The number of commercial-bank branches temporarily closed as of 3.30 pm yesterday increased to 135, according to the central bank.

Of which, fifty-two were Bangkok Bank branches , followed by Krungthai Bank which closed another 7 branches on top of the 16 on Monday, bringing the total to 23 . 17 Tisco Bank branches were closed, while 10 TMB branches remained closed yesterday from 76 shut on Monday.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand, meanwhile, is confident it will be able to continue to buy and sell stocks even if the protest lasts for more than a month because it is prepared for such an eventuality, said Bordin Unakul, SET executive vice president and director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Institute.

The decision to close the SET’s head-office yesterday was due to the news that protesters were going to close down the building, he said.

Even though the SET building was closed, he reassured investors that the bourse was operational, adding that it had implemented a business continuity plan to ensure that everything was working as normal.

"The SET has been operating under the business continuity plan for a week now and we have reduced our number of staff from 700 down to 100, and will lower it to less than 100 by Wednesday [today]," he added.

Staff members that do not have to be at the SET building are now working elsewhere, while those needed to be at the building for the maintenance of the securities trading systems will be directly under the responsibility of each securities company, said the executive.

Gold Traders Association president Jitti Tangsithpakdi said gold shops in Yaowarat and the surrounding area were open as normal yesterday, after having been closed on Monday.

He said road traffic in the area had returned to normal and there were plenty of cars and many people out shopping.

However, if there is any unexpected situation or risk arises, the shops are prepared to close earlier than usual. While they could still take orders over the telephone in such circumstances, they would not deliver to locations near to protest sites, he added.