Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses #SootinClaimon.Com

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Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses


68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, do business owners really realize just how essential SEO has become today as an online marketing strategy? Many actually don’t, and therefore tend to take it lightly.

It is generally known that search engine optimization (SEO) is what a business owner does to ensure their digital properties (such as web pages) can be found online when their target audience searches the web with keywords related to their industry, products or services.

But, given that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, do business owners really realize just how essential SEO has become today as an online marketing strategy? Many actually don’t, and therefore tend to take it lightly.

No wonder the experts at Inspira Digital Agency here in Thailand see the need to highlight how SEO has become the key to digital marketing success for businesses in 2021 and beyond.

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Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for BusinessesDigital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses

First, it’s important to understand that organic search today is the major source of website traffic for businesses, whether small, medium, or large. In fact, according to research by Bright Edge, up to 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search; and Google, as the organic search market leader, controls a whopping 92.96% of this organic search traffic.

What this tells us is that PPC campaigns, social media and other traffic sources pale in comparison to organic search when it comes to traffic generation, and SEO happens to be the only way business owners can claim their share of organic traffic.

When it comes to building trust and credibility, and being recognized as an industry authority, any business with an online presence simply cannot disregard SEO. As Cookie Veeratat, Account Manager at Inspira Digital Agency, states, “our clients are beginning to understand more and more, the necessity of SEO to strengthen their target consumers’ perception of their brand as an industry authority.”

She further explained that “this could be as a result of them coming to realize that the more their target audience keep seeing their brand name and web pages on the number one search engine results page of a leading search company like Google when they search for pertinent information, the more these consumers will regard their business as relevant, credible, and authoritative.”

For a brand looking to build authority and trust which are vital for success in marketing, ranking its web pages high on Google’s (or any other search platform’s) SERPs can only be achieved with good SEO, which accounts for optimized content and on-page elements, quality backlink profiles, positive user behavior, and machine-learning signals.

As the use of mobile devices to access the web continues to grow, so does the need for small and medium-sized businesses to optimize their web pages for local search. Consumer insights obtained from a study by Think with Google have it that 30% of all mobile searches are related to location, and 76% of people who use their smartphones to search for nearby products and services visit a business within a day.

Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for BusinessesDigital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for BusinessesSo local SEO, which involves the optimization of digital properties for a particular locality such as a town or city, ensures consumers who are in the same vicinity as a locally optimized business can find it quickly and easily.

Commenting on how essential local SEO can be for businesses, Xavier Cloitre, Managing Director of Inspira Digital Agency, notes that “local SEO is a sure way to increase engagement, traffic, and conversions.” Going further, he revealed that “in order to boost engagement on the local level, the first thing our SEO pros do is to optimize a brand’s Google Business Profile, its Knowledge Graph panel, and its social media profiles…”

Ultimately, in order to market better to their target audience and position their brand for constant growth, business owners need a good knowledge of the web environment, the tactics used by their competitors, and their own level of performance at any point in time. The good news is that the process of SEO can equip them with such useful insights as it incorporates in-depth research, tracking, and analytics.

“The bottom line remains that the essentiality of SEO as part of the online strategy of businesses today and in the future cannot be overemphasized – it is absolutely necessary for successful marketing,” Cookie Veeratat concludes.

Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for BusinessesDigital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses

About Inspira Digital Agency

Inspira Digital Agency is a full-service digital marketing and SEO Company in Thailand focused on helping businesses achieve their online marketing goals. Find out more about how Inspira creates and executes effective digital strategies at inspiradigitalagency.com. You can also reach out via contact@inspiradigitalagecy.com, or call +66 (0)8 1466 7837.

Published : August 02, 2021

To disclose or not to disclose? #SootinClaimon.Com

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To disclose or not to disclose?


Nu To Van Partner, Tax & Legal – Global Trade Advisory Deloitte Thailand Tom Cachet Manager, Tax & Legal – Global Trade Advisory Deloitte Thailand

After a year completely disrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic, there were some indications by the beginning of 2021 that Thai Customs had picked up their audit activities on importers, most likely to make up for the limited controls on imports that preceded and in search of foregone duty and tax revenue.

Companies, which are audited by Customs, are at risk of having to pay back duties and VAT together with fines, penalties surcharges in case of non-compliance issues.

However, by April of 2021, a third Covid-wave hit Thailand and Customs decided to scale back their enforcement activities in an effort not to place an undue burden on companies already suffering from the pandemic.

To disclose or not to disclose?To disclose or not to disclose?

Temporary incentives for self-disclosure of non-compliance to Customs

Instead, incentives are being made available to companies to self-disclose non-compliance issues with duty and tax exposures. The One-Stop-Service for Additional Duty Payment (One-Stop-Service Program) already allows importers to disclose self-identified import duty/VAT shortfalls centrally to Customs Headquarter. As long as the importer can prove that there was no intention to evade duties, Customs would waive the customs fines. This program still runs until 30 September 2021.

In addition, a new Ministerial Regulation was released on 28 May 2021 to reduce monthly duty surcharges to 0.25% of any outstanding duty payable for those companies making a self-disclosure to Customs. Duty surcharges are calculated monthly on top of the duty shortfall amount, which is either detected by Customs or self-disclosed by the importer, from the date of import/export until the date of payment (but capped at the total amount of duty shortfall). Normally, duty surcharges range from 0.25% to 1%, depending on when payment is made. However, under the new Ministerial Regulation the percentage is fixed at 0.25% regardless how far back the import/export is dated.

The duty surcharge reduction is a temporary relief measure in response to the lingering Covid situation in Thailand, and applies from 1 June until 30 September 2021.

By promoting both a waiver on customs fines and a reduction of duty surcharges in case of a self-disclosure, Customs is making an attempt to convince companies to independently come forward with any self-assessed non-compliance findings. This will still allow them to secure some duty revenue despite not being able to conduct their usual audit activities. Now may be the time for companies to seriously consider taking them up on their offer. After the relief measures expire on 30 September 2021, and if the situation allows it, Customs is expected to increase their audits once again.

What to look out for?

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Some of the typical non-compliance issues that Customs assessed companies for before restricting their audit activities were related to the use of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), payments of royalties and declaration of tariff code (HS codes).

Importers who make use of FTAs to obtain import duty privileges must present to Customs a Certificate of Origin (CO) issued in the exporting country. Thai Customs is known to rigorously verify whether COs have been completed in accordance with FTA guidelines and are consistent with other submitted customs documentation such as the import declaration, invoice and bill of lading. If any errors or inconsistencies are detected, the duty privileges are usually denied. One area that has caught Customs’ recent attention was related to FTA imports that involved multiple party sales transactions and “breakbulk” transactions in an intermediary country where a regional distribution center is located.

Currently, these kind of transactions are only allowed under the ASEAN FTA. Using the same kind of transactions under different FTAs are currently not allowed in Thailand and can lead to claw back of duties and taxes together with fines and penalties for historic shipments.

Another area is related to the declared value of imported goods. During audits, Customs normally reviews whether any additional payments (e.g. for royalties or license fees) were made on top of the price of the imported goods. In case Customs views that these payments should be dutiable, Customs will reassess the original declared value and claw back duties with fines and penalties.

Finally, tariff codes (HS codes) have traditionally been a hot target area for Customs challenges given the ambiguity of the classification system and the possibility for Customs to opt for codes which would normally attract higher duty rates. Companies must review whether they have been declaring tariff codes that can be defended in accordance with the customs classification rules and if not, consider whether to make a change and disclose past mistakes.

What’s next?

Given that Customs has temporarily decided to scale back their enforcement activities, companies are encouraged to conduct an internal review of their company’s import/export activities to determine whether they have complied with customs rules and regulations or not and identify potential risks and exposures. If any significant non-compliance is identified, it may be worthwhile to make the self-disclosure to Customs before 30 September 2021 to mitigate the potential financial exposure in the future and close the issue.

On the other hand, companies must keep in mind the possibility that following a self-disclosure Customs could expand investigations into other customs issues. Therefore, companies must have a clear picture of their customs risk areas and exposures before deciding to proceed with the self-disclosure.

With only limited time before the self-disclosure incentive programs close, now may be a good time for companies in Thailand to start reviewing their import and export activities.

Published : June 28, 2021

U.S. water and power are shockingly vulnerable to cyberhacks #SootinClaimon.Com

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U.S. water and power are shockingly vulnerable to cyberhacks


When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was hacked in 2018, it took a mere six hours. Early this year, an intruder lurked in hundreds of computers related to water systems across the U.S. In Portland, Oregon, burglars installed malicious computers onto a grid providing power to a chunk of the Northwest.

U.S. water and power are shockingly vulnerable to cyberhacks

Two of those cases — L.A. and Portland — were tests. The water threat was real, discovered by cybersecurity firm Dragos.

All three drive home a point long known but, until recently, little appreciated: the digital security of U.S. computer networks controlling the machines that produce and distribute water and power is woefully inadequate, a low priority for operators and regulators, posing a terrifying national threat.

“If we have a new world war tomorrow and have to worry about protecting infrastructure against a cyberattack from Russia or China, then no, I don’t think we’re where we’d like to be,” said Andrea Carcano, co-founder of Nozomi Networks, a control system security company.

Hackers working for profit and espionage have long threatened American information systems. But in the last six months, they’ve targeted companies running operational networks like the Colonial Pipeline fuel system, with greater persistence. These are the systems where water can be contaminated, a gas line can spring a leak or a substation can explode.

The threat has been around for at least a decade — and fears about it for a generation — but cost and indifference posed obstacles to action.

It isn’t entirely clear why ransomware hackers — those who use malicious software to block access to a computer system until a sum of money has been paid — have recently moved from small-scale universities, banks and local governments to energy companies, meatpacking plants and utilities. Experts suspect increased competition and bigger payouts as well as foreign government involvement. The shift is finally drawing serious attention to the problem.

The U.S. government began taking small steps to defend cybersecurity in 1998 when the Clinton administration identified 14 private sectors as critical infrastructure, including chemicals, defense, energy and financial services. This triggered regulation in finance and power. Other industries were slower to protect their computers, including the oil and gas sector, said Rob Lee, the founder of Dragos.

One of the reasons is the operational and financial burden of pausing production and installing new tools.

Much of the infrastructure running technology systems is too old for sophisticated cybersecurity tools. Ripping and replacing hardware is costly as are service outages. Network administrators fear doing the job piecemeal may be worse because it can increase a network’s exposure to hackers, said Nozomi’s Carcano.

Although the Biden administration’s budget includes $20 billion to upgrade the country’s grid, this comes after a history of shoulder shrugging from federal and local authorities. Even where companies in under-regulated sectors like oil and gas have prioritized cybersecurity, they’ve been met with little support.

Take the case of ONE Gas Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Niyo Little Thunder Pearson was overseeing cybersecurity there in January 2020 when his team was alerted to malware trying to enter its operational system — the side that controls natural gas traffic across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

For two days, his team was in a dogfight with the hackers who moved laterally across the network. Ultimately, Pearson’s team managed to expel the intruders.

When Richard Robinson at Cynalytica fed the corrupted files into his own identification program, ONE Gas learned it was dealing with malware capable of executing ransomware, exploiting industrial control systems and harvesting user credentials. At its core were digital footprints found in some of the most malicious code of the last decade.

Pearson tried to bring the data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but it would only accept it on a compact disc, he said. His system couldn’t burn the data onto a CD. When he alerted the Department of Homeland Security and sent it through a secure portal, he never heard back.

Robinson of Cynalytica was convinced a nation-state operator had just attacked a regional natural gas provider. So he gave a presentation to DHS, the Departments of Energy and Defense and the intelligence community on a conference call. He never heard back either.”We got zero, and that was what was really surprising,” he said. “Not a single individual reached back out to find out more about what happened to ONE Gas.”

The agencies didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Such official indifference — even hostility — hasn’t been uncommon.

The 2018 break-in to the L.A. water and power system is another example.

These weren’t criminals but hackers-for-hire paid to break into the system to help it improve security.

After the initial intrusion, the city’s security team asked the hackers to assume the original source of compromise had been fixed (it hadn’t) while hunting for a new one. They found many.

Between the end of 2018 and most of 2019, the hired hackers discovered 33 compromised paths, according to a person familiar with the test who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Bloomberg News reviewed a report produced by the hackers for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.

It described 10 vulnerabilities found during their own test, along with 23 problems researchers had discovered as early as 2008. (Bloomberg News won’t publish information that hackers could use to attack the utility.) The person familiar with the operation discovered that few, if any, of the 33 security gaps have been fixed since the report’s submission in September 2019.

It gets worse.

Soon after the hackers produced the report, Mayor Garcetti terminated their contract, according to a preliminary legal claim filed by the hackers hired from Ardent Technology Solutions in March 2020. The company alleges the mayor fired the hackers as a “retaliatory measure” for the scathing report.

Ellen Cheng, a utility spokeswoman, acknowledged that Ardent’s contract was terminated but said it had nothing to do with the report’s substance. She said the utility frequently partners with public agencies to improve security, including scanning for potential cyber threats.”We want to assure our customers and stakeholders that cybersecurity is of the utmost importance to LADWP and that appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that our cybersecurity is compliant with all applicable laws and security standards,” Cheng said in a statement.

Garcetti’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The case of the Oregon network — the Bonneville Power Administration — is no more encouraging.

The testing went on for years beginning in 2014 and involved an almost shocking level of intrusion followed by a pair of public reports. One published in 2017 admonished the agency for repeatedly failing to take action.

By 2020, two-thirds of the more than 100 flaws identified by the Department of Energy and the utility’s own security team hadn’t been resolved, according to interviews with more than a dozen former and current Bonneville security personnel and contractors and former members of the Department of Energy cyber team, in addition to documents, some accessed via Freedom of Information Act request.

Doug Johnson, a spokesperson for Bonneville, didn’t respond to requests for comment on whether the vulnerabilities have been resolved, including some detailed in documents reviewed by Bloomberg in 2020.

Dragos estimated in its 2020 cybersecurity report that 90% of its new customers had “extremely limited to no visibility” inside their industrial control systems. That means that once inside, hackers have free rein to collect sensitive data, investigate system configurations and choose the right time to wage an attack.

The industry is finally focused on fighting back.

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“If the bad guys come after us, there has to be an eye-for-an-eye, or better,” observed Tom Fanning, chief executive officer of Southern Co., at a conference this week. “We’ve got to make sure the bad guys understand there will be consequences.”

Published : June 13, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Kartikay Mehrotra

Covid third wave hurts economic recovery but export growth robust #SootinClaimon.Com

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Covid third wave hurts economic recovery but export growth robust


The growth forecast for the Thai economy has been revised down to 1.9 per cent from 2.0 per cent for 2021 by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) of Siam Commercial Bank.

Covid third wave hurts economic recovery but export growth robust

The revised forecast follows downward revision of tourist arrival projections and the impact from the longer-than-expected domestic Covid outbreak, although the economy is propped by robust export recovery and government’s stimulus measures.

The EIU said the Thai economy was greatly impacted by the domestic pandemic resurgence, which is projected to take approximately four months (April-July) to contain, leading to significant decline in private consumption, especially face-to-face activities.

Bleak tourism prospects

Meanwhile, foreign tourist arrivals are projected at only 0.4 million people, despite reopening plans in the latter half of the year, as many countries remain cautious about easing restrictions for international travel due to concerns about new Covid variants. Subdued tourism will add to deeper economic scars among businesses and workers, particulary in tourism-related sectors, the EIU said. However, the Thai economic growth will not be much slower than the previous forecast, owing to robust export growth in line with the global economic recovery, especially among developed economies with accelerated vaccination pace.

Stimulus support

Another equally important push factor is the government support from the THB240 billion stimulus from the THB1-trillion loan decree, and a projected additional THB100 billion stimulus under the newly launched THB500-billion decree.

Going forward, the Thai economy is expected to gradually recover to reach pre-Covid levels in early 2023 and still face downside risks from the possible longer-than-expected pandemic containment timeline and slow progress in vaccination, which could delay economic recovery and make the economy more fragile, the EIU said. Therefore, improvement in the pace of vaccination to help boost confidence and jump-start short-term economic recovery, followed by economic restructuring towards the new normal, would be crucial for minimising permanent output loss for the Thai economy, the EIU added.

The global economic recovery is expected to be robust this year, but uneven across countries, mainly hinging on the effectiveness of pandemic containment, the vaccination pace, and the size of fiscal stimulus support.

The EIU revised its 2021 global economic growth projection to 5.8 per cent from the previous projection of 5.6 per cent. The global recovery is led by earlier lockdown easing among developed economies after rapid vaccination along with sizable and continuous fiscal support.

With improving consumer confidence, households may bring forward accumulated savings from last year and gradually spend on additional consumption.

Meanwhile, recoveries among emerging markets (EMs) will remain sluggish as delayed vaccinations have forced governments to prolong strict lockdown measures. Also, fiscal support for EMs are smaller in size due to limited fiscal space compared to developed countries, the EIU said.

Higher inflation

A strong recovery in global demand, together with limited global supply from shortages of some commodities and production factors, has caused inflation rates to rise across many countries. Recently, global inflationary pressures came from:

▪︎ pent-up demand and excess savings, causing prices of goods and services to spike after reopening;

▪︎ rise in commodity prices adding to higher production costs;

▪︎ continuous expansion of the global housing market, especially in developed countries such as the US and UK, leading to higher rental costs;

▪︎ higher wages as labour markets in some countries (such as the US) continued to be tight: low-wage workers have not yet fully returned to work as they are still discouraged by both the pandemic and generous fiscal support as unemployment benefits. Inflationary pressures are expected to gradually subside in the second half of 2021, as fiscal support measures are gradually wound up, commodity supply adjustments follow price increases, as well as from slowing wage pressure with more workers returning to the market. As of now, global inflation spikes have already caused government bond yields to rise in many countries.

Nonetheless, the EIU expects major central banks to maintain accommodative monetary policies.

Policy rates are expected to remain on hold, but central banks could start to signal tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the latter half of this year, potentially leading to volatilities in asset prices and cross-country funds flows.

Exports lead the way

Thai exports have seen robust recovery in line with the improving global economy and trade. In the first four months of 2021, Thai exports, excluding gold, remarkably expanded 12.8 per cent year on year, and the expansion was broad-based across essentially all key products.

For the rest of year, speeding up global growth, particularly among developed countries, coupled with thriving prices of export products following rising commodity prices, should further boost Thailand’s export performance, especially during May-July with low base support, the EIU said.

With these factors, the EIU has revised Thailand’s exports growth projection up to 15 per cent from the previous forecast of 8.6 per cent. Thailand’s improving exports will help boost private investments, particularly in tools and machinery. Nevertheless, private construction investments remain largely subdued following sluggish recovery in the real estate sector.

Regarding tourism, the EIU has lowered the projection for foreign tourist arrivals in 2021 to 0.4 million, from the previously projected 1.5 million. Despite Thailand’s relaxation of lockdown measures to accept more foreign tourists, such as the Phuket sandbox, many countries are still imposing strict travel restrictions in fear of new virus variants. For example, the UK, despite high domestic vaccination rates, continues to maintain tight travel restrictions under Traffic Light system while UK returnees must be quarantined for durations according to the colour scale of their travel destinations. In the UK, countries are classified into red, yellow, and green scale, from strictest to most relaxed quarantine requirement. Thailand is in the yellow zone, requiring a 10-day home quarantine upon return to the UK.

If countries with early herd immunity like UK choose protective measures like the one in the UK, recovery for global travel could be further delayed. As a result, the EIC has adjusted foreign tourist arrival projection downward for this year.

On the domestic front, the economic damage from the third Covid-19 wave could be larger than expected. Even though the government has avoided strict lockdown measures to limit economic impacts, large and continuous spread of the pandemic has made residents more cautious about travel and significantly lowered their levels of economic activities, as suggested by high-frequency indicators such as various mobility data.

In its previous forecast, the EIU had projected that containment of the third wave could take up to three months. However, the situation has recently worsened from rising number of cases and clusters. The EIU now expects that this round of the pandemic could take up to four months to contain and cost around THB310 billion in economic damage to private consumption, including losses from declining domestic tourism.

Rising unemployment

The prolonged pandemic could potentially cause deeper economic scars.

Recent data indicated that unemployment rate rose again in the first quarter of 2021 to 1.96 per cent, from 1.86 per cent in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed people was at 0.76 million people, which already exceeded the number during the first lockdown last year. As rising unemployment in the first quarter has not taken into account the impact of the severe third wave, it is likely that Thailand’s unemployment rate could rise further this year, the EIU said.

At the same time, the average working hours shrank 1.8 per cent as the number of underemployed people (working less than 35 hours per week) rose, including 0.78 million furloughed workers who had not lost jobs but reported zero working hours. This furloughed worker figure more than doubled from 0.36 million in the previous quarter while the number of full-time and overtime workers decreased. In addition, work income, including salary, bonus, and overtime pay, significantly declined 8.8 per cent from the same period of last year across most major non-agricultural business sectors. Consequently, deeper scars in the labour market would negatively impact household incomes and confidence, resulting in slower consumption recovery and more sluggish restoration of household balance sheets from higher debt-to-income ratio, the EIU said.

Higher household debt

Thailand’s household debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to increase in the first quarter, due mainly to GDP contraction, and stay high throughout 2021 in line with ongoing debt forbearance measures.

With slow recovery of household income, debt overhang will be another obstacle for Thailand’s economic growth going forward, the EIU said.

Government fiscal support, with both on-budget and off-budget financing, will play crucial roles in shoring up economic growth in 2021. Regarding on-budget financing, the EIU expects construction investment in 2021 to expand 9.6 per cent from multiple construction projects, including the high-speed train between Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima, high-speed train linking three major airports, and dual-rail train etc.

Meanwhile, the off-budget financing would mainly come from the THB1-trillion loan decree with approximately THB530 billion of injection this year, consisting of THB290 billion approved before the third wave and an additional THB240 billion approved after the third wave, which depleted the THB1 trillion budget.

New relief measures include electricity and water fee subsidies, expansion of the Rao Chana and Mor33 Rao Rak Gun handout schemes, welfare card owner benefit payments, third-phase of Kon-la-krueng copayment scheme, and Ying-Chai-Ying-Dai subsidy. In addition, the government recently passed another THB500-billion loan decree with budget plan lasting up until next year. Based on the current state of the Thai economy, the EIU expects the government to inject another THB100 billion from this new budget decree in 2021.

These fiscal measures will be vital to limit the impact of the longer-than-expected third wave on Thailand’s private consumption.

The EIU has revised consumption growth down to 1.9 per cent this year from the previous projection of 2 per cent.

Monetary policy

In monetary policy, the EIU expects the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to hold the policy rate at 0.5 per cent for the rest of 2021 but will emphasise loan restructuring and widespread loan disbursement measures to increase the efficiency of monetary policy transmission. Thailand’s overall financial condition continues to be accomodative, as the BOT holds its policy rate at a record low and although inflation is expected to rise from the previous year due to higher oil prices, it remains at a low level. Headline inflation is forecasted at 1.3 per cent for 2021. However, rising long-term Thai government bond yields in line with rising US treasury yields have led to higher financing costs for businesses and the government. In particular, businesses with higher credit risks are more impacted since the credit spread has widened due to weaker economic conditions.

Going forward, the EIU expects the BOT to hold its policy rate steady at 0.5 per cent for the rest of 2021 alongside purchasing government bonds in the secondary market as necessary to maintain interest rates in the financial markets at a low level and support the economic recovery.

In addition, extensions for measures already in place which will expire soon are also necessary, including the Financial Insitutions Development Fund fee reduction scheme and relaxation of loan quality classification for financial institutions, which would assist financial institutions in maintaining support for their customers through both financing costs and loan restructuring.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of the rehabilitation loan scheme and the asset warehousing scheme must be monitored closely in order to improve the scheme’s conditions to ensure that SMEs have widespread and prompt access to the loans.

The way forward for the baht

The EIU expects the baht to depreciate year on year at the end of 2021 to a range of THB31-32 to the US dollar.

Since the beginning of the year, the baht has depreciated 4.2 per cent against the US dollar which is a greater depreciation than most other regional currencies, mainly as a result of lower economic growth outlook due to the new Covid-19 wave and lower current account balance.

For the rest of 2021, the EIU expects domestic factors to put downward pressure on the baht from the current account, which could see a deficit for the first time in eight years, and the sluggish Thai economic growth which would limit capital flows into the Thai financial markets. However, the baht compared to the US dollar would not depreciate much since the US dollar is also expected to depreciate in the second half of the year, as other major economies see an accelerated recovery going forward, especially in Europe, while economic recovery in the US may decelerate.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to taper its quantitative easing programme before the Fed, which is expected to start tapering in early 2022. Nonetheless, the baht could appreciate again towards the end of the year and at the beginning of next year if progress in vaccination allows Thailand to almost achieve herd immunity, the EIU said.

Downside risks for the Thai economy going forward include:

▪︎ containment timeline for the third wave outbreak, which may be longer than expected, alongside potential new outbreaks as long as vaccination rate remains low; 

▪︎ slow progress in vaccination and low vaccine efficacy, which may not be effective enough against new virus strains;

▪︎ Covid-19 resurgence or new outbreaks in many countries, especially in Asia, which could impact Thai exports;

▪︎ deeper than expected impact from scarring effects such as a significant rise in non-performing loans.

Sluggish recovery

The EIU expects Thailand’s economic recovery in the next 2-3 years to remain sluggish, GDP would reach the pre-Covid level only in early 2023. This could result in a large permanent output loss mainly because the Thai economy is heavily reliant on the tourism sector, which is expected to see a slow recovery. Additionally several challenging factors remain, such as deep scarring effects on the Thai economy, pre-existing vulnerabilities from high household debt, and challenges for SMEs to adapt to new technological changes and stronger competition.

The EIU suggested that the public sector, which is the main economic driver amid the crisis, should implement measures to support a faster economic recovery and reduce the size of permanent output loss.

The EIU sees the THB500 billion additional borrowing by the government as suitable theoretically but in practice should be disbursed cost-effectively to build confidence and reduce scarring effects on the economy in the short-term. This could be done through accelerating vaccine procurement and distribution, supporting impacted people and SMEs, and promoting employment, the EIU said. In addition, the government should implement measures to restructure the economy for recovery in the medium and long term, such as upskiling and reskilling labour for the modern economy, especially in digital skills, educating SMEs about digital technologies and applying them practically, and supporting new growth industries which would become Thailand’s key economic drivers in the future.

The rising public debt remains managable despite likely crossing the 60 per cent of GDP threshold next year, as government bond yields remain low, which would limit the interest servicing costs to government revenue ratio, the EIU said. Nonetheless, going forward, the government would need to outline a clear practical plan to expand revenue base and manage expenses more efficiently to maintain fiscal sustainability, the EIU said.

(The writer is chief economist at the Economic Intelligence Unit, Siam Commercia Bank Plc)

Published : June 02, 2021

By : Yunyong Thaicharoen, Special to The Nation Thailand

GWM set to open smart factory in Rayong, boosting Thailand’s EV ambitions #SootinClaimon.Com

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GWM set to open smart factory in Rayong, boosting Thailand’s EV ambitions


Great Wall Motor (GWM) says its first smart factory in Southeast Asia will open in Rayong next week.

GWM set to open smart factory in Rayong, boosting Thailand’s EV ambitions

The launch comes seven months after the Chinese automaker took ownership of the plant from General Motors (GM). GWM is targeting production of 80,000 units per year at the Rayong factory – 40 per cent for export.

The Thai plant will make electric vehicles (EVs), becoming an important component of Thailand’s strategy to be a regional EV manufacturing hub. GWM will officially open the plant on June 9.

Published : June 01, 2021

By : The Nation

U City Public Company Limited (U City) shares in strong demand #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/business/40001423

U City Public Company Limited (U City) shares in strong demand


U City, whose main business is the hospitality business with 51 hotels and 8,978 keys, is poised to benefit from what Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky regards as ‘the Travel rebound of the Century’ as countries open their borders, and people are desperate to travel after more than a year of restrictions.

U City Public Company Limited (U City) shares in strong demand

UCity Public Company Limited (U City) capital increase was strongly received with a total subscription for 22.5 bn shares. The results of the capital increase procedure, which ran from May 12 until May 21, were released by the Company on May 25. In total, shareholders injected about THB 15.7 bn into the Company, affirming a huge signal of support as it emerges out from a difficult COVID 19 pandemic period.

U City, whose main business is the hospitality business with 51 hotels and 8,978 keys, is poised to benefit from what Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky regards as ‘the Travel rebound of the Century’ as countries open their borders, and people are desperate to travel after more than a year of restrictions.

U City Public Company Limited (U City) shares in strong demandU City Public Company Limited (U City) shares in strong demand

Some of the proceeds of THB 15.7bn will be used to repay debt, further boosting profitability. These proceeds are in addition to the potential THB 4.4bn from sales of noncore assets that the Company is progressing, which is expected to reduce the net/debt ratio to around 0.1 times.

Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer Soraya Satiangoset commented “U City’s financial footing is now very secure following the capital increase and sale of lower profit operating lease hotels and other noncore assets. The remaining high quality hotel portfolio is set to benefit from pent up travel demand. The EU vaccine progress will exceed 50% of the population by June, with herd immunity within this Summer. Countries are already relaxing the travel restrictions”

U City has underperformed its hospitality sector peers and now has a Price to Book Value of only 0.38x, the lowest in the property sector. U City’s largest shareholder is BTS Group, one of the major shareholders of U-Tapao International Airport and Eastern Airport City Development Project, set to be one of the largest real estate developments on Thailand’s eastern seaboard.

For more information: Tel. 02 273 8838

Or https://www.ucity.co.th/en/contact-us/company-address

Published : May 29, 2021

New EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this June #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/40001104

New EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this June


New EASY INVEST service from SCBS Thailand’s first one-stop app for investment, FX, and fund transfers for every investment style. Under a “smooth offshore trading with friendly commission fees” concept.

New EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this June

The EASY INVEST app has been developed by SCB Securities (SCBS) as an open architecture investment platform for every digital era investment style. Users only need to open an account and they can then invest in domestic and international stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. For 2021, the EASY INVEST app aims to be the top investment app in users’ minds, featuring the most comprehensive range of investment products in the market, and a user experience matching their digital lifestyles. In June, offshore trading will be available on the EASY INVEST app. Under a “smooth offshore trading with friendly commission fees” concept the EASY INVEST app will be the first investment app in Thailand allowing users to conveniently make fund transfers and exchange currencies with no fees for offshore trading and no need for document submission, while enjoying the lowest trading commission fees in the market. With this one-stop investment solution, SCBS is moving toward its goal of becoming the “Most Admired Investment Broker,” and experiencing 10-times growth in the number of offshore trading users within 2021.

SCBS Chief Executive Officer Kampol Jantavibool said that thanks to digital platforms, corporate and retail investors have more opportunities for new convenient investment alternatives at lower fees. Offshore trading will be available on the EASY INVEST app in June, as an upgraded investment service under a “smooth offshore trading with friendly commission fees” concept. One highlight of the service is convenient trading via the first investment app in Thailand allowing users to conveniently make fund transfers and exchange currencies with no offshore trading fees and no need to submit documents. Offshore trading on the EASY INVEST app offers the lowest trading commission fees of USD 0.08/share and a minimum fee of USD 4.99/transaction for US stock markets, and 0.20%/share and a minimum fee of HKD 100/transaction for Hong Kong stock markets.

New EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this JuneNew EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this JuneSCBS is developing savings and wealth management technology catering to every investor’s investment style to help them reach their goals under a “SCBS is everything for investors” concept. Aiming for 10-times growth in the number of offshore trading users within 2021, SCBS is confident in offering this new offshore trading service on the EASY INVEST app as an alternative for every investor so that they can diversify their portfolios. There are more investment services in the SCBS pipeline, which will be available on the EASY INVEST app this year in order to give investors more convenient access to more investment choices at lower cost.

SCBS Deputy Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer Chalermwut Chomanan said that the offshore trading service on the EASY INVEST app is breaking the limitations of complicated investment processes. Previously, investors were required to submit account opening documents, pay exchange fees and high trading commissions and other hidden costs during the process, leading them to think that global stocks like Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Alibaba were only for investors with big investment capital, so they opted for investment through international mutual funds instead. Soon, small investors can invest in US stock markets via the EASY INVEST app in a one-stop approach – opening an account, exchanging currencies, and trading at the lowest cost in Thailand.

New EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this JuneNew EASY INVEST service from SCBS Offshore trading will be available this June

SCBS Deputy Managing Director in charge of Data Analytics and Digital Business Group Chattrin Laksanabunsong said that an increasing number of investors are interested in global stocks, as evidenced by investment in international mutual funds via the EASY INVEST app growing a record 133% since early 2021, the market’s highest, while the current number of investors holding international mutual funds has grown by almost 150% compared to early 2021. These figures indicate SCBS clients’ keen interest in offshore trading, so SCBS is introducing this service on the EASY INVEST app to lower costs compared to foreign investment fund (FIF) commission fees.

Interested investors can open an investment account with SCBS by downloading the EASY INVEST app and filling out the required data. Investment accounts opened on business days are approved within 15 minutes. Upon investment account approval, users will receive an e-mail notification and they can start offshore trading on the EASY INVEST app right away. Investors may also contact their SCBS investment advisors for the service or for inquiries by sending an e-mail to scbsonline@scb.co.th or a message to the SCB Securities Facebook page.

Published : May 20, 2021

Urgently required! #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/business/40001023

Urgently required!


Nation Thailand is looking to hire two translators who have the ability to analyse and understand details of news content. They are expected to be able to create attractive content and have excellent writing skills in the English language.

Urgently required!

Experience: 0 to 3 years in news media

Job description:
• Study given material and research terminology
• Convert text and audio recordings from Thai to English
• Write English subtitles for video and online presentations
• Follow up with team members and clients to ensure the translation meets their needs

*Those who have no experience in news or translation will be provided with training.
 

Interested candidates can email their resume, expected salary and recent photo to busdsk@nationgroup.com.

Published : May 18, 2021

By : The Nation

Iconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True Food #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/40001024

Iconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True Food


Iconsiam has joined hands with True Food to launch an at-home dining campaign with the complex’s many restaurants.

Iconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True Food

“Wondrous dining: True Food X Iconsiam” allows customers to order food deliveries via the TrueID mobile application.

Users with True Points can earn discounts of up to THB240 on their order and THB90 on their delivery cost (one point per baht).

“The campaign enables people to eat delicious food despite working from home because of Covid-19,” Iconsiam director Supot Chaiwatsirikul explained.

The service is also designed to support restaurant operators, other food businesses and delivery drivers.

It offers users a choice of menus from over 50 restaurants and cafés in Iconsiam.

Iconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True FoodIconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True Food

They include Old Street Bak Kut The, Tapas by Nan Charcoal Grill, Bankara Ramen, Brix Dessert Bar, Yenly Yours, Karun Thai Tea, Kamui Hokkaido Dining, Tsukiji Takewaka and Kissyan. Orders over THB500 will receive a THB100 delivery discount until June 30.

Iconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True FoodIconsiam launches restaurant delivery service with True Food

Published : May 18, 2021

By : The Nation

“Masita” Unveils The New Product “Cold Ramen Hachiban Flavour” #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/40001022

“Masita” Unveils The New Product “Cold Ramen Hachiban Flavour”


Masita continues its collaboration strategy with the latest partnership with Hachiban Ramen, Thailands most famous Japanese ramen chain, creating “Cold Ramen Flavor,” which is Hachibans signature dish.

"Masita" Unveils The New Product "Cold Ramen Hachiban Flavour"

“Masita” continues its collaboration strategy with the latest invention, “Cold Ramen Flavour” in partnership with “Hachiban Ramen,” one of Thailand’s most renowned ramen chains. The new addition is aimed to excite the seaweed snack market, which the brand currently reign with a 39% market share, and give more options to consumers with premium seaweed 100%-sourced from South Korea and no MSG.

Mr. Titiporn Thammapimookkul, Chief Marketing Officer of Boonrawd Trading Co., Ltd., reveals that one of Masita’s marketing strategy for the past couple of years, which were wildly successful, was to form a partnership marketing or collaboration with famous restaurant chains such as Bar B Q Plaza, BonChon Chicken, Sukishi and Tudari. The partnerships had helped the brand differentiate itself from competitors, put the brand in a strong position, and significantly boost sales and revenue.

Past successes had led to Masita’s latest partnership with Hachiban Ramen, Thailand’s most famous Japanese ramen chain, creating “Cold Ramen Flavor,” which is Hachiban’s signature dish. Consumers will be able to taste the flavor and aroma which replicates the experience of dining in Hachiban’s no.1 dish, dipping ramen noodles in the cold Saru sauce served with Wasabi, onion, radish, spring onion, with Masita’s sesame oil and crispy seaweed served cold just like old times.

Masita is the first brand to differentiate itself from competitors with partnership marketing. Every past brand that has collaborated with Masita is renowned food chains that consumers know and love. The strength of Masita and its partners has brought new and quality products to all consumers, being the only brand in the seaweed snack market that all SKUs have 0% MSG but packed with tasty flavor in seaweed 100% sourced from Korea. The commitment has made Masita , No.1 brand of roasted seaweed product in their portfolio with constant growth and relevance to health-conscious consumers.

The company is dedicating its marketing communication efforts on all platforms, especially online, to increase awareness and build product relevance among the young generation to first jobber consumers. The collaboration with Hachiban will introduce Masita to Hachiban fans and will lead to new product trials and long-term consumption in the long run.

The “Cold Ramen” Masita seaweed snack weighs 15 grams per pack and is priced at 39 Baht. The product is available in every 7-Eleven branch, Hachiban Ramen restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, and Pathum Thani from today until August 2021 or until sold out.

The seaweed snack market currently values 2.1 billion Baht. Although the overall market value has shrunken due to COVID-19, Masita is still growing with an 18.3% market share in 2020. While the more specific baked seaweed snack market value decreased by 19.2% but Masita still sees a 6% growth with over 31.5% market share.

Published : May 18, 2021