Industrial confidence jumps in Dec, peak level in Eastern region
The Industrial Confidence Index in December rose to 98.8 from 95.2 in November thanks to rising demand for products and services for the New Year festive season, plus improving export trends and the government’s first-car scheme.
But the index still failed to pass the 100 confidence benchmark, which the Federation of Thai Industries claims indicates operators’ concerns about the new Bt300 daily minimum wage and rising oil prices, coupled with a labour shortage. The survey was conducted by the FTI on 1,064 operators in 42 industrial sectors.
The index surged in every region of the country. It was highest in the East, rising to 106 in December from 105.9 in November, attributed to expanding orders from overseas markets.
The confidence sub-index on the three-month forecast inched up to 100.6 from 99.6 the previous month, based on anticipation of growing sales and purchase orders and improving financial performance.
Most of the businesses said their main concerns were foreign-exchange impacts and rising oil prices, but they were less worried about local politics and interest rates. Of the total, 35.5 per cent of the respondents said forex would worsen their business situation, and 64.5 per cent said higher oil prices would hurt their businesses.
Chon Buri HomePro opens Feb 1
Home Product Center on February 1 will officially open its 54th HomePro outlet, worth Bt485 million, in Chon Buri. On a 17-rai (2.7-hectare) plot, the new branch, with 8,000 square metres of retail space, will serve consumers in Chon Buri, Rayong, Sa Kaew and Trat provinces.
The launch will be celebrated from February 1 to March 3, including special discount packages of up to 70 per cent. The store will provide all turnkey home-improvement products, together with three-dimensional design, home-maintenance and improvement services.
Tesco, Sasin offer courses
Tesco Lotus has partnered with Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration to launch the Tesco Lotus Retail Academy to provide best practices and advanced knowledge for Thai suppliers seeking an edge in the dynamic retail market.
Suppliers have indicated that they would be receptive to classes to enhance their business knowledge and skills from leading experts at Sasin and Tesco Lotus. The core objectives are how to win in the fast-moving-retail market, broaden business networks and learn from best practices at a global level.
To be held at Sasin's Sasa Patasala and Sasa International House, the target participants are the owners or managers of small to medium-sized Thai suppliers of modern-trade retailers in Thailand.
Five-day courses of 30 participants each are scheduled for March and November. In each session, participants will learn necessary subjects ranging from financial management and customer insights to global retail operations. Participants will be asked to share their views and discuss relevant case studies. A certificate of completion will be awarded to all attendees.
Fitch rates Holcim debenture
Fitch Ratings (Thailand) has affirmed Holcim Capital (Thailand)'s Bt2-billion guaranteed debentures due in 2015 at national long-term "AA-(tha)" with a stable outlook.
The ratings are based entirely on an irrevocable and unconditional guarantee by Holcim. The firm's ratings reflect its strong global market position in the cement, aggregates and concrete segments, its complementary product portfolio and its wide geographic diversification, Fitch said.
Holcim’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating, affirmed at "BBB", is two notches below Thailand's "A-" long-term local-currency IDR (issuer default rating), which correlates with "AA-(tha)" on the Thai national rating scale.
First-car scheme boosts non-life insurance segment
Growth in non-life insurance premiums outpaced growth in life-insurance premiums for the first time in 10 years last year because of the government's first-car tax incentive, according to Pravej Ongartsittigul, secretary-general of the Office of Insurance Commission.
The OIC reported total premiums in the first 11 months of 2012 of Bt506.54 billion, up 20.72 per cent over the same period of 2011.
There were 48.34 million new policies, an increase of 12.80 per cent year on year.
Life-insurance premiums totalled Bt343.96 billion, an increase of 17.17 per cent. Non-life premiums rose by 29 per cent to Bt162.57 billion. Life-insurance penetration is at 31.99 per cent, and non-life at 72.67 per cent.
Auto insurance led the non-life segment with total premiums of Bt93.88 billion, an increase of 25.19 per cent, and ordinary life insurance was the top player in the life-insurance segment with total premiums of Bt288.78 billion, up 16.43 per cent.
Fix up 28 airports, PM orders department
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered the Transport Ministry to upgrade 28 airports under the Department of Civil Aviation to improve air links with Asean countries.
The department has signed and ratified agreements with Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam on the liberalisation of air transport of passengers and cargo.
The department has upgraded six airports at a cost of Bt3.2 billion. These are Mae Sot, Tak province, at a cost of Bt1 billion; Betong, Yala, Bt1 billion; Ubon Ratchathani, Bt300 million; Udon Thani, Bt275 million; Narathiwat, Bt400 million; and Nakhon Ratchasima airport for Bt300 million.