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Phuket Business: Food and energy inflation soaring

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: Food and energy inflation soaring | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Once again, raw data from the Commerce Ministry has affirmed that the South, and particularly Phuket, continues to be “hotter” – in terms of the cost of living – than elsewhere in the Kingdom.

The Phuket Commerce Office, in conjunction with the Commerce Ministry’s Bureau of Trade and Economic Indices, recently published the Provincial Consumer Price Index (CPI-P) for September.

The report compared the cost of living in September 2012 with the previous month (m-o-m), and with September of last year (y-o-y). It also compared the first nine months of the year with the same period in 2011.

Thailand’s overall CPI study surveyed 417 consumer categories, but the CPI-P for Phuket looked at only 256, covering everything from food and beverages, apparel, shoes and day-to-day necessities, to medical and personal care services, vehicles, transport, communications, entertainment, education and religion.

Using 2007 as a base year (100 points) Thailand’s overall CPI average peaked at 116.67 points in September, compared to 116.28 points in August, equating to a m-o-m rise of 0.84%. The y-o-y inflation rate was 3.38% and the Commerce Ministry has projected the full-year figure to be between 3 and 3.4%.

Phuket’s CPI-P average peaked at 127.1 points in September, compared to 126.8 points in the previous month, a m-o-m increase of 0.2% and y-o-y rise of 5.5%. For the first nine months of the year, inflation was at 6% y-o-y – more than twice the national average.

According to the study, food and beverage items, on average, did not rise (even though from July to August 2012, the category rose by 1.5%). However, certain sub-categories did.

Namely, the price of fresh vegetables (cucumbers, Chinese cabbage, kale, parsley, morning glory, mushrooms and lime) increased by 2.3%, which the report attributed to heavy rains affecting crop supplies. In-home foods rose by 0.8%, and out-of-home foods (noodles, rice and curry at eateries and stalls) by 3%.

Meanwhile, the price of rice, flour and flour-based foods dropped by 0.2%; meats, poultry and seafood, eggs and milk products by 0.9%; fresh fruits (oranges) by 8.3% and food condiments, which includes seasonings and sauces, by 0.1%.

Prices of non-food and beverage items surveyed rose by 0.5%, compared to the previous month’s rise of 0.4%. This change was attributed mostly to the rise in tobacco and alcoholic product prices, which jumped 5.2% due to an increase in respective duties which took effect in August.

Housing utilities (electricity and water) rose in the month by 0.6%, attributed to an increase in the Fuel tariff (Ft) of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

The new Ft, effective from September to December, is 48 satang per unit, up 30 satang from the previous Ft of 18 satang. Meanwhile, medical and personal care services, which includes the cost of pharmaceuticals, nudged up by 0.2%. Fuel fell by 0.9%.

Compared to September 2011, Phuket’s cost of living rose 5.5%, with food and beverage jumping by 7.2% and fruits and vegetables by 12.7%. Out-of-home foods rose by 9.6% and in-home foods by 6.5%. Meats, poultry and seafood rose by 5.7% and rice, flour and flour-base foods by 3.5%. Non-alcoholic beverages rose by 2.6%, egg and dairy products by 1.7% and food condiments up by 1%.

As for non-food-and-beverage items, average inflation was 3.8%, which came from a 9% rise in apparel and shoes; 6.9% jump in alcohol and tobacco products; 5% hike in vehicles, transport and communications – a category which includes fuel, public transport fares and automobile prices; a 2.1% rise in housing, and a 1.3% increase in the cost of medical and personal care services.

When comparing the first nine months of this year with the same period last year, inflation was 6%, attributed to a 8.8% rise in food and beverages, calculated from the following increases: fruits and vegetables (17.4%); in-home foods (10.8%); meats, poultry and seafood (10%); food condiments (8.5%); out-of-home foods (6.8%); rice, flour and flour-based foods (5.7%); eggs and dairy products (2.8%) and non-alcoholic drinks (2.4%).

As for other non-food, non-beverage items, inflation averaged 2.1%, which came from price rises in apparel (5.4% ), vehicles, transport and communications (4.6%); housing (2.4%); medical and personal care services (1.8%) and alcohol and tobacco products (0.4%).

Meanwhile, prices of products and services related to entertainment, reading, education and religion declined on average of 0.8%

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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