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Q3 growth of 3.7-4% forecast

Posted by pakin On November - 20 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Thailand’s economic growth is expected to expand by 3.7-4% during the three months to September mainly because of stronger growth in exports and tourism, say economists.

Charl Kengchon, managing director of Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research), forecast the economy grew 3.8% year-on-year during the third quarter, up from 3.7% in the second quarter.

“The stronger growth forecast is mainly based on continued growth in external demand supported by the global economic recovery, as seen in the robust growth in exports and tourism,” he said.

Merchandise exports grew stronger than most expected at 12% in the third quarter, up from 10.9% growth in the second quarter.

For tourism, the effect of the crackdown on illegal tourism operation is minimal, reflected in the strong recovery in tourist arrivals since late last year, said Mr Charl.

He said domestic demand in the third quarter also improved, as seen by the continued improvement in private consumption and government expenditure.

Private consumption indicators grew 1.9% in the third quarter, matching growth in the second quarter, while government expenditure rose by 13.3% in the period, up from a 3.8% contraction.

However, concerns remained for farm income, which saw downward pressure from softer agricultural prices and the effect of the recent floods in the Northeast.

During the three months to September, farm income shrank 2.6%, down drastically from 15.9% growth in April-June.

K-Research is expecting 3.7% full-year growth both this year and in 2018.

Don Nakornthab, senior director of the macroeconomic and monetary policy department at the Bank of Thailand, said earlier economic growth in the third quarter could expand by 4% year-on-year supported by robust export growth.

The National Economic and Social Development Board is due to announce the July to September reading today.

Tim Leelahaphan, an economist for Thailand at Standard Chartered Bank, said the economy is expected to improve in the third quarter driven by two main engines: merchandise exports and tourism.

Standard Chartered forecasts GDP to expand 3.8% in third quarter year-on-year, up 0.6% from the second quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“Exports and tourism will remain the heroes in the third quarter, but the interesting point is domestic demand also showed signs of recovery as well,” said Mr Tim.

He said consumption on durable goods, mainly cars, continued to recover in the third quarter while manufacturing production also grew well in the period.

State spending accelerated in the third quarter as it is the final quarter of the fiscal year, said Mr Tim.

“However, private investment remained sluggish in the period and it is expected to be that way through the next year,” he said.

The bank projected the economy to grow 3.6% this year and 4.3% in 2018.

There is a good chance GDP growth in the third quarter would breach 4% year-on-year, the strongest in 4½ years, said a recent Credit Suisse report.

“Monthly economic figures for the third quarter showed good momentum on industrial production, as well as improved demand with robust exports and recovering domestic spending, especially in consumption,” said the report.

In the third quarter, non-durable goods consumption has clearly recovered from a slump while consumer spending is expected to improve further in the fourth quarter, said the report.

The report said real GDP should accelerate to over 4% in the second half, which will result in 3.8% full-year growth for this year.


“Smart bus” delivered

Posted by pakin On November - 14 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

A “smart bus” was recently unveiled at the “Bus & Truck 17” exhibition at Bitec.

Chalermchoke Lamsam, third from left, managing director of Loxley, and Ralf Christian Erler, second from left, general manager of commercial vehicles of Mercedes-Benz (Thailand), jointly delivered the Mercedes-Benz “Phuket Smart Bus” to Karn Prachumpan, fourth from left, president of the PKCD board. The smart bus will be used to transport tourists under the “Phuket Smart City” project.

KFC opens 50th Drive-Thru restaurant

Posted by pakin On November - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

KFC Thailand opened its 50th KFC Drive Thru branch on Kaset-Navamin Road. The newest Drive Thru is operated by Central Restaurants Group, its first franchisee. The company also announced their collaboration to continue branch expansion with a target of 800 branches by 2020.

Waewkanee Assoratgoon, general manager, Yum Restaurants International (Thailand) Co Ltd, KFC brand management and franchiser, said: “The success was partly due to the good cooperation of the franchisee partner. This year, CRG has continued to open 25 new branches – 19 KFC stores and six Drive Thru branches.”

Nath Vongphanich, president of KFC brand, Central Restaurants Group (CRG) Co Ltd, said during the launch of the new Drive Thru that, “CRG is the first franchise partner of the KFC brand in Thailand. We have been cooperating with Yum to create growth and strengthen KFC throughout the past 33 years, since the first KFC store was established in Thailand. In 2017 alone, CRG has joined forces with KFC to open new stores accounting for 44 per cent of all new stores.”

“As a KFC brand and franchise manager, we fully support our franchisee to create business growth with innovation and strengthening brand development. That Includes maintaining the standards of food quality and taste, store operation and branding to be in line with KFC’s global standards,” Waewkanee said.

In 2017, KFC has opened 55 new branches operated by Yum and its franchisee partners. This has nearly met the target set for the year of 56 branches; 41 KFC stores and 15 Drive Thrus. The average expansion rate is one branch per week as planned.


Thais wary of using robots

Posted by pakin On October - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

While experts estimate that close to 50% of jobs in Thailand could be automated with current technology, the public may not be ready to welcome robots into key jobs, according to the latest survey by UK market research firm YouGov.

Only 35% of Thai men and 28% of Thai women would want a robot on the wheel of their cars, even if robots were safe and affordable. Even fewer would trust them with caring for their children (18% of men and 16% of women), and fewer still would want them to help manage their finances (17% of men and 12% of women).

Driving and routine functions at financial institutions are some of the activities likely to be automated in the near future. The Thai public’s hesitant acceptance of machines in these tasks indicates replacement may not take place as quickly as expected.

Only 7% of Thais say driving will be the most popular use of robots in the next five years, and only 2% think helping to manage their finances will be.

The views of Thais may contrast with those of citizens in developed economies. Some 56% of Americans say they would not be hesitant to ride in a driverless vehicle, according to US think tank Pew Research.

While less than half of Thais think robots are safe, only 1 in 25 says they would not want to own a robot which would, for example, clean the house (77%), help with security (67%), or assist them at work (49%).

Activities Thais would feel comfortable automating, like security, or gardening (46%), are some of the hardest tasks to automate because they require highly variable responses.

McKinsey, the consulting firm, says machines can already do some characteristically human activities, like identifying faces or sounds, better than people. Even so, Thais feel confident in their abilities to outperform these new competitors on the job.

Only 10% of Thais think a robot could do a better job than them, a result that is roughly stable across gender and age groups.

While Thais may be confident their employment will be safe in the future, they are less sure about their neighbours’ job security. Only 10% of Thais disagree that “robots will take jobs away from many of us”.

This result is similar in other countries. Most US adults, for example, say their jobs are safer from replacement by automation than most other professions, according to Pew Research.