Thai bank profits slump

The combined net profit for the four biggest Thai banks dropped 14 per cent year on year during the third quarter, in the second consecutive quarter of falling earnings.

Thailand’s military authorities have, however, recently released promising data about the economic recovery.

The Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank, the four largest lenders by assets, posted an aggregate net profit of 33.6 billion baht (US$1.01 billion) between July and September, according to stock exchange listings.

Net profit at the state-owned Krung Thai Bank fell the most dramatically, by 32 per cent, mainly because of provisioning expenses.

Krung Thai’s non-performing loans at the end of the quarter reached 98 billion baht, the highest among the four banks, up 5.4 per cent year on year.

Meanwhile, exports advanced 12.2 per cent from the previous year in September to US$21.8 billion, marking the seventh straight month of growth. Exports to China increased 12 per cent year on year.

On the back of improving exports, the central bank’s monetary policy committee in September raised its GDP forecasts for 2017 and 2018 to 3.8-per-cent growth, from the previous 3.6 per cent.

Thailand is preoccupied with the cremation of former king Bhumibol Adulyadej, to mark the culmination of the mourning period since his death last year.

Artisans have spent 10 months constructing a 50-metre-tall, golden crematorium with nine gilded spires adorned with images from mythology and from Bhumibol’s life, including statues of his two favourite dogs.

An internet user was detained earlier this week after commenting on Facebook that he planned to wear red clothing on the day of Bhumibol’s cremation. Red is associated with the parties allied to deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

There was a day-long grand procession, including the 13-tonne victory chariot that transported the king’s body to the crematorium pulled by more than 200 men.

The military government reportedly set aside 3 billion baht for the funeral of the king, whose reign was marked by repeated violent coups and counter-coups since his coronation in 1950.

Bhumibol took the throne unexpectedly after his elder brother was shot in the head.

Queen Sofia of Spain, former German president Christian Wulff, Britain’s Prince Andrew and the Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen were among the foreign dignitaries to attend the cremation.

 

Thai exports are rising as the country mourns. Picture credit: Pixabay