Monday, 19 April 2010

Rubber prices soar by 236 percent

via CAAI News Media

Monday, 19 April 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

THE PRICE of dry rubber has increased by more than 236 percent year-on-year in the Kingdom, according to a report by Cambodia’s General Directorate of Rubber.

According to an organisation paper, obtained Sunday, the price of rubber sold to international markets this month reached US$3,700 per tonne. In April last year, rubber was sold for only $1,100 per tonne, with a 2009 market high of $3,000 per tonne.

Ly Phalla, director general of the General Directorate of Rubber, said Sunday that such sharp increase in rubber prices has not been seen for 60 years. It has resulted from demand outstripping supply, he said.

Last year, because of the unfavourable weather and unusual heavy rainfall in major producing areas such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, world production decreased around 6 percent.

“We hope that the price of dry rubber will keep on increasing,” added Ly Phalla.

Mork Kim Hong, president of Cambodian Rubber Association, said: “I believe that the increase in rubber price will help encourage Cambodia, which still has a small number of rubber plantations, to grow more and more rubber trees."

So far, much of Cambodia’s 130,000 hectares of rubber cultivation consists of young crops, which have not yet yielded. In 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that Cambodia produced 37,000 tonnes of rubber, 36,000 tonnes of which was exported.

Oz drills for copper following gold strike

via CAAI News Media

Monday, 19 April 2010 15:00 Ellie Dyer

MINING firm Oz Minerals has completed a shallow drilling programme at a prospective copper deposit in Cambodia, its first-quarter report revealed Thursday.

Around 50 drill holes have been completed at the O Anlong project, in Mondulkiri province, its results stated. Findings from the 2,600 metres of drilling carried out so far are said to be “pending”.

The business is also searching for gold in the Kingdom. Last month, it announced initial inferred gold resources of 8.1 million tonnes at its site in Mondulkiri’s Okvau district.

The company, according to the report, considers the Okvau district interest to be “the asset from which to build its resource base”. Drilling is now planned at another nine regional sites.

Outside of Cambodia, the Melbourne-based company recorded encouraging results. The Q1 report states that the business raised guidelines for its gold output for 2010 to 2012 from 80,000 to 90,000 ounces up to 110,000 to 120,000 ounces, after gold production exceeded expectations at its Prominent Hill site in Australia.

On Tuesday, OZ signed a joint venture agreement with IMX Resource Limited to develop copper and gold projects in Mount Woods, South Australia.

However, the positive results did not affect stock price in Sydney. After an initial price rally of 3.69 percent on the Australian Securities Exchange Thursday, shares slid 2.37 percent to close at AU$1.235 on Friday.

Agreement on gaming machines lifts Elixir

via CAAI News Media

Monday, 19 April 2010 15:00 Ellie Dyer

ELIXIR Gaming Technologies Inc saw its stock price rise to an April high on Friday after agreeing to provide 60 gaming machines to a Cambodian casino last week, further strengthening its presence in the Kingdom.

The Las Vegas-based company entered into a contract to install 60 gaming units in the new Grand Golden casino, near the Vietnam border in Kampong Cham province, according to a press statement issued early last week.

It also secured an order, valued at US$340,000, to supply gaming plaques and chips for Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams casino resort in Macau. The announcements saw share prices climb steadily on the New York Stock Exchange to $0.26 a share at close Friday, a high for April.

The deal with Grand Golden Co Ltd is the latest move by Elixir to consolidate its position in Cambodia, which Chairman and CEO Clarence Chung described in the announcement as “a key market”.

"Given the contracted 60 machines are expected to be sourced primarily from our current inventory, capital expenditures for this project should be minimal,” said Chung, who did not detail the exact cost of the deal.

The importance of the Kingdom for Elixir was illustrated in its fourth quarter results, released in March.

Statements detailing its Q4 finances said total revenues improved 26 percent on quarter three to $4.5 million. A large proportion of revenue was garnered from 560 slot machines at NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, where revenues soared to $1.5 million from $1.1 million.

The deal with Grand Golden Co Ltd, whose owners Chung described as “established gaming operators in the Indo-China region”, is set to come into place in November, following renovations to the casino floor. Elixir will receive a proportion of winning profits while the five-year contract is in place. It will take on 30 percent of revenue and marketing costs, with Grand Golden taking 70 percent.

Stock Roundup: Thai stock declines as Berhad prospers

via CAAI News Media

Monday, 19 April 2010 15:00 James O'Toole

POLITICAL unrest in Thailand continued to take its toll on the country’s financial markets last week, as the Stock Exchange of Thailand closed Friday down 3.25 percent.

Stocks in Thailand, where antigovernment protesters continued to occupy Bangkok’s shopping district Sunday after clashes with security forces killed 23 people earlier this month, fell 7 percent over the course of last week.

To the south, Malaysia’s Public Bank Berhad, owner of Cambodian Public Bank Ltd, opened trading in Kuala Kumpur on Friday at a 52-week high of 12.06 ringgit (US$3.78) after releasing first-quarter earnings results that met annualised market estimates.

The bank’s first-quarter net profits of 685 million ringgit are up 16 percent from quarter one 2009, as finance sector growth continues to outstrip gains in wider markets worldwide.

Also in Kuala Lumpur Friday, Axiata, owner of Cambodian telecoms firm Hello, closed down 2.1 percent to finish at 3.73 ringgit after announcing plans for a $300 million issuance of 10 year fixed-rate, guaranteed bonds. CEO Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said the move would support the company’s efforts to improve its capital structure.

Axiata has applied to list the notes on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Labuan International Financial Exchange. In February, Axiata reported a $164 million profit for the last quarter of 2009, as subscribers rose an annualised 34 percent in its regional markets.


via CAAI News Media

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Several thousand people were expected to celebrate the Cambodian new year Saturday at a festival at the Temple of the Khmer Buddhist Society in San Bernardino. The event, cosponsored by San Bernardino's Asian-American Resource Center, included traditional Cambodian dances and music, homemade Cambodian and Thai food and a singing contest. Traditional Cambodian new year festivities take place April 13-15, which in Cambodia is a national holiday. But because most people in the United States work on at least some of those days, Buddhist temples here typically celebrate on the weekend before or after the actual new year.

Frank Bellino / Special to The Press-Enterprise
Dancers perform during Cambodian New Year celebration at The Temple of the Khmer Buddhist Society on Saturday.

Som Phath, 55, of Long Beach, gets ready to perform a dance during Cambodian New Year celebration at The Temple of the Khmer Buddhist Society in San Bernardino.

Cambodian troops leave border area

via CAAI News Media

'Misunderstanding' led to Saturday battle

Published: 19/04/2010

Cambodian troops have withdrawn from a disputed border areas along the border at Surin after exchanging fire with Thai soldiers on Saturday.

Suranaree Task Force commander Chavalit Choonprasarn yesterday negotiated a truce with Joom Sa-Rai, deputy chief of Region 4 Border Affairs Bureau.

The two sides agreed to pull back their troops from the disputed area near Surin's Kap Choeng district where the skirmishes took place.

Col Joom assured Maj Gen Chavalit that no Cambodian troops would trespass on Thai territory.

Maj Gen Chavalit also said that an effort would be made to prevent future clashes, an army source said.

Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged heavy fire for almost an hour from 8am on Saturday, 8km east of Chong Chom checkpoint. They also exchanged fire for 15 minutes from about 9.30am.

No casualties were reported.

A Thai ranger who had been reported missing after the incident was found by the Suranaree Task Force. He lost his way in dense forest during the clash.

Shooting broke out after Thai troops patrolling the border found Cambodian soldiers had built a village for Cambodians in a disputed area.

Thai troops earlier claimed their Cambodian counterparts opened fire on them when Thai officials ordered them to stop building the houses.

Cambodian authorities earlier said their troops were patrolling the border when they came under fire from Thai troops.

Maj Gen Chavalit said Saturday's clash was due to a misunderstanding and the atmosphere along the border was expected to improve after the two sides ironed out their differences.

Cambodian and Thai troops were again patrolling the border yesterday, he said.

Senior local officials on both sides will meet for a meal soon to discuss areas of disagreement.

Meanwhile, business at the Chong Chom border market returned to normal yesterday after tourists and vendors from the two countries returned.

Relations between Cambodia and Thailand took a turn for the worse in November last year when Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra his economic adviser and refused to extradite him to Thailand to serve his prison sentence.

Red shirts reject latest offer for a dissolution

via CAAI News Media

Published: 13/04/2010
Newspaper section: News

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has rejected the government's latest offer to dissolve the House in six months.

Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul said yesterday the new proposal to end the political crisis was reached in talks between leaders and supporters of the coalition parties on Sunday.

Banharn Silpa-archa, chief adviser to the Chart Thai Pattana Party, was assigned to convey the decision to the UDD. The veteran Suphan Buri politician contacted UDD chairman Veera Musikhapong yesterday but a request for negotiations was turned down, Mr Chavarat said.

Other UDD leaders, including Jatuporn Prompan and Weng Tojirakarn, demanded an immediate parliament dissolution and quick elections by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva instead of a longer time frame offered by the coalition government.

"All we want is for Mr Abhisit to dissolve the House and call new general elections urgently," Mr Jatuporn, a Puea Thai Party MP, said.

Dr Weng said the immediate solution was to dissolve the parliament. "I guarantee all red shirts will return home if Mr Abhisit dissolves the House," he said.

The UDD will not hold further talks with the government to seek ways to put an end to the conflict.

Mr Abhisit and UDD leaders held two rounds of talks last month but were unable to reach any agreements as supporters of convicted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra had rejected the government's first offer of a dissolution in nine months.

Mr Abhisit said yesterday in a televised address the dissolution option was still available for discussion with the red shirts and his proposal in March had been revised to find a political solution.

But the prime minister did not abandon other plans to end the demonstration at Phan Fa Bridge and Ratchaprasong intersection.

Mr Abhisit said the government considered armed assailants attacking security forces on Saturday night to be "terrorists". The government would move to separate the "terrorists" from innocent demonstrators.

At a news conference at the 11th Infantry Regiment, the prime minister said all relevant government agencies will work on anti-terrorist measures.

"We want to call for all innocent people not to join the movement or become a tool of the movement," Mr Abhisit said.

Once the "terrorists" are clearly separated from innocent people, the government will be able to map out appropriate measures to end the unrest, he said.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda said he favoured a political solution instead of military means to end the confrontation, adding political problems could only be resolved by political means.