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Phuket inflation tops South

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PHUKET: Not only is Phuket still considered the most expensive consumer province in Thailand, but its annual inflation rate remains the highest in the South – the Kingdom’s most inflated region.

Thailand’s cost of living in 2012, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose by 3.02% from the previous year, while overall inflation in Phuket was measured at 5.5%.

The Phuket Commerce Office, in collaboration with the Phuket provincial government and the Commerce Ministry’s Information Office and Bureau of Trade and Economic Indices, recently published the province’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-P) report for 2012.
Compared with the national CPI report, which surveys 407 items, the CPI-P monthly report for Phuket surveys 256 consumer goods and services – covering everything from food, beverages, apparel, housing and personal health-care to vehicles, transport, communications, entertainment, media, education, religion, tobacco and alcohol.

December, 2012 vs 2011
Using 2007 as a base year (100 points), the CPI national average during the last month of 2012 peaked at 116.86 points, rising 0.45 points from 116.41 points in November, 2012. This represents a month-on-month (m-o-m) increase of 0.39%, and a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase of 3.63%, while the full-year CPI average in 2012 was 3.02% higher than 2011.

The figure is in line with the MoC’s initial prediction of an annual inflation rate of between 3-3.4%.

In contrast, Phuket’s CPI-P for the final month of the year peaked at 126.3 points or 26.3% inflation since 2007 – up 0.7 percentage points from the previous month and 5.4 points from December, 2011. This equates to rises of 0.55% m-o-m and 4.4% y-o-y.

December’s y-o-y inflation of 4.5% was mainly attributed to a 4.9% increase measured in food and beverage items (f&b), which was calculated from price increases in fruits and vegetables (11.6%); out-of-home consumer foods (5.6%); meat, poultry and seafood (4.9%); in-home consumer foods (3.4%), non-alcoholic (3.1%); rice, flour and flour products (1.3%) and egg and dairy products (0.5%); meanwhile, the Phuket Commercial office reported 1.7% deflation in the food condiments category.

Non f&b items inflated y-o-y by 4.2%, calculated from a 9% jump in clothing apparel and footwear (men’s and ladies’ shirts and student badges); as well as inflation in tobacco and alcohol products (7.8%); packaging, transport and communications – including the price of petrol, public transportation and automobile expenses (6%); housing – including construction materials, labor, utilities and energy (2.4%); personal health care expenses and pharmaceuticals (1.3%); and a 0.5% jump in entertainment, reading, education and religion – a category which includes sporting goods and pet care expenses.

2012 vs 2011, OVERALL
The CPI-P average for the entire year was 124.8 points, up 5.5% from the 2011 average of 118.3 points. The inflation rate was attributed to a 7.8% increase in f&b costs, including fruits and vegetables (14.4%); in-home consumer foods (9.4%); meat, poultry and seafood (8.7%); out-of-home consumer foods (6.8%); food condiments (6%); rice, flour and flour products (4.8%) and non-alcoholic beverages (2.5%); egg and dairy products (2%).

Non f&b items inflated by 3.3%, calculated from rises in clothing apparel and footwear (6.3%); packaging, transport and communications (4.7%); housing expenses (2.4%); alcohol and tobacco (2.3%) and personal health care (1.8%).

Meanwhile the category for entertainment, reading, education and religion experienced deflation by 0.5%.

— Steven Layne

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

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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 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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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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