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Thai baht lowest since January

The Thaiger

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Thai baht lowest since January | The Thaiger
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The Thai baht has been Asia’s best-performing currency during Q1, 2019. But things appear to be losing momentum as the baht falls to its lowest since January.

The Thai baht weakened to as low as 32.035 per dollar, the lowest level since January 10th and falling through the psychological support of 32 baht in the US dollar.

Sentiment for the Thai currency has deteriorated as concerns linger over political stability after Thailand held its first general election on March 24 since the 2014 coup.

The Office of the Ombudsman issued a statement this week saying that it has accepted a petition seeking a review by a court on whether the election should be annulled.

Roong Sanguanruang, a market analyst at Bank of Ayudhya Pcl in Bangkok says, “As for domestic factors, we have hiccups in the political landscape and also have some of the impact from the dividend season” that contributed to the weaker baht.

Thai baht lowest since January | News by The Thaiger

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Pattaya

Major makeover proposed for Pattaya’s Walking Street

Jack Burton

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Major makeover proposed for Pattaya’s Walking Street | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Pattaya City

… but few are impressed. Images on the Facebook page of Pattaya City reveal plans for a major re-imagining and makeover of one of the resort’s most notable, and notorious, landmarks – Walking Street. Gone are the grotty road, broken pavements and lurid signs and frontages, and in their place will be an easy to navigate walking area fit for families.

Problem is the tourists and traffic Walking Street has attracted in the past are likely not interested in the swish makeover and quite liked the red light atmosphere and the bar girls in hot pants leaning out of the noisy bars.

But the Thai government has seemed fixated on cleaning up the streets’ reputation for years, with little success. Now, the futuristic design and slick new look make the red light district look like just another shopping street. Online critics are already jumping on the bandwagon saying it will be “just another mall.”

“There is not a hanging wire – or streetwalker – in sight!” one complained. Where are the tangled coils of telephone and power cables? Where are the neon signs with at least one letter not working? Where will the crusty old expats end up if they’re pushed out of Walking Street?

The designs were presented by the city’s engineering team to Pattaya’s mayor and his deputies yesterday, to an apparently “lukewarm” reception.

Major makeover proposed for Pattaya's Walking Street | News by The Thaiger

The mayor remarked that Walking Street has to be “fit for purpose” and any revamp “must not adversely affect livelihoods. Though he seemed to agree that the area must be fit for daytime as well as nightlife use, he stressed that any makeover must ensure that the “special smell and flavour” of Walking Street are maintained. Oh yes, THAT smell.

“After all, Pattaya is a renowned world class resort. And it must be able to generate revenue, that’s important.”

He sent the engineers away to revise their designs ahead of the next discussion on the issue.

Thai and foreign comments on the news were extensive and mixed. Most agreed that it’s time for a makeover, but opinion differed widely over exactly how and how much.

The reality for the city is that the Walking Street occupies prime real estate and the owners of the land want to maximise the potential value of retail and food and beverage offerings, and would prefer that it had a broader appeal beyond its raunchy nighttime-only activities. It’s inevitable that the red-light district will move into lower-rent areas of the city.

Major makeover proposed for Pattaya's Walking Street | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: thaivisa | Pattaya City

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Business

Thai Airways may not need to file for bankruptcy in US

Jack Burton

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Thai Airways may not need to file for bankruptcy in US | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TTR Weekly

Contrary to earlier reports, Thai Airways may not need to seek bankruptcy protection in the United States to avoid seizure of its planes and other assets. A senior official made the announcement after a meeting led by Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam with the struggling carrier’s senior management and the airline’s board.

The meeting was to discuss the airline’s rehabilitation plan after the Central Bankruptcy Court accepted its bankruptcy case last month. The director general of the State Enterprise Policy Office says the airline will send copies of the rehabilitation petition to its creditors, passengers who seek refunds on their tickets and members of the Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer program.

In 2019, the company’s total debts were worth 147.4 billion baht, with the biggest chunk, 74.1 billion, owed to investors, followed by 46.5 billion owed for the leasing of planes and euro-denominated loans worth about 11.9 billion.

If creditors allow the rehab process to go ahead via Thai courts, then the company won’t need to seek bankruptcy protection in the US, according to a spokesperson. According to its legal adviser, the airline doesn’t have any assets in the US and is not scheduling any flights there. So there’s no risk of its aircraft being seized by creditors there.

However, the legal adviser says, it may need to file legal cases in other countries where it does have assets and operates flights, to protect its planes from being confiscated by creditors. Airplanes operated by Thai Airways are divided into 2 groups: those owned by the airline and those leased from other companies.

The owners of the leased planes may exercise their right to seize their aircraft if they don’t agree with the rehab plan. Other creditors cannot take the planes unless they file and win a lawsuit.

“Our priority is to convince foreign creditors that they should accept the airline’s rehabilitation under Thailand’s Bankruptcy Court.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New rules for Thai cinemas to re-open in Phase 3

Jack Burton

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New rules for Thai cinemas to re-open in Phase 3 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Yahoo News

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of Emergency Decree restrictions enacted to fight the spread of Covid-19, cinemas will be allowed to reopen on June 1 (though many operators are unlikely to do so as food and drink are their main revenue source and the movie companies say there are currently no new movies to release…)

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has released the rules for the reopening, designed to help encourage social distancing and prevent any possible spread of the virus

The rules are…

  • No eating or drinking in the movie theatre. Patrons can eat concession food outside the viewing room, but the cinema must have a properly spaced eating area that encourages social distancing, with partitions
  • A maximum of 2 people can sit next to each other. Others must be spaced out at least 3 seats apart. People must not be seated directly in front or behind others
  • Film festivals and nonstop screenings are prohibited
  • Cinemas must be fully sanitised and cleaned after every viewing
  • Masks must be worn at all times during a film
  • Cinema staff will be asked to enforce the rules about eating, drinking and social distancing

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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