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Phuket Business: Outlook 2012 – bulls to the fore?

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Phuket Business: Outlook 2012 – bulls to the fore? | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Personally, I am very glad 2011 is over; it was a horrible year across the board for almost all investment strategies.

I do think 2012 will be a better year, although I am not predicting that things are going to get better overnight.

Unfortunately there are two opposing forces at play which allows for a lot of uncertainty in the markets, and how these play out will have a big impact on investment performances for most asset classes.

First a quick review of 2011, which saw most stock markets of the world down. The main index for the UK was down over five per cent while in the US the main few were mixed from flat to slightly up.

In Europe we saw close to 20 per cent drops in the indexes for the French and German markets, while Greece took more than a 50 percent hit. China was also down over 20 per cent, but amazingly the Venezuelan market was the big winner for the year with just over an 80% gain.

Most alternative funds had a bad year due to the market’s moving based on reaction to government policies or other such news, which prevented any major trends from forming. Even gold and oil, which ended the year up, spent the second half of the year in a holding pattern while the world waited for the outcome of Europe’s nasty financial mess.

It looks like we may see a short term solution “voted in” during the first quarter. However, this is not guaranteed to work and is also not guaranteed to be accepted by all.

The threat of a sovereign default has the potential to continue to wreak havoc on the markets in 2012. If political action does not convince the markets that Europe is on a sustainable course, the uncertainty could cause further volatility and declines in markets.

The positive force which should be at work in the markets this year is the US presidential election. Historically, the markets usually rise as the current administration will do everything it can to prop them up, even if only for the year, in order to increase the chances of re-election. The US presidential cycle is one of the few historical indicators that has had an extremely high probability. If the situation weren’t so dire in Europe I would say that 2012 for sure would be an up year.

I don’t think we are at the start of another long-term bull market; however, I think that even if we do have another dip and if things hit the fan in Europe, it will be the last bad spell before a cyclical bull market returns, lasting at least a year or so. I am still wary of bank accounts over government guaranteed limits, since a default in Greece or Italy could trigger failures in some unexpected places.

No one really knows exactly who has the most exposure to an event like that, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

I hope everyone in Phuket and around the World has a fantastic 2012 and remains healthy and prosperous!

David Mayes MBA lives in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expatriates around the world, specializing in UK pension transfers. He can be reached at david.m@faramond.com or 085-335 8573.

— David Mayes

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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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Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

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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