Thailand’s Generals Can’t Restart the Economy

Thailand’s Generals Can’t Restart the EconomyMost of Thailand’s economic news is continuing to dampen any remaining hope that the military junta, now in power for 15 months, would usher in an era of economic revival. The kingdom is at best static while long-laggard neighbors Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines appear to be on the rise. Indeed the perception at home…

Thailand Mulls a Fling at the Gaming Tables

Thailand Mulls a Fling at the Gaming TablesThailand’s National Reform Council may be getting desperate as it seeks to revive the country’s economy. The discipline of military rule combined with market economics has thus far failed to raise growth above anemic levels. So how about allowing casinos? The proposal has emanated from a group of 12 NRC members led by Anana Vacharotai,…

Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau: Economic Brake?

Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau: Economic Brake?Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau, which manages the assets of the Thai royalty, is the elephant in the country’s economic room, controlling a full 15 percent of its economy and, according to a recent seminar at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, acting as a significant brake on economic growth. “Although the quantity of…

Oil Prices not Delivering Asia Boom

Oil Prices not Delivering Asia BoomThe best efforts of central bankers in the West and Japan to re-ignite inflation have thus far failed. The rest of Asia, which once seemed partly immune to the problems of aging and indebted societies, is now looking far more vulnerable to deflationary forces. Low and still-falling interest rates should in principle benefit these countries…

Thai Tuna Behemoth Looks Abroad for Acquisitions

Thai Tuna Behemoth Looks Abroad for AcquisitionsThe news that Thai Union Frozen Products Pcl will purchase the Norwegian seafood firm King Oscar for an undisclosed amount is heing greeted by environmentalists with concern.  Aggressive tuna fishing companies, principally among them Thai ones, the biggest of which is Thai Union, have been responsible for nearly denuding the Pacific of Bluefin tuna, whose…

The Threat of Dams Grows on the Mekong River

The Threat of Dams Grows on the Mekong RiverTwo crucial decisions face authorities this week on the Mekong River, one of the world’s greatest waterways and the primary source of fish for 60 million people. The Mekong, the world’s greatest fishery, is under growing threat from a wide variety of sources as riparian countries, particularly China build more and more dams on its…

Thai Rice Subsidy Program Ends With a Whimper

Thai Rice Subsidy Program Ends With a WhimperThailand has largely ended its disastrous scheme to subsidize rice farmers, having lost the country’s position as the world’s biggest exporter and left it an estimated US$2 billion in the hole with vast amounts of rice deteriorating in warehouses. The prime minister faces corruption charges and rebellion from angry farmers who form the backbone of…

Thailand’s Rice Subsidy Under Siege

Thailand’s Rice Subsidy Under SiegeA Thai legislative committee has advised the Pheu Thai government to put an end to the country’s disastrous rice subsidy program, which according to a Finance Ministry audit has cost billions of dollars over the first two years of implementation and lost the country its position as the world’s leading rice exporter. The recommendation, by…

International Implications of Thailand’s Internal Squabble

International Implications of Thailand’s Internal SquabbleAs the world watches the unfolding events in Thailand with unease as pro and anti-Thaksin forces take their protests to the streets of Bangkok, unsettled and unsettling questions are arising over the international implications of the struggle.  Questions of the contest for primacy between the two opposing camps have simmered for the best part of…
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