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Thai Banks Mostly Advance in Q1

Thailand’s banks reported their first quarter performance with most of them advancing.

In an infographic released by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, eight out of the ten analyzed banks have excelled while one has remained the same and another dropped drastically.

The ten banks have released a combined net profit report for the first quarter of 2017. In it, they announced the total net profit of 55.71 billion baht. All in all, it was an 8% increase compared to the performance in the same time of last year.

The top three in terms of net profit are Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Kasikornbank (KBank), and Krungthai Bank which have 11.91 billion baht, 10.17 billion baht, and 8.53 billion baht respectively. Meanwhile, CIMB Thai Bank suffered the biggest loss with a 63% drop in net earnings compared to their performance in the same quarter of last year.

The chief executive officer and president of SCB, Arthid Nanthawithaya relayed the satisfaction of their firm with its performance for the first quarter in a press release. The 11.91 billion baht net profit of the banking firm was a 13% increase from last year’s performance in the same time period. According to Nanthawithaya, the increase can be attributed to the hike in net interest income, net fee, and service income. He laid out future plans in their press release saying, “We are focusing on developing staff capabilities so they can adapt to changes and respond to new business models and client needs in the future.”

Second placer KBank’s 10.17 billion baht net profit increased by 5.45% compared to last year’s first quarter performance. The president of the banking firm, Predee Daochai, expressed their positive outlook for this year. The higher interest income is the reason why his bank performed so well.

Most banks see a positive outlook for the rest of 2017.

Thailand Among Top 20 in FDI Confidence Index

Thailand gets a place among the top 20 countries with highest confidence index. The Southeast Asian country entered A.T. Kearney’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index for 2017 at 19th place. Thailand moved up two places from 21st place last year.

The boost in Thailand’s FDI can be attributed in the increasing trust that foreign businesses are putting into the Asia-Pacific region.

In particular, Thailand is seen to have a better chance this year because of various factors including the higher year-on-year applications for foreign investment from January to August of 2016 and the strategic ventures of the local government to improve investment appeal.

All of these indicate a stronger FDI for 2017.

The head of A.T. Kearney’s Southeast Asian branch, Soon Ghee Chua explained how FDI works, specifically, how leaders of the companies choose which country to invest on. He said, “Executives across the globe are putting a strong focus on governance and regulatory factors when making investment decisions. This year’s index shows factors they look at include efficiency and transparency of government regulations, tax rates and ease of tax payments, and government incentives. Thailand has been ticking the boxes on all of these.”

More countries in the Asia-pacific moved up. In fact, half of the top ten countries in the FDI list are from the region. The top three are the US, Germany, and China. Thailand’s FDI have had a steady growth in the last few years. According to a conducted survey, 21% of the sample population see a positive economic outlook for Thailand until 2020.

Soon Ghee Chua adds, “Thailand’s 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan, which aims to strengthen the economy and enhance the country’s competitiveness, has emphasised its commitment toward foreign direct investment. The country’s Board of Investment has unveiled a detailed plan that provides a series of incentives — both tax and non-tax — to foreign investors in Thailand. These measures, coupled with improved prospects for Thailand’s economy, are making the country an attractive destination for global companies.”

BoT Governor Dismisses Trump’s Claims of Currency Manipulation

The Bank of Thailand has defended itself from Trump’s accusation of currency manipulation. The central bank’s governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob said in an announcement that there is no evidence implicating any of its officials of currency manipulation to illegally boost exports.

Veerathai released the response after the US decided to carry out an investigation on Southeast Asian nations for potential trade abuse.

According to sources, it’s a common act of central banks to get involved in foreign-exchange matters in times of need such as inflationary environment and geopolitical crises. In an interview with Haslinda Amin of Bloomberg Television, Veerathai dismissed Trump’s allegations.

He said, “I don’t think anyone has evidence that Thailand has manipulated the currency to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Thailand has not adopted any exchange-rate policies to gain an unfair competitive advantage in trade.”

Veerathai defended Thailand saying that the central bank’s foreign-exchange interventions were mostly caused by capital inflows which “have been coming in in a short period of time that could create adverse consequences.” He continued, “At times, we might have to intervene in the foreign-exchange market but that’s largely because of the intense capital inflows that we are on the receiving end of.”

US President Donald Trump has recently released an executive order that will probe 16 countries which have the biggest bilateral trade deficits with the world’s largest economy. Thailand is one of the countries on the receiving end of the order and is expected to be hit greatly because of the country’s dependency on exports. Currently, BoT is buffing up foreign-exchange reserves since the end of 2016 after inflows sharply increased. This move capped the baht’s advances.

Veerathai added that foreign-exchange intervention is normal. He explained, “Foreign-exchange intervention is definitely a measure that all central banks need to have on the menu list but there are also other policy measures that one can look at, from market-based measures to the likes of capital-flow management measures.”

Thailand have one of the largest trading surplus with the US. It is at 11th place.

Fintech Taking Over Thai Banking Figures

The Bank of Thailand has released data about the country’s physical bank branches. In the table entitled “Physical Branches in Firing Line”, the BoT showed how the various banks in Thailand have fared in terms of branching out.

As seen on the table, there is a general decline in physical branches. Most are coming from Kasikornbank which lost 17 branches and Thanachart Bank which lost 16 branches. The biggest losers are the fourth and fifth largest bank in Thailand respectively.

Meanwhile, both Krungthai Bank and TMB Bank were down by three branches. The Thai branch of Standard Chartered dropped by two while Siam Commercial Bank lost one branch.

The biggest gainer is Bangkok Bank which added three branches while Thai Credit Retail Bank, ICBC Bank, and Bank of Ayudhya expanded by only one branch.

According to experts this decline in statistics can be attributed to the growing presence of financial technology or fintech. In short, more and more Thais are going digital. As a consequence, traditional banks are essentially forced to go online to keep up with competition. A senior official of the Bank of Thailand was interviewed by the Bangkok Post saying that the “fast-growing fintech is shifting consumer behaviour towards the digital banking channel and forcing commercial banks to pare down their brick-and-mortar branch networks.”

BoT’s assistant governor for financial institutions policy group, Somboon Chitphentom commented on the matter saying, “Since the beginning of this year, most commercial banks have shuttered more branches than they have opened to adapt to the change in customer behaviour and lifestyle.”

He further explained that technologies are gaining traction all over the financial industry. Payment solutions such as cost-efficient approaches are being utilized to attract and maintain a solid user base. He said, “As a result, these banks have adapted by reconsidering their branch size, relocating existing branches and adding more service channels such as mobile or internet.”

Thai commercial banks are gradually realizing the importance of fintech and they are adapting to stay relevant in the financial industry.

Thai Bank Considers Digital Makeover To Keep Up with Fintech

The oldest local Thai lender, Siam Commercial Bank Plc has announced its plans to revamp its financial technology to boost its products and services.

Siam Commercial Bank is reportedly modernizing its technology, specifically its digital payment platform, by partnering with tech giants Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM), and Accenture. The century-old bank aims to create applications and brand them as a lifestyle apps that will suit all kinds of clients in their daily activities such as going to the cinema, eating out, and buying goods and services.

The chief executive officer of Siam Commercial Bank, Arthid Nanthawithaya was quoted in an interview saying that they want to go beyond the purpose of banking. He said, “I’m spending my time on every single detail of the new digital platform that we are going to launch very soon, in the next few months. What I want one day is that you’ll see SCB’s digital platform isn’t just a banking platform; this is how you reach out, this is how you gain customers.”

The move from Thailand’s oldest bank has been prompted by the fierce competition from other banks including Kasikornbank Plc who also have entered the digital fray.

However, the competition doesn’t end there. Non-banking digital payment platforms have been popping up online and it is causing a major rift between banks and potential clients. The ease and convenience that they provide have become a threat to the traditional banks.

The development of the new digital payment platform of Siam Commercial Bank is being processed at a time of reassessment in the institution. Mr Arthid confirms, “Further easing of regulations will open the gates for top global fintech providers such as Alibaba and Tencent. That fear and threat has woken up big Thai banks.”

This initiative is part of Siam Commercial Bank’s transformation into a tech-friendly firm. Last September, the famous bank announced that it has allocated $20 billion baht for technology upgrades which will be spread out within the coming two to three years.

Thailand’s CIMB Securities head of research, Kasem Prunratanamala, gave his two cents saying, “Early investment in digital banking will be costly with low return, but it’s a requirement for them to fend off any possible major disruption from non-bank fintech operators.”

While cash remains the prevailing means of transaction, online payments have skyrocketed in 2016 with roughly 35 million baht in circulation. Siam Commercial Bank wants to get into this market before it’s too late.

Bill Gates Still Wealthiest Man Alive, Sirivadhanabhakdi Richest in Thailand

Forbes has officially announced the world’s richest people for the year 2017. And to nobody’s surprise, Bill Gates is still the wealthiest man alive followed by long-time rival on the top spot, Warren Buffett.

The lineup for the world’s wealthiest includes familiar names such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Zara’s Amancio Ortega which bagged the third and fourth spot respectively. Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu is at number six thanks to his mobile telecom company. Brothers Charles and David Koch shared the eighth and ninth spot. Other tech giants such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg got the number five spot while Oracle’s Larry Ellison was at number seven. The top ten list is completed by Michael Bloomberg and his famous financial firm named after him.

Thailand’s Richest
Thais have secured significant spots in the list of the world’s wealthiest. And while the economy of the Southeast Asian country is at a steady expansion, it looks like only a handful of Thais were able to make the cut. Most of them are known personalities.

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi
The Forbes Richest list for Thais is led by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. In the world rankings, he is in 62nd place. His conglomerate, Thai Beverage, has put him in the spot with a value of $15.8 billion. Some of their most famous products are Chang beer and Sang Som Rum. It’s popularity has made the company the largest brewer in Thailand.

Dhanin Chearavanont
The second Thai to make it to the list of richest of the wealthiest of the world comes at 132nd place. Dhanin Chearavanont is currently valued at $9.7 billion and growing. He made his fortune as the chief of the agribusiness industry in Thailand with his conglomerate, Charoen Pokphand Group.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
The king of King Power Duty Free, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, enters the list at 414th place with a value of $4.2 billion. As owner and CEO of King Power International Group, he was able to amass great wealth by monopolizing the markets in Thai airports and becoming the leader in travel retail.

Vanich Chaiyawan
The owner of Thailand’s second largest insurance company, Thai Life Insurance Co. Ltd is Vanich Chaiyawan who landed the 460th place at a value of $3.9 billion. The company is currently in it’s expanding stages with branches opening in Myanmar and other Asean countries. His assets include a 1% stake in Thai Beverage, the company that is owned by Thailand’s richest man, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

Sumet Jiaravanon
Completing Thailand’s top five richest is Sumet Jiaravanon who is at 564th among the world’s wealthiest. Coincidentally, Sumet Jiaravanon is the older brother of the second richest man in Thailand, Dhanin Chearavanont. Sumet Jiaravanon’s wealth comes from the family business, Charoen Pokphand Group.

How Using Humor Can Help Thais Get Rich

Do you have a good sense of humor? Then earn money from it! Get rich just by making jokes and having a generally good time. We have compiled ways for Thais to take advantage of their funny talents and make easy.

Become a Comedian
Perhaps the most obvious way that you can make money using your funny personality is becoming a comedian. A common trait of jokesters is confidence. They are funny without even trying. That’s why we think that being a comedian can bring you big bucks if you tried.

Try the entertainment business by either doing stand-up comedy in bars and events or becoming an actor and take over the TV screens. You can do this by practicing your piece and mostly auditioning for shows and movies. If you’re persistent enough with a real talent for making people laugh, you can be on your way to stardom.

Become an Author
Authors have big potential in making big bucks if they have humor. David Sedaris, Scott Adams, Bill Watterson, Woody Allen, Terry Pratchett, Dr. Seuss, and Mark Twain are all famous authors who specialized in comedy. And it made them millions.

Here’s how you can write funny and earn money. Write for a newspaper or become an author and compile your humor. You can also become a comic artist and produce your own book. Or become a scriptwriter for sitcoms.

Become an Entrepreneur
The most straightforward way you can earn money is start a business and sell merchandise. Put witty jokes or funny lines or happy pictures onto a wide variety of products including t-shirts, bags, mugs, stickers, and all sorts of stuff. It has been proven that people always need a good laugh and that they are willing to buy this stuff.

Become a Contributor
If you think that your humor is not enough to build an enterprise on but enough to make most of the people laugh, then become a contributor and earn extra cash. You can submit your jokes on famous publications such as Reader’s Digest.

There are so many ways to earn money by being funny. You just have to be smart while joking around.

Thailand Assets Are Safe Haven Says BoT Governor

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) governor Veerathai Santiprabhob says that Thailand’s central bank has the tools and capabilities to keep the baht tamed.

In a seminar held last February 23, the chief of the central bank spoke in front of an audience hosted by the Land and Houses Bank. He emphasized that BoT is capable of curbing capital flows if the need arises using various financial instruments. Because of this, he believes that Thai assets and the baht can be considered as safe havens as they are supported by foreign reserves across the globe.

In an article of the Bangkok Post, Mr Veerathai is quoted saying, “Thailand currently has reserves of around US$200 billion, including US dollar forwards, representing the 12th-highest foreign reserves in the world. These kind of money flows into the country strengthen the baht, which, in our opinion, is not good for the Thai economy.”

Money flows in and out of Thailand at a steady pace. This movements cause volatility for the baht but it is also seen as a boost for foreign investments. Thai capital and bond markets are benefiting from this in the short-term.

The Thai baht climbed by 0.03 to 34.99 against the US dollar. Reuters data shows that the national currency added a total of 2.4% so far for this year. In comparison, the Indonesian rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit only advanced by 0.9%.

As quoted by the Bangkok Post, Mr Veerathai further explained, “These kind of money flows into the country strengthen the baht, which, in our opinion, is not good for the Thai economy. In the current stage of a highly fluctuating world, it’s the central bank’s duty to have a wide range of policy instruments in its menu to be ready to use.”

He confirmed that if the baht needed it, the BoT can utilize its policy instruments to help control baht fluctuations as opposed to using a floating exchange rate.

All in all, Mr Veerathai expressed confidence in the economy of Thailand. He hopes for the nation to have a better recovery for this year after the rough patch last 2016 when multiple geopolitical events occurred including the death of their revered king. The BoT set the GDP forecast for 2017 at 3.2%.

On March 29, BoT’s Monetary Policy Committee will examine the forecast and announce the predictions for next year, 2018.