Friday, February 16, 2007

More Somkid Absurdity from Bloomberg

By Anuchit Nguyen and Beth Jinks

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Somkid Jatusripitak, Thailand's deputy prime minister under ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was appointed economic adviser by the junta-installed government.

``He is going to present credibility,'' said Bruce Gale, a Singapore-based independent political-risk consultant. ``It may be an admission of the difficulty they are having in dismantling Thaksin's political and economic machine.''

How is he going to present stability? Who would hire this guy? How can hiring Somkid be an admission of difficulty dismantling the Thaksin machine when Somkid was the brains behind the machine? That would be like Hillary Clinton hiring Dick Cheney to clean up the Iraq War after she got elected.

Thailand's military seized control in September, saying Thaksin's administration was corrupt, and installed a new government that's imposed currency controls and tightened foreign-ownership laws that have shaken investor confidence. The nation's central bank cut its key interest rate for the first time in more than three years last month to spur the economy.

Somkid ``may help boost the confidence of foreigners in the government's policies,'' Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, told reporters in Bangkok today. He will tell ``investors that the sufficiency economy does not contradict capitalism.''

Somkid was part of the problem and now he is part of the solution? Who believes in this Orwellian bullshit?

The government in November said it would pursue a so-called ``sufficiency'' economic policy, which leaders including Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula have said focuses on improving quality of life, the environment and sustainable development.

The government has been in power for 5 months? Where are the "sufficiency theory" policies?

Can anybody name one policy that has focused on improving quality of life, the environment and/or sustainable development?

Pridiyathorn, head of Surayud's economic policy team, said today he was unaware Somkid had been named an adviser.

``I do not know about it,'' Pridiyathorn told reporters.

Sondhi was Somkid's Patron. And Pridiyathorn fired Sondhi's banker, who wrote off Sondhi's debts at Krung Thai Bank.

Deputy prime minister and commerce minister when Thaksin's government was ousted, Somkid was previously finance minister and widely credited with formulating economic policies that became known as ``Thaksinomics.''

Somkid was the mastermind behind Thaksinomics and now he is the mastermind behind selling "Sufficiency Theory." How can anybody take this guy seriously? The junta was screaming how Thaksin was bankrupting the country by giving goodies to the rural poor, but all that goodies giving was Somkid's scheme.

Somkid, 53, who volunteered for his new job as chairman of the international economic relations commission, told a seminar at a Bangkok university today -- his first public engagement since the Sept. 19 coup -- that sufficiency economy would put the focus on ``not only growing gross domestic product, but also the quality of growth. Our competitiveness is falling with the political turmoil,'' Somkid said.

Doesn't the great marketing guru's words contradict themselves? What does "quality of growth" mean? More Thaksinomics? Falling competitiveness is caused by political turmoil? Whose political turmoil? Most of the political turmoil is caused by the idiocy of the present government and its policies. Is Somkid attacking his new bosses?

Thailand's consumer confidence fell to a five-month low in January, eroded currency controls, baht strength and bomb blasts in Bangkok that Surayud blamed on ``people who lost their political power'' in the coup that led to his appointment.

Who were these people who lost their political power?

Cutting Rates

The Bank of Thailand has said it may lower borrowing costs for a second time. The next interest rate cut may come as early as Feb. 28 because economic growth is slowing faster than expected, Standard Chartered economist Usara Wilaipich said yesterday.

New foreign ownership restrictions were approved by Thailand's Cabinet last month, when the government also pledged to force drugmakers to surrender patents so it can make medicines more cheaply. Investor confidence was already dented by the September coup.

Obviously, Somkid has a lot of work to do, considering the junta is causing so many problems in the investor community with their juntanomics.

Thailand's investment climate has worsened, Standard & Poor's said in Jan. 8 report. S&P has a stable outlook on Thailand's BBB+ rating, the third-lowest investment grade.

What lies will Somkid tell to restore confidence? More meaningless bullshit about Sufficiency Theory. Or will Somkid just reframe his old Thaksinomic schemes as juntanomic/self sufficiency policies.

Cooling overseas demand and gains in the baht may curb growth in exports, which account for about 60 percent of the economy, to as little as 7.5 percent this year from 17 percent in 2006, the central bank forecasts.

Stocks Slide

Bank of Thailand penalties imposed on Dec. 18 to curtail the baht's 16 percent gain against the dollar last year sparked the Thai stock market's biggest slide in 16 years, prompting the measures to be lifted for stock investments the following day. They remain for bonds, real-estate mutual funds and some foreign-currency borrowings. Control methods may be changed, central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase said today, without elaborating.

How can anybody trust this government? They say one thing one day change their mind the next and never can make up their minds about anything. How come nobody is attacking this as one of the sources of Thailand's present economic problems?

Somkid's appointment may buoy confidence among foreign investors, said Sombat Narawutthichai, secretary general of the securities analysts association, a trade group of Thai stock analysts. ``Somkid is still respected among overseas investors key maker of economic policies of the previous government. His good image will definitely help.''

Somkid has a good image. Who says this? He is a two face back stabbing liar. Who would trust any man who sells out his integrity?

Thaksin's policies focused on boosting economic growth by encouraging foreign direct investment, raising government spending on infrastructure, boosting spending by making credit cheap and easy to get, and selling state assets.

Replace the name Thaksin with the name Somkid.

Somkid today said the sufficiency economy would teach people ``to live within their earning capability'' and prevent business from ``repeating the same crisis as in 1997, when most companies had over borrowed and over invested''

Somkid's proposal contradicts 6 years of economic polices that Somkid designed for Thaksin.

Financial Crisis

In 1997, Thailand set in motion a regional financial crisis after it drained foreign reserves in a failed attempt to protect the baht, forcing it to remove its exchange rate peg to the dollar, triggering a flight of capital from Asia.

Somkid was named by Thaksin early last year as a possible successor, and was widely as the front runner to take over as leader, according to April opinion polls. Somkid quit Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party on Oct. 3, party spokesman Jatuporn Prompan said at the time.

Somkid stuck with Thaksin until the end. He knows where all the bodies are buried.

Trained in Thailand as an economist before receiving a doctorate in business administration and marketing from the U.S. School of Management at Northwestern University in 1985, Somkid co-wrote ``The Marketing of Nations,'' a favorite book of Thaksin's. Somkid had advised Thaksin on economic policies since he first entered politics in 1994.

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