What's new in business news: October 10, 2013

China's leader to visit Thailand & talk business, sugar exports to surge on switch from rice to sugar & Asean haze monitoring system.

Workers harvest sugar cane in a field in Phetchaburi province. Panumas Sanguanwong


China's leader to visit Thailand and talk business   

Kyodo News 

At the 11-nation summit of Asean leaders being held in Brunei this week, China's Premier outlined a plan to establish an Asian infrastructure investment bank to provide financial support for infrastructure construction in developing countries in Asia, including Asean members.

After the summit, the Chinese Premier will visit Thailand on an official three-day visit, his first since he was elected premier last March. His visit to Thailand is part of a Southeast Asian trip which also takes in Brunei and Vietnam.

Thailand and China will discuss ways to cooperate and talk about long-term plans to develop their relationship in politics, economics, security, transport, culture, education, tourism, science and technology. Thailand will ask China to increase imports of Thai agricultural commodities such as rice, rubber, fruits and cassava. Thailand also wants Beijing to back further connectivity between Asean and China.

The Chinese premier will also visit parliament, and hold talks with the House Speaker and the Senate Speaker. He will also preside over an exhibition on high-speed trains hosted by the Chinese embassy at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. He will also be granted an audience with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and will call on Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda.

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Sugar exports to surge on switch from rice to sugar 


Bloomberg News agency

Sugar shipments from Thailand, the world's largest exporter after Brazil, will probably climb 15% to a new record next year as increased plantings boost output. Exports will reach 8.5 million metric tonnes in 2014 from an estimated 7.4 million this year. 

Expanding Thai supplies will add to a global glut and potentially curb a 16% rally in futures in New York since sugar tumbled to a three-year low in July. Global surplus will be 4.66 million tonnes in the 2013 to 2014 season as rising Asian output will more than compensate for a decline in Brazil's main growing region. Thailand and India could become "aggressive exporters" early next year on the back of weakened domestic currencies.

The Thai government is encouraging farmers to switch from growing rice to sugar cane for better returns. Of the total rice land of 73.4 million rai (11.7 million hectares), 6.7 million rai are suitable for cane. Thai millers plan to increase cane plantation areas by 7.2 million rai over the next three years in line with the government plan. Thailand has 9.33 million rai under sugar cane in the current season.

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Asean to have haze monitoring system

Bloomberg News agency

Singapore and Malaysia and Southern Thailand have been plagued for decades by periodic smog caused by fires in Sumatra. Many have called for the maps of plantation concessions where the fires are located to be made public so that companies owning land there can be held responsible for the fires and haze and be punished. 

Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) this week approved a joint haze monitoring system to identify fires such as those in Indonesia which lead to hazardous pollution levels. The system will involve the sharing of digitized land-use maps and concession maps of fire-prone areas that cause haze. The data will be shared among the governments of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand.

[Read full story here ]

About the author

Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer