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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        27  June  2011

CP Group enters rubber business

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Rubber experts have welcomed the move by the giant Charoen Pokphand Group to enter the industry, as the presence of the agribusiness heavyweight would create more competition and benefit the industry as a whole.

C P operates a sapling nursery in Loei and believes more such facilities will be needed to help the industry develop.

The bright outlook in the next few years for the commodity has attracted more players but the government also wants to promote related businesses such as rubber nurseries and rubber manufacturing to support the growth.

CP Group chairman Dhanin Chearavanont announced recently that the group would place more emphasis on rubber and aimed to lead the business within the next few years.

He said the group had developed hybrid rubber tree saplings that could yield for up to 36 years, compared with 25 years for other strains. Investments to make rubber products such concentrated latex will also be made at plantation sites.

Thai Hua Rubber Co chief executive officer Luckchai Kittipol said the entry of CP reflected the promising future of Thai rubber thanks to strong exports and fuel prices that have significantly pushed up prices of competing synthetic rubber.

Raw rubber sheets in Thailand were trading last Friday at 130 baht, down from an average of 140 baht last month and a peak of 174 baht in February. However, prices are much stronger than the averages of 58 baht in 2009 and 105 baht last year.

Strong demand from China, mainly to feed its growing automobile industry, would push Thailand's rubber exports to 2.9 million tonnes this year, up from 2.74 million in each of the previous two years, he said.

Thai investors have been expanding rubber plantations both locally and abroad and rubber tree expansion is a key policy of many political parties.

"There's nothing wrong with promotion but they should promote the nursery industry to support such large expansion," said Mr Luckchai.

Though the first phase of 200,000 rai of the 800,000 rai-plantation expansion project started this year, a shortage of saplings is still a major obstacle.

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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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