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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        3  June  2011

Thai political parties pitch stronger markets

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Thai political parties are promising to push forward with developing the competitiveness of the Thai capital market, linking regional markets and improving people's financial literacy to create a strong investment culture.

Solarn Chaipravat, the chief economic adviser to the Pheu Thai Party, said it aimed to develop the agricultural futures market to help farmers hedge against fluctuations in prices of key commodities such as rice, rubber, tapioca, sugarcane and ethanol.

He said Pheu Thai would revive stalled efforts to merge the small Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (AFET) into the Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX). The merger would allow farm commodities to be traded on a more liquid board.

"We would develop the agricultural commodities market not to compete, but to link with the international market. It is not reasonable that we have to trade rice futures from Chicago," Dr Olarn said yesterday at a forum held by the Federation of Thai Capital Market Associations (Fetco).

He was joined by the economic advisers of five main parties: the Democrats, Pheu Thai, Chartthaipattana, Chart Pattana Puea Pandin and Bhumjaithai.

Korn Chatikavanij, the caretaker finance minister from the Democrats, said his party's key accomplishment in the capital markets was the introduction of the market development plan. Also significant was parliamentary approval to establish a national savings fund, which would also become a major institutional investor in the capital markets.

He acknowledged that the proposal to merge the AFET and TFEX had originated with Dr. Olarn when he served in the short-lived administration of Somchai Wongsawat in 2008. "My administration failed to push it forward because the AFET was under the remit of the Commerce Ministry which is under the Bhumjaithai party's domain," said Mr. Korn.

He said that if the Democrats formed the government after the July 3 election, they would continue to push for the amendment of the Public-Private Joint Venture Investment Act, as it would induce more private investment and listing of projects on the bourse.

He also said the Stock Exchange of Thailand should become the centre for Asean.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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