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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit

The Thaiger

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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit | The Thaiger

The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit from next Friday and give UK PM Theresa May time to get her deal approved in Parliament.

The PM had hoped to persuade the EU to delay the March 29 Brexit date, set in law, to June 30. But the EU country leaders have offered her two dates…

  1. A delay until May 22 if MPs approve her withdrawal deal in next week’s vote.
  2. 2. A shorter delay until April 12 if they reject it. But the UK will have to set out its next steps – another extension or leaving without a deal.

But the EU says a further extension beyond April 12 is only possible if the UK agrees to hold EU elections on May 23.

As to how British lawmakers can sort things out in a few weeks after two years of debate remains to be seen.

But economists are warning Thailand to brace for some fallout from the UK exit from the EU because it is more likely to happen than not, just a matter of when.

First of all, no-deal Brexit means the UK will no longer be a part of the EU bloc and will have to revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. Made-in-UK goods will be subject to EU tariffs, like that of other non-EU nations. Meanwhile, the price of the EU-made merchandises in the UK may become more expensive as they will have to bear the cost of imported tariffs as well.

According to SCB Economic Intelligence Centre, a no-deal Brexit will impact the UK economy and, consequently, affect British purchasing power overseas. British demand for Thai exports, namely automobiles and parts, and processed chicken meat may reduce.

British expats will also have to face a worsening rate of exchange with the Thai baht, lessening the power of the British pound they bring into the Kingdom for living, retirement or holidays.

Nonetheless, the overall impact on Thai exports should not be significant because the Thai outbound shipment to the UK represents only 1.5 percent of total Thai exports, according to the the think tank of Siam Commercial Bank.

Brexit may also prompt Thailand and the EU to renegotiate some trade deals such as import quota to the EU. Thailand may have to renegotiate the export quota with the EU on processed chicken, as an example. And Thailand may also have to negotiate another chicken export deal with the UK separately after the UK separation from the EU.

Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of Department of Trade Negotiations, said Brexit could complicate the process of Thai-EU free trade negotiation, which is scheduled to resume in the second half of this year.

“At any rate, after the Thai general election, Thailand is set to continue to negotiate with the EU on the Thai-EU free trade deal regardless of the UK decision.”

On the bright side, Brexit may prompt the UK investors to pay more attention to potential markets beyond the EU border. At present, direct investment from the UK to Thailand is small, accounting for only 3.5 percent of the total foreign direct investment, according to SCB.

Kasikorn Research Centre note that in addition to Brexit, Thai investors should take into account the consequences of the EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force last month.

The EPA could affect the exports of Thai automobile which is part of the Japanese’ supply chains. The EPA will end tariffs of auto and parts between Japan and EU by 2026.

Kasikorn Bank’s think tank says, in light of Brexit, some Japanese automakers will likely relocate some of their car production from the UK to other EU countries to maintain the EU trade privileges. Nissan and Honda have already flagged this probability.

Thus, the destinations for Thai exported automobiles and parts, which are part of the supply chains of Japanese automakers, may also change in accordance with Japanese automakers’ revised business strategy.

While the actual impacts on trade and investment remain to be seen, Brexit has been chiefly attributed to the volatility of the British pound since the referendum in 2016.

The SCB Economic Intelligence Centre say the weaker British pound could dampen the sentiment of British arrivals. They note that UK holidaymakers are among the high spenders in Thailand with 77,600 baht per trip.

“At any rate, since the receipts from British travelers represent only 2.1 percent of the total, the impact on the Thai tourism industry will be insignificant.”

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Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg

May Taylor

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Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg | The Thaiger

Thai Residents reports that on Sunday, Bloomberg published an article on the world’s best pension systems, using information gathered from the 2019 Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index.

The survey looked at the pension systems of 37 countries with metrics including employee rights, savings, the number of homeowners, growth of assets, and growth of the economy. The purpose of the analysis was to determine what was needed to improve state pension systems and to gauge the level of confidence citizens had in their state pension system.

The Netherlands and Denmark were found to have the world’s best state pensions, with Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and Chile next. Out of all 37 countries, Thailand finished last, with what the report described as an extremely ineffective and ambiguous system.

“Thailand was in the bottom slot and should introduce a minimum level of mandatory retirement savings and increase support for the poorest.”

Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg | News by The Thaiger

Photo: WorkpointNews

Thai Residents states that only those employed within the government system in Thailand are eligible for a pension based on salary. For most Thai citizens, pension amounts vary from 600 baht to 1,000 baht a month, depending on the recipient’s age.

A report carried out by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advises Thai citizens to have at least 4 million baht saved by the time they retire, but Thai Residents reports that 60% of Thai retirees have less than 1 million baht in savings, with one in three citizens who have reached retirement age are forced to continue working in order to survive.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com

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Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up – The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

The Thaiger

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Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up – The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which operates luxury brand The Peninsula Hotels, says it will “vigorously defend its rights” to manage The Peninsula Bangkok, following a legal win by the hotel’s Thai shareholder that paves the way for the management agreement to be terminated.

And so the open wounds of a business saga are now on full display between a international hotel management company and the local Thai owners. This time it’s involving one of Bangkok’s best known luxury hotels.

Thai business law prevents many of the international hotel brands actually owning the properties so wealthy Thai families acquire the properties and then contract international hotel expertise to manage the assets where two entities are trying to get a larger slice of the pie. And, for now, the pie is getting smaller with the contraction in the traditional hotel business and the challenges Thai tourism is currently facing.

Peninsula Hotel, the iconic 370 room Chao Phraya riverside hotel, is 50% owned by the Phataraprasit family and the other half by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ subsidiary in Bangkok.

The Peninsula Bangkok is a 5-star hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The hotel opened in 1998, counting 37 floors and 367 rooms.

Skift.com reports that the Thai shareholder went to court after it failed to end the agreement in the boardroom on January 26, as it was blocked by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels subsidiary, which has a voting majority in the board. But on September 10, the local Thonburi Civil Court ruled that the subsidiary should not have been allowed to vote on a resolution regarding the termination of the agreement.

The legal case between a Thai owner and hotel chain managers over non-performance, isn’t the first. Minor International is suing Marriott International is sueing the Marriott Group for a “highly disappointing” performance of the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Mai Khoa. Minor fully owns the luxury beachside hotel and and Marriott manages. The lawsuit was filed on July 12. The case is ongoing.

The statement says…

“Any termination of Peninsula’s management would be tantamount to a breach of the shareholders agreement between Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Phataraprasit shareholders, as well as the Peninsula’s management agreement. Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels will vigorously defend its rights. Pending the outcome of the appeal and other legal processes which are ongoing, The Peninsula Bangkok continues to be operated by The Peninsula under the hotel management agreement which continues to be legally binding.”

Some background, the Thai Phataraprasit family, who also have interests in The Mall Group (that manages the Siam Paragon and Emporium shopping centres in Bangkok), alleges that The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels had not run the hotel profitably in the last 20 years.

In an article in the Bangkok-based Travel Impact Newswire, Pradit Phataraprasit, head of the Thai family’s investments, had strong words.

“In the last 20 years, there has not been a single year in which the Peninsula hotel group’s management company has run the hotel profitably for its shareholders.”

“The Peninsula sits on one of the most expensive riverside land plots in this city but, very curiously, it cannot yield a dividend for its shareholders. We have been very patient with the management company belonging to our partners from Hong Kong. However, the time has come for another management company to run this hotel.”

For their part the COO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Peter Borer, says the group had always operated “with integrity” regarding the operation of the hotel.

“Over the past decade, the hotel’s financial performance has been affected by political uncertainties and a challenging luxury hotel market in Bangkok, but as a group with a long-term investment philosophy, we have always remained committed to Thailand.

Commenting on the ongoing legal fracas….

“The daily operations of the hotel are not currently affected pending the final outcome of the legal actions.”

The company’s Q1&2 results shows the hotel had a drop of 5% in revenue compared with January to June last year. The average room rate rose 8%, but the occupancy rate dipped 6%.”

Reporting on the results so dar this year….

“The Peninsula Bangkok reported a relatively soft start to the year, impacted by a slower economy and uncertainty over the country’s first elections since 2014. Our hotel was also negatively affected by extensive roadworks adjacent to our property which impacted our food and beverage and catering business.”

Again, the Phuket boat tragedy, killing 47 Chinese tourists in July 2018, was presented as a key reason for current woes.

“Chinese mainland tourist arrivals declined year-on-year following a tragic boating accident in Phuket in 2018 which led to reduced group tourism to the country overall.”

Two years ago Pradit Phataraprasit was named as being involved in the Dhammakaya Temple scandal.

“Prominent Businessman Pradit Phataraprasit has denied any involvement in alleged embezzlement or the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple after records show he bought a land plot from a suspected money launderer.”

SOURCE: skift.com

Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up - The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel | News by The Thaiger

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies

Greeley Pulitzer

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies | The Thaiger

Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.

Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.

A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.

Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.

“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.

The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.

The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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