Phuket hospitality; stocks, autos boom; ‘Death Merchant’ verdict today

Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

Phuket ready for Asian Hospitality Show

Phuket’s first Asian Hospitality and Travel Show is shaping up to be a winner, with strong buyer and seller interest in the run-up to the October 1-3 event.

Events Thailand, the Phuket-based organisers of the show, say they believe they can develop the event into an annual fair to support the tourism industry and to help position Phuket as a premier business event destination in South Thailand.

Seller registration is still open for travel-related businesses from around Thailand, but the sign-up window will close during the first week of September. There are many different prices depending on booth size.

Currently there are 63 registered sellers, more than had been anticipated when the show was announced last month.

Confirmations have also been received from 30 buyers, with most coming from Hong Kong, China, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The show will take place at the new Hafele Phuket Design Centre.

The event is presented by Phuket International Academy and co-sponsored by DEWA, Cape Sienna, Ambrose Wines, Hafele, North Phuket Hotels and the Blue Elephant.

The official media sponsors are the Phuket Gazette and Blue Wave Radio 90.5.

Thai stocks blooming

Thailand’s stock market is on course to double its “bull-market” rally as consumption and investment surge amid reduced political risk, according to Kasikorn Securities Co.

The SET Index may rise to 1,040 next year, a 44 percent rebound from the low in May, when soldiers cleared anti-government protesters from central Bangkok, said Kasikorn Securities’s Kavee Chukitkasem, who is among two strategists jointly ranked first in 2009 by the Securities Analysts Association.

The rally, which passed the 20 percent threshold for a bull market earlier this month, has accelerated as tensions ease from the political turmoil and the Cabinet continues to lift emergency rule in the affected provinces.

Net share purchases by foreigners may rise to a five-month high, lured by profits from spending on new cars, homes and other products.

Auto exports booming

Earth Times
Thailand’s vehicle exports jumped 140% year on year in July to their highest level ever, benefiting from the ASEAN Free Trade Area, industry sources said yesterday.

The agreement between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been in force since January 1.

Thailand exported 87,605 units in July, the most of any month in the in 22 years the country has been exporting vehicles, Auto Industry Club spokesman Surapon Paisitpattanapong said.

The exports earned revenues of 39.8 billion baht ($1.2 billion), up 130% year-on-year, he said.

“Exports were up in every market, particularly Asia where they enjoyed a boost from the ASEAN free trade agreement,” Surapon said.

The ASEAN Free Trade Area cut import tariffs to 0–5% on trade within the 10 members.

Thailand had benefited as the region’s largest hub for assembly and manufacture of automobiles, Surapon said.

Nearly every Japanese car maker has manufacturing facilities in Thailand, as do the US automotive giants Ford and General Motors, and Germany’s Mercedes and BMW.

‘Merchant of Death’ verdict today

The suspected Russian arms dealer known as “The Merchant of Death” is tired of prison life but optimistic a Thai appeals court will rule in his favor today and refuse to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said.

Viktor Bout, a 43-year-old former Soviet Air Force officer, is reputed to be one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers. He has been linked to some of modern history’s most notorious conflicts, allegedly supplying weapons that fueled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa, to clients such as former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Bout’s high-profile arrest in 2008 in Bangkok ended nearly a quarter-century of cat-and-mouse chases for the elusive Russian. It also raised Washington’s hopes for a quick handover of a man who has never been prosecuted despite being the subject of U.N. sanctions, a Belgian money-laundering indictment and a travel ban.

Instead, it spurred a diplomatic tug-of-war between Moscow and Washington that led to lengthy delays and prompted a lower court judge to seek input from the Thai Foreign Ministry, saying he was in “a tough position” and feared ties with both countries could be at stake.

The Bangkok Criminal Court ultimately rejected the U.S. extradition request in August last year.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News

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