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That was 2017. This is 2018. Thai Economy

Tanutam Thawan

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That was 2017. This is 2018. Thai Economy | The Thaiger

by Patrick Cooke, Regional Editor for Asia.

Rising overseas demand for goods and services pushed Thailand’s GDP towards five-year highs in 2017, with business-friendly fiscal policies and planned spending on infrastructure expected to support further expansion in 2018.

The Thai economy improved over the course of 2017, recording year-on-year growth of 3.3% in the first quarter, 3.8% in the second quarter and 4.3% between July and September, the largest quarterly jump since 2013, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

The board cited a rise in exports, consumption and private investment, coupled with improved returns from agriculture and manufacturing, as key contributors to growth.

The positive results prompted the NESDB to narrow its forecast for full-year growth to 3.9%, at the upper end of the 3.5-4% predicted by the NESDB, and slightly above the 3.8% projected by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the IMF. The board had earlier given a broader forecast for GDP expansion of between 3.6% and 4.6%.

That was 2017. This is 2018. Thai Economy | News by The Thaiger

Strong performance from exports

Significantly higher levels of international sales underpinned growth as 2017 went on, with the value of exports in US dollar terms rising by 6.8% y-o-y in the first quarter, before expanding by 7.9% and 12.5% in the second and third quarter, respectively.

Of this, agricultural exports jumped by 20.5% between January and March, 19.2% in the second quarter and 28.4% during the July-September period – with the latter period seeing the highest growth recorded in two years. Manufacturing products also performed well, expanding by 5.9%, 12.5% and 9.6%, respectively, on the back of more favourable global economic conditions.

Full-year export growth is slated to reach 8.6% in 2017, following 0.1% growth in 2016 and three consecutive years of negative growth before that.

That was 2017. This is 2018. Thai Economy | News by The Thaiger

Interest rates and inflation remain steady

Despite the faster pace of growth, the BOT left its benchmark one-day repurchase rate at 1.5% throughout 2017. The rate has been on hold at 25 basis points above its all-time low since April 2015.

In notes released following a review in late November, the bank’s monetary policy committee appeared to rule out any short-term increases, as well as any further reductions in the rate.

“Recent below-target inflation was mainly due to supply-side and structural factors; further monetary policy accommodation therefore would not be appropriate and could result in the build-up of vulnerability in the financial system,” it concluded.

The bank is expected to maintain its accommodative benchmark rate well into 2018 on the back of muted inflation, given the prospect of interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve, according to Chavinda Hanratanakool, CEO of Krungthai Asset Management.

“The cost of business will surge if interest rates go up,” she told OBG. “Even with the gap closing for 1.5%, the policy rate may remain the same.”

Indeed, inflation also closed out 2017 below the BOT’s targeted range of 1-4%. The consumer price index rose 0.7% on average over the year, below the BOT’s band.

That was 2017. This is 2018. Thai Economy | News by The Thaiger

Major infrastructure plans to help drive new growth

The government’s Thailand 4.0 programme, which aims to shift the economic focus away from production and towards services, is set to be a major driver of new growth in 2018.

Increased spending on supporting infrastructure, research and development, technology and value-added manufacturing, combined with incentives that include tax holidays and exemptions on import duties for many industrial inputs, are likely to spur private sector investment.

Thailand 4.0 is also expected to improve the country’s regional competitiveness, with the aim of halting enterprise relocation to more labour-intensive manufacturing bases such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

Competitiveness will be boosted through an acceleration of transport projects in 2018, with ground to be broken on three rapid transit lines in the capital. In addition, the government has budgeted BT745bn ($22.8bn) for more than 100 transport projects in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), according to Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the minister of transport.

“The idea is to develop the infrastructure for air and sea, and make the travelling time between the capital and the EEC shorter by building the Bangkok-Rayong high-speed rail,” he told OBG.

That was 2017. This is 2018. Thai Economy | News by The Thaiger

Household debt a cause for concern

Domestic consumption is expected to rise into 2018, following the implementation of tax breaks on year-end shopping after the year-long period of mourning for His Late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej ended on October 27.

According to the NESDB, private consumption expanded by 3.1% in the third quarter, up from 3% and 3.2% in the preceding two quarters.

Any further increases in consumer spending, then, should have a positive impact across several sectors, including manufacturing, retail and tourism.

However, high levels of household debt could moderate expenditure. The ratio of household debt to GDP stood at around 77% in mid-November, according to BOT data, down slightly from a high of 80% in 2015, but still weighing on purchasing power, according to the bank.

Spending could also be affected by higher fuel inflation in 2018 if oil prices move upward.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Oxford Business Group



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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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Central’s new Suvarnabhumi lifestyle centre set to open late August

Tanutam Thawan

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Central’s new Suvarnabhumi lifestyle centre set to open late August | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Central Pattana

Central Village, a new luxury retail outlet situated near Suvarnabhumi International Airport, is 70% finished. Wallaya Chirathivat, deputy chief executive of Central Pattana, says the new lifestyle shopping precinct is scheduled to open on August 31.

Central says that retail space in Phase 2 have now opened after Phase 1 of the retail development was totally booked. They report 65 brands have already booked their space in the new development.

Central says the new space is designed with a primary target audience of 25-40 with a monthly income exceeding 50,000 baht.

Ms Wallaya said in the Bangkok Post… “We aim to attract over 10 million Thai and foreign shoppers in the first year. World-renowned tourist destinations such as Britain, Japan and Hong Kong have their favourite outlets for tourists, and soon Thailand will be proud of Central Village. It will become a must-visit shopping destination to complete your trip.”

Central Pattana also have a new Central concept store rising out of the ground in Cherng Talay, Phuket, between the Cherng Talay police station and Boat Avenue, on the east side of the road. It will be called Central Porto de Phuket.

Central's new Suvarnabhumi lifestyle centre set to open late August | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket expat re-invents the way sewing machines work

Tanutam Thawan

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Phuket expat re-invents the way sewing machines work | The Thaiger

British inventor creates a new sewing system that eliminates the bobbin.

When you list the worlds top inventions the sewing machine is rarely included, it’s lucky if it makes it into the top 50!

But there are very few moments in our daily life when we are not close to something that’s been produced using a sewing machine.

Now a recent patent, developed by a Phuket expat, is set to bring the sewing machine back into the forefront. Templeton Hancock, a British sewing machine mechanic and former sewing machine demonstrator living in Rawai, has created a new Everlasting Bobbin Sewing (EBS) System that eliminates the need for constantly changing thread bobbins.

A bobbin is a spindle or cylinder, with or without flanges, on which wire, yarn, thread or film is wound. Bobbins are typically found in sewing machines, cameras, and within electronic equipment. In non-electrical applications the bobbin is used for tidy storage without tangles – Wikipedia

“The inception to create the EBS System came to me after a conversation I had with a customer who voiced her frustration with having to continually change the bobbin.  It made me question why no one had come up with a satisfactory solution to discard it.”

“The EBS System offers huge benefits not just to manufactures but to everyone who regularly uses a sewing machine; it saves time, improves the quality and finish of garments, reduces waste and make the sewing machine more user-friendly and lessens the impact on the environment.”

The first patented sewing machine was in 1790 to an Englishman, Thomas Saint. Over the next 60 years, the machine was modified and improved to something that is still mechanically recognisable in comparison to today’s machines.

Since the 1980’s there have been significant electronic advancements to the sewing machine, but the need for a refillable bobbin has always harkened back to its introduction in 1853.  Over the years, there have been many who have tried to solve this bobbin dilemma. The simple EBS System provides the solution.

Phuket expat re-invents the way sewing machines work | News by The Thaiger

So, how does it work?

With current technology, the needle and upper thread pass down into the machine bed.  As the needle draws back up, the upper thread is left behind, just slightly, but it is enough that a loop is formed.  Machines are timed so that a rotating hook underneath the machine, spinning off a centrally placed drive shaft, can catch this loop and pass it over the bobbin and bobbin case to create a locking stitch.

The EBS System is different.  The drive shaft is moved to one side and the hook is placed within a bearing which has drive teeth on its circumference. A void is now created within the bearing which allows for a thread feed tube to supply endless amounts of thread to freely pass without interruption from the rotating hook, eliminating the need for a bobbin.

The bobbin holds, on average for #40 weight thread, around 34.3m of thread.  In manufacturing this can equate to the bobbin running out on average, every 9-11 minutes. Methods of turn around to get the machine operational again can vary from 22 seconds to 3 minutes, cutting into the amount of hourly units produced and also increasing wastage/seconds garments for the item in production when the thread ran out. 

Analysis of Operation in manufacturing puts aside an average 20% of Standard Allocated Hours (SAH) for changing the bobbin, adjustments and staff rest breaks. By removing the need to refill the bobbin and using the EBS System, manufacturing can be increased by as much as 19%.

Realising the problem with the bobbin, many manufacturers have opted for using a chain stitch instead of a locking thread for seaming. The downside being that the chain stitch uses more thread, creates a bulkier seam and is not as strong as the lock stitch. 

By using the EBS System instead of a chain stitch, a factory making jeans (for example) could save an average of 8.9m of thread per unit produced (depending on method of manufacture), and at the same time produce a better quality garment with stronger and less bulky seams.  8.9 metres multiplied by the amount of units produced each day, week and month, equates to being considerable saving even before you add back in the garments that would usually be discarded as wastage/seconds which have now been mostly eliminated.

The EBS System is not just limited to clothing. Footwear, upholstery, luggage and automotive manufacturers are also to benefit from the lack of a bobbin.  When the bobbin thread runs out, holes have been made in the material and it takes a short time before the machine operator notices.

The precision of the fit and strength of the material has been compromised and a labour intensive task now begins to reinforce the stitch and try to match the holes already created in the material. 

A continuous stream of thread will reduce the amount of wastage of leather and vinyl products in the pursuit of perfection that is expected and demanded by consumers.

The EBS System is not just for industrial use.

The simplicity of the design makes it versatile to be used in the domestic market. The EBS System is a relief to home sewing enthusiasts whose interests are within home decor and quilting. No more will they suffer the frustration when the thread runs out in the middle of a project. 

The versatility of the EBS System is that it can also be used with the current refillable bobbin for those small repairs and quick fixes that would require a variety of short lengths of different coloured thread.

The EBS System also looks to the future. A.I. and automation is making advances into the sewing industry, but these machines still need to be carefully monitored as they still rely on the need for a refillable bobbin.  Using the EBS System machines will enable manufactures to run for 24 hours with very little supervision, with an endless flow of lower lockstitch thread.

US Patent #10156034  PCT#IB2019/050843

For further information contact Templeton Dean Hancock… templeton_dean@hotmail.com

Phuket expat re-invents the way sewing machines work | News by The ThaigerTempleton Hancock, Phuket-based seining machine mechanic and inventor

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Thailand cuts rubber exports in a four month moratorium

Tanutam Thawan

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Thailand cuts rubber exports in a four month moratorium | The Thaiger

Thailand is cutting rubber exports by 126,000 tonnes next week for a four month moratorium. This is a delay in implementing the supply cut agreement with two other regional producers, according to the Rubber Authority of Thailand.

Originally it was agreed that Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia would cut exports back on April 1, a date agreed by the International Tripartite Rubber Council. Those three countries account for about 70% of the globe’s natural rubber production and made the decision to cutback exports by a total of 240,000 metric tonnes to prop-off the dwindling prices.

Reuters reports that the world’s biggest rubber exporter, Thailand, delayed the measure because of the March 24 election, and will now cut exports between May 20 and Sept 19.

“Thailand will proceed as agreed by the three countries, and will assess results every month,” according to the acting governor of the authority, Yium Tavarolit.

“If prices don’t move, then we have to review the measure.” he told Reuters.

Besides curbing exports, the ITRC is aiming to significantly increase domestic demand and use of rubber in the three countries through developments like rubberised roads.

Rubberised asphalt concrete (RAC), also known as asphalt rubber or just rubberised asphalt, is noise reducing pavement material that consists of regular asphalt concrete mixed with crumb rubber made from recycled tires. … Since then it has garnered interest for its ability to reduce road noise – Wikipedia

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