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State rice auction attracts good offers

Posted by pakin On January - 30 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The year’s first auction for about 1 million tonnes of state rice stocks was very active, drawing 100 bidders yesterday.

However, Siam Indica Co was barred by authorities from joining the bidding after being indicted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for graft in relation to the rice-pledging scheme.

The Commerce Ministry put 999,763 tonnes of rice up for sale on a whole-warehouse basis for the first time, with the floor prices announced in advance.

Most bidders said relatively low floor prices set by authorities made the auction attractive.

The floor price for white rice was set at only 8-10 baht a kilogramme, while the market price is now 13 baht. Hom Mali’s floor price was set at 20-21 baht per kg against a market price of 31-33 baht.

Of the rice put up for auction, 5% white rice made up 850,000 tonnes and Hom Mali rice 150,000 tonnes. The rice was from 168 warehouses in 36 provinces.

Authorities estimate the cost of rice put on sale at 11.7 billion baht.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director–general of the Foreign Trade Department, said 96 of the 100 bidders were qualified.

“We expect to fetch prices higher than the floor prices,” she said.

Ms Duangporn said winning bidders and the amount of rice stocks sold in this auction would be available within 20 days.

A source from participating bidders attributed the active response from potential buyers mainly to strong demand in both domestic and export markets, as no new supply had entered the market for a while.

The source said bidders offered relatively high prices of 29-30 baht per kg for Hom Mali rice despite the floor price being set at only 20-21 baht.

Commerce permanent secretary Chutima Bunyapraphasara, in her capacity as head of the subcommittee handling state rice sales, last week said the government planned to dispose of 17 million tonnes of rice left in its stockpiles within two years, with 10 million tonnes sold this year.

This year’s sales will comprise premium-grade rice (60% of the total) and substandard grains (40%).

Authorities expect to call two or three bids for rice sales by March. The next auction could be held by the mid-February.

The Commerce Ministry has called four auctions since last May, with sales of 681,740 tonnes worth 6.36 billion baht.

Kim Kardashian has sold everything from sex tapes to weird hair supplements, but there’s always been a pretty transparent reason for her shilling: cold hard cash, plus the spectre of momager Kris Jenner lurking in the background.

But Kim’s signed herself up to do a massive load of selling during this year’s Super Bowl, having partnered with T-Mobile to get everyone to use more data on their phones.

Here’s her official Super Bowl commercial, which will air this Sunday evening (or early Monday morning here in the UK) in one of the ad breaks.

In the skit, Ms Kardashian West deplores the “tragic” under-use of phone data, “data you could be using to see my make-up, my back-hand, my outfits, my vacations… my outfits”, and begs phone users to start consuming their unused data. And it’s actually quite funny.

She also strolls around an all-white art gallery with some of her Instagram snapshots framed on the walls, and there’s some sad piano music in the background that really adds to the feel of it.

SEOUL – South Korea said on Tuesday it had blocked a North Korean bid for the right to detain South Korean businessmen working in the Kaesong joint industrial zone in the event of a dispute.

The Kaesong complex, which lies about 10 kilometres (six miles) inside North Korea, hosts some 100 Seoul-owned factories where 53,000 North Korean workers produce goods from clothes to watches.

Hundreds of South Korean managers also work in the complex, established in 2004 as a symbol of inter-Korea cooperation.

Last September, Pyongyang drafted a new operational regulation that would allow the North to detain South Korean businessmen when there is an unresolved business dispute.

“They sent us the request to change some rules on the Kaesong complex, including making it possible to detain our entrepreneurs,” an official from Seoul’s Unification Ministry told AFP.

“We rejected the request … and there has been no word from the North on that since then,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A precious source of hard currency for the impoverished North, Kaesong had until recently remained largely immune to the volatile swings in inter-Korean ties.

But in April 2013, the North effectively shut down the complex by withdrawing its workforce during a spike in military tensions that followed the North’s third nuclear test.

Kaesong reopened five months later, but the shutdown raised concerns over the safety of South Koreans working there.

In an effort to prevent any future closures, the North and South created a joint committee to oversee Kaesong and deal with any problems related to its operations.

BAY plunges as rumour refuted

Posted by pakin On January - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) shares tumbled 13.8% yesterday after the bank clarified the largest shareholder, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), had not made public any plan to buy the local bank’s remaining shares to delist the stock, as was widely rumoured.

The falling share price of BAY — one of the SET’s biggest stocks with a market capitalisation of about 700 billion baht — pulled the SET index down 0.63% or 10.02 points to 1,588.31.

BAY’s stock traded at a record high of 104 baht at the opening bell yesterday before slipping in the afternoon session following the bank’s announcement concerning a media report about its major shareholder’s plan to delist the stock.

It closed at the day’s low of 78 baht, down 12.50 baht, in heavy trade worth 1.76 billion baht. For the week, the stock has climbed 38%.

“The bank would like to clarify to the SET that the media reports were not released by the bank, and the bank has not received any indication from our strategic shareholders regarding this matter. If and when there is material information or related information about the matter, we will promptly notify you,” BAY said in a statement.

The media reports triggered a buying spree in BAY. It surged 20.75 baht or 29.8% last Friday alone, to close the market that day at 90.50 baht.

Adisak Phupiphathirungul, an analyst at Thanachart Securities, said BAY amounted to about 5% of the SET’s total market capitalisation, while every percentage-point fall in the stock from Friday’s closing price hurt the broader index by 0.7 points.

The SET was dealt another blow yesterday from worries over Greece’s potential exit from the euro zone after the opposition Syriza Party, whose leader has pledged to renegotiate the nation’s international bailout, was victorious in Sunday’s election, Mr Adisak said.

He said the entry points for investors should be 1,580 to 1,590 points.

In the meantime, a BAY source said it did not make any sense for BTMU, which holds a 76.9% stake in the Thai bank, to make another tender offer for the remaining shares in BAY at such a high price to delist.

Japan’s largest bank, BTMU, made a tender offer for BAY’s shares at 39 baht each in late 2013 after acquiring BAY’s 25.33% share from GE Capital, the largest acquisition in the Thai banking industry.

Under the bank’s three-year business plan, BTMU has set a clear direction to expand business in Thailand and the region, particularly in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, the source said.