Friday, May 26, 2017
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CIMB Thai aims to become a high-performance mid-tier bank with annualised profit before tax of Bt15 billion within five years. As part of that effort, it is using digital banking to support new business areas.

Kittiphun Anutarasoti, president and chief executive officer of CIMBT, said the bank planned to make rapid transformations in order to improve productivity and efficiency and provide good experiences to customers.

The bank has divided the transformation project into three phrases. Phase 1, which will be carried out this year and next, is the rapid-transformation stage. The bank will focus on strengthening its foundations in various areas such as asset-quality management, operational processes and control, revenue acceleration, and capital optimisation.

“We are looking to outsource the transformation to ensure it starts off on the right foot,” Kittiphun said. “We will be leveraging the expertise of world-class consultants in|Phase 1.

“They will help to validate the transformation opportunities identified for the organisation, with a strong focus on execution and value creation for our shareholders, customers and employees.”

He added that the bank’s strategy this year would be to continue investing in new growth engines for the future such as digital banking to expand customer base and business base and maintain its competitiveness. It will also focus on improving portfolio asset quality, process efficiency and employee capabilities to respond efficiently to clients’ requirements and promote sustainable growth in its commercial banking operations.

The bank moreover will continue to focus on serving corporates with Asean aspirations, generating sustainable income flows and cross-selling for wholesale banking.

In Phase 2, planned for 2019-20, the bank will focus on building new capabilities and growth engines. It aims to accelerate and intensify its growth in key areas such as small and medium-sized enterprises, private banking and digital banking, which it believes offer huge opportunities to grow.

The final phase, in 2021-22, will be the bank’s final sprint towards achieving its aspiration to become an Asean-focused mid-tier bank in Thailand and complete the transformation project.

“We expect that the Thai economy will continue growing in 2017, albeit at a slow pace,” Kittiphun said. “The main growth engines for Thailand this year will be tourism and public investment, given the low-interest-rate environment.

“Meanwhile, Thailand’s banking industry is still one of the most attractive in Southeast Asia, with revenue pools expected to reach about US$60 billion [Bt2 trillion] by 2020.

“Thailand will continue to be a key strategic market for CIMB Group over the long term.”

He said CIMBT was expected to return to profitability by the end of this year and was targeting a return on equity of more than 6 per cent, loan growth including lending and money-market products of 5-10 per cent, and net interest margin of about 3.8 per cent.



The chairman of a National Legislative Assembly (NLA) subcommittee on media reforms has conceded it will not be an easy task to roll out the controversial law regulating the media.

ACM Chalee Chanruang said the bill has still not undergone public hearings.

This process is needed to comply with Section 77 of the new charter.

There is a strong possibility the Protection of Media Rights and Freedom and the Promotion of Ethics and Professional Standards Bill will be amended before going to the NLA, he said.

The bill was endorsed by the National Reform Steering Assembly on Monday amid opposition by members of the media.

It needs to go before the cabinet for consideration and then the NLA.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam said that as the draft legislation is yet to undergo public hearings in line with the new constitution, the government will proceed by gauging opinions from all sides including those of the media.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, on World Press Freedom Day Wednesday, said the media should find a balance when working with the government. The press should support good things done by the government and criticise bad things, although there should be mutual respect, he said.

The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and 29 other media bodies released a joint statement to mark the day.

The TJA demanded the bill be suspended and regime orders limiting press freedom be revoked.

Speaking at the TJA seminar, Supinya Klangnarong, an ex-member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the bill is an attempt to expand state power and limit that of the people.

National human rights commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit said the government should guarantee that the media will not face threats.

NLA member Somchai Sawaengkan said he disagreed with the bill.

Talking to the Bangkok Post, Swedish ambassador to Thailand Staffan Herrstrom said freedom of the press contributes enormously to democracy, transparency and innovation.

“You need that kind of wide space for different views just to encourage people to think outside the box,” he said.

Finnish ambassador Satu Suikkari-Kleven said Finnish journalists adhere strictly to ethical guidelines while people are active in monitoring the conduct of the media and discussing social issues openly.

In a separate development, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand received a letter from police at Lumpini station asking it to cancel its discussion on “Memories of 1932: The Mystery of Thailand’s Missing Plaque”, scheduled to be held at 7pm Wednesday at its office in Bangkok. The FCCT changed the topic to one on world press freedom instead.

RIDE-HAILING service Grab yesterday began a two-wheeled service in partnership with Bangkok’s army of motorbike taxi riders – known collectively as Win.

For the GrabBike (Win) service, passengers can use the Grab mobile app to book a ride and request pickup for any destination in Bangkok. The launch of services followed a trial.

GrabBike is Grab’s fastest growing service in Southeast Asia, providing locals and visitors with a faster and more reliable way of getting around in congested cities, the company says.

Grab says GrabBike (Win) is intended to complement the city’s public transport services, and fulfils passengers’ needs for quick, efficient and affordable connectivity between districts, especially during peak hours.

“Grab is excited to launch our GrabBike (Win) service, working with participating driver-partners to provide fast and convenient on-demand rides to people visiting, working and living in Bangkok,” said Wee Tang Yee, country head of Grab Thailand.

“We worked closely with the Department of Land Transport for our trial service and are now expanding GrabBike (Win) to cover all areas of Bangkok. Grab stands for greater transport freedom, safety and accessibility for the Thai people and we are committed to continuously improve the livelihoods of our driver-partners through the Grab platform.”

The company said the GrabBike (Win) trial service provided Win driver-partners the opportunity to learn and make better use of the Grab app and its features to complete more rides.

Grab’s ride-hailing technology is improving the efficiency of the current Win system by better balancing driver supply and passenger demand between Win spots within city districts. This helps reduce passenger waiting times and increase driver productivity resulting in higher daily incomes for Win driver-partners without increasing their work time.The GrabBike (Win) service is served by motorbike taxi drivers licensed the Department of Land Transport. GrabBike (Win) fares are priced the same as local Win bike rides and are displayed in the app before passengers make their bookings. Passengers can pay for rides with cash or use the firm’s GrabPay service. With GrabPay, the fare is charged to a passenger’s registered credit card on the app after the ride.



Consumer prices up for 13th month

Posted by pakin On May - 2 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Consumer prices, which gauge the country’s inflation rate, rose for a 13th straight month in April, albeit at a slower pace, boosted largely by higher oil and finished food prices.

The Commerce Ministry said the consumer price index (CPI), based on 422 products and services, rose 0.38% last month year-on-year but eased from 0.76% in March, 1.44% in February and 1.55% in January.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.16% from March on higher costs for food, transport, communications, education and housing.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, edged up 0.5% year-on-year in April and 0.02% from March.

For the first four months of the year, headline inflation rose 1.03% on an annual basis, with core inflation up 0.61% from the same period last year.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said the major drivers for higher prices last month were transport and communications, recreation and education, and medical and personal care.

The transport and communications sector rose 3.07% in April from the same month last year, with prices in the recreation and education sector rising 0.63% year-on-year and those of medical and personal care up 0.39%.

Ms Pimchanok said of the total product items used for inflation calculation, 124 recorded price increases and 99 showed prices dropping. She said an increase in the fuel tariff (Ft) rate for May to August is expected to marginally affect the domestic inflation rate.

The Commerce Ministry estimated the rise in Ft may affect product prices in several categories, including food and beverages, daily consumer items, transport, construction materials and agricultural products, but the impact is estimated to be 0.002-0.27% of overall product costs.

The ministry also expects overall consumer product prices to remain stable for some time, as prices of key imported raw materials remain unchanged while the baht appreciates, making imported products cheaper.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) recently said electricity bills are set to rise throughout 2017 because of rising natural gas and oil prices. Natural gas accounts for 70% of Thailand’s power-generating resources, with its price normally lagging global oil prices by 6-9 months.

Gas prices will start to affect power bills from the second period (May to August). Gas prices rose by 9.35 baht per million British thermal units (BTUs), or 4% from the previous January-April period, to 244.6 baht per BTU.

The ERC has approved an Ft rate rise of 12.5 satang per kilowatt-hour for May to August. Power bills are set to increase by 17.8 satang per kWh, but the ERC said the rise in the Ft was offset by a drop in gas prices due to a maintenance shutdown during the previous period, keeping the increase at 12.5 satang per kWh.

The new Ft rate combined with a base factor for May to August means an average increase for all categories of power users (businesses, residences and public services) of 3.51 baht per kWh, up from 3.38 baht in the first period.

The average monthly power bill in the residential sector will increase by 3.7% or 16.5 baht for consumption of 124 kWh, some 477 baht. Residential users make up 90% of power consumers. The ERC predicts the Ft rate will continue to rise gradually until early next year.

The Commerce Ministry is still maintaining its 2017 inflation target of 1.5-2.2%. That target is based on GDP growth of 3-4%, crude oil prices in a range of US$50-$60 a barrel and a foreign exchange rate of 35.5-37.5 baht per US dollar.

The ministry said higher inflation is anticipated in the foreseeable future as household demand rises with higher farm product prices and industrial production.

Thanavath Phonvichai, vice-president for research at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said a moderate inflation rise indicates the country’s economic recovery is not yet fully-fledged.