Bangkok Post Economic Review, 2013 Mid-year Edition, is published by Post Publishing Plc, 136 Na Ranong Road, off Sunthorn Kosa Road, Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Editor:

Busrin Treerapongpichit

Co-ordination:

Taksina Isarabhakdi

Copy editing:

Anthony McAuley, Donald Entz, Eric Baker, Peter Hill, Christopher Caillevet

Cover and graphics:

Sataporn Kawewong

Design and layout:

Chanakarn Nikornpornudom, Chantiya Potayarom

Price $ 6.00

Things seemed to be going so well when the Pheu Thai braintrust gathered to celebrate the New Year in Dubai, or Hong Kong, or wherever such affairs take place. The recovery from the miserable soaking of 2011 was complete, the stock market was coming off a splendid year, companies were investing again. Thailand was once more the poster child for a mid-sized economy with solid fundamentals and a bright future.

And weren’t people just loving what the Pheu Thai government was giving them? All those cheap cars, all that money for rice, promises of fast trains to everywhere. Everyone was in a mood to spend.

Did someone say "bubble"? Banish that inconvenient thought and repeat after us, "The fundamentals are sound." Baht biting you on the bottom line? Don't worry, while the politicians, central bankers and businessmen talk the issue to death, the market will take care of things in its own way. And so it did.

But wait, what about all that rice? Who's buying and who's selling and how much of a soaking have the taxpayers taken? Sorry, that's a state secret. And can you believe this traffic? Car-crazy Bangkok is trying everyone's patience once again. The government really ought to Do Something about all these things that are making us unhappy, right?

No one said governing would be easy. Luckily, advice is free, and Pheu Thai is getting plenty of it from all sides. The magic of Skype, meanwhile, keeps the lines of communication open to the Thinker-in-chief, in case the party’s actors forget their lines. Good luck to them, and to the rest of us.

    • Sputtering, but will it stall?

      Domestic consumption has been stimulated by populist policies but concerns are growing that an economic bubble is forming,

      By ORANAN PAWEEWUN

    • Still in good shape

      espite critics’ claims to the contrary, the fiscal policymaker insists all indicators point to a sound position that will allow the government to develop needed megaprojects.

      By WICHIT CHANTANUSORNSIRI

    • Nothing to look at here, folks

      Even with B2.35 trillion slated for infrastructure over seven years, FPO insists the budget won’t be busted.

      By WICHIT CHANTANUSORNSIRI

    • The hunt for new markets

      Projections revised amid scepticism about data.

      By PHUSADEE ARUNMAS

    • Fast track to debate

      Two-trillion-baht infrastructure plan a key to development, but no one knows whether shippers will use trains instead of trucks, or if consumers can afford high-speed rail.

      By CHATRUDEE THEPARAT

    • Closer eye on risk

      Banks see few signs of a rise in bad debts yet, but zero-interest mortgages are history, while other types of personal loans are drawing closer scrutiny.

      By SOMRUEDI BANCHONGDUANG

    • A roller-coaster ride

      The SET’s banner first half has triggered the inevitable talk of a stock market bubble, but authorities plan new measures aimed at continuing the prosperity.

      By NUNTAWUN POLKUAMDEE

    • Taming the bubble

      Regulator tries to limit emergence of powerful boom-and-bust cycles.

      By DARANA CHUDASRI

    • Fasten your seatbelts

      Gold prices are primed to continue their rollercoaster swings as opinions on value vary widely.

      By ORANAN PAWEEWUN

    • Battered from all sides

      The sky-high costs paid by the government for rice aside, weak demand and oversupply have hammered rice and rubber exports,

      By WALAILAK KEERATIPIPATPONG

    • Pledge out on a ledge

      State rice subsidy scheme faces big losses and a punishing world market.

      By WALAILAK KEERATIPIPATPONG

    • Now we're cooking with gas

      Elusive plan to float LPG gas prices is on the table again,as subsidies continue to weigh on state coffers.

      By YUTHANA PRAIWAN

    • Clear as coal

      By YUTHANA PRAIWAN

    • Auto production overdrive

      Car makers are ramping up production to record levels each year, but the strengthening baht is throwing a shadow over new investment,

      By NAREERAT WIRIYAPONG

    • Sky’s the limit for high-rise housing

      Condo supply is ballooning nationwide, but is it a bubble?

      By KANANA KATHARANGSIPORN

    • Welcome to Thailand!

      Tourism figures so far indicate another banner year, but some industry players worry about congestion and poor planning,

      By CHADAMAS CHINMANEEVONG

    • Mice sector welcomes big cheeses

      Political stability has restored the confidence of foreign organisers seeking to stage major events in Thailand,

      By CHADAMAS CHINMANEEVONG

    • I want my 4G now!

      The telecom field is aflutter, with the launch of 3G service bringing jubilation as well as complaints about fees and service quality.

      By SRISAMORN PHOOSUPHANUSORN

    • Brightness adjustment

      Consumers are looking forward to greater quality and choice once auctions for digital channels usher in a new TV era.

      By KRISSANA PARNSOONTHORN

    • Back of the net

      Young boy CTH scores a 30-yard stunner with its EPL coup, but analysts wonder if it will break even on the deal.

      By SAENGWIT KEWALEEWONGSATORN

    • Growth opportunities in store

      CP All-Makro mega-deal underscores the confidence of Thai retailers in local and regional prospects, but other players from department stores to convenience stores are equally upbeat.

      By PITSINEE JITPLEECHEEP

    • To the Northeast, the spoils

      Despite signs of a slowdown elsewhere, Isan has continued to enjoy an economic boom as urbanisation and household income grow,

      By PAUL CARSTEN, PAIRAT TEMPHAIROJANA

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