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Aug 29. 2014
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By The Nation

Action needed to halt petroleum exports
Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha has assigned the Energy Ministry’s Mineral Fuels Department and oil refiners to discuss a possible halt in petroleum exports, in light of the ongoing heated debate about the country’s energy situation.
The PM said a possible halt would assist the country while energy reforms were under way, Puangthip Silpasart, deputy director-general of the department, said yesterday.
At present, Thailand exports about 12,000 barrels a day of crude oil.
Thailand’s crude-oil exports have been on a downward trend, as it is a net importer, said the official. 
However, export activities cover mainly crude oil, the specification of which does not match local refiners’ demand and Thailand’s environmental standards, he added.
PTT Group, which owns the country’s largest refiners, has been under heavy attack. Many Thais, mostly social-network users, have expressed the view that petroleum found within the Kingdom’s territory should be reserved for local use. 
According to data from the Energy Policy and Planning Office, Thailand last year produced 240,639 barrels of crude per day, and imported 868,040 barrels. Exports averaged 25,284 barrels a day.
CIMB profit dips 
Malaysia-based CIMB Group Holdings has reported a net profit of 2.016 billion ringgit (Bt20.43 billion) for the first half of the year, equivalent to net earnings per share of 24.6 sen. In the first half of last year, the group reported a net profit of RM2.44 billion, which included a RM365-million net gain from the sale of CIMB Aviva. 
Excluding the exceptional gains, the group’s business-as-usual net profit decreased by 2.8 per cent year on year in the first half of this year. 
The group’s annualised net return on average equity was 12.2 per cent during the period, with an enlarged equity base following the private placement of new shares in January. The group declared a first interim net dividend of 10 sen per share. This amounts to a net payment of RM834 million, translating to a dividend pay-out ratio of 41.3 per cent of the first half’s net profits.
“It was a difficult first half, due mainly to the tough conditions in Indonesia and the sharply weaker rupiah, which combined to decrease CIMB Niaga’s PBT [profit before tax] contributions by 19.8 per cent. 
Better defence  
Regional reinsurers in Asia-Pacific benefit from longer-established market positions and greater size of capacity and revenue streams in Asia than their peers in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA).
This is according to a new report by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, titled “Regional Reinsurers in Asia-Pacific Are More Resilient to Industry Headwinds Than in CEEMEA”, that explores differences between regional reinsurance markets in Asia-Pacific and CEEMEA. 
Large global reinsurers enjoy dominant positions in the major markets of CEEMEA. This leaves smaller regional reinsurers in these regions in a precarious position and at risk of being further marginalised. 
By contrast, in Asia-Pacific, local reinsurers have significant market shares, giving them better established and more defensible competitive positions, said S&P. 

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