Thailand’s financial system more vulnerable, says BoT

The Thai financial system has become more vulnerable due to the more-than-expected contraction of the economic outlook in light of the COVID-19 situation, said Bank of Thailand’s (BoT) monetary policy committee’s latest update.

The Committee assessed that the Thai economy would contract by 8.1 percent in 2020 but would expand at 5.0 percent in 2021 in tandem with a gradual improvement in both domestic and external demand.

However, the Bank of Thailand warned that the Thai economy would contract this year more than the previous assessment due to the more-severe-than-expected COVID-19 pandemic which could lead to (1) sharp correction of asset prices in global financial markets, (2) defaults by businesses and households in many countries including Thailand, and (3) corporate bonds being downgraded to non-investment grade.

Additionally, the Committee deemed it important to prepare financial measures to continuously alleviate impact…

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Bank of Thailand expects 2020 GDP to contract 8.1%

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has left the key policy rate unchanged during the Monetary Policy Meeting (MPC) today (June 24).

The central bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) voted unanimously to leave the one-day repurchase rate untouched at 0.5%.

The MPC has cut key policy rates three times this year, from 1.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, though most analysts expected the central bank to maintain its key policy rate. 

2020 GDP outlook downgraded to a 8.1% contraction

The BoT sharply downgraded its forecast of Thailand’s full-year economic outlook to a 8.1% contraction, instead of 5.3% previously forecasted.

The central bank, however, raised its forecast for Thai economic growth next year to 5% from the 3% predicted in March.

The Committee viewed that targeted and timely fiscal measures along with accommodative monetary policy, credit measures, as well as the speed-up of debt restructuring would remain…

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Thailand Slumps to 29th Spot in World Competitiveness Rankings

Thailand fell four places from the 25th spot in 2019 to 29th in IMD’s world competitiveness rankings for 2020, dragged down by poor rankings for economic performance and government efficiency.

As far as Asean peers are concerned, Singapore kept pole position while Indonesia saw the largest drop (8), from 32nd to 40th.

Malaysia fell five positions to 27th, and the Philippines was the only Asean country that saw improvement, up one position to 45th.

While Hong Kong SAR came in at 5th, this is a far cry from 2nd which it enjoyed last year. A decline that IMD attributes to its economic performance, social turmoil in Hong Kong and the rub-on effect of the Chinese economy. However, the 2020 rankings do not pick up on events in the last couple of months.

Thailand’s challenges in 2020

Urgent measures to support citizens and small businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Measures to recover key sectors affected…

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Bangkok 35th most expensive city for expats

According to Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, followed by Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in second position.

Tokyo and Zurich remain in third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Singapore is in fifth, down two places from last year. New York City ranked sixth, moving up from ninth place.

Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Bern (8), Geneva (9), and Beijing (10).

The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Tunis (209), Windhoek (208), Tashkent and Bishkek, which tied to rank 206.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that sending and keeping employees on international assignments is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage,” said Ilya Bonic, Career President and Head of Mercer Strategy. “Rather than bet on a dramatic resurgence of mobility, organiza…

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Thailand Bans several toxic farm chemicals

BANGKOK(NNT)- The government has confirmed a ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos starting June 1, 2020.

Farmers who possess them are advised to return them within 90 days or no later than August 29, 2020.

Ms Traisulee Traisoranakun, Government Deputy Spokesperson, said today that from June 1st, 2020, onwards, the Notification of the Ministry of Industry on the List of Hazardous Substances No. 6, B.E. 2563, comes into effect.

It prohibits the production, import, export and possession of five toxic farm chemicals, namely paraquat, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos-methyl, paraquat dichloride and paraquat dichloride bis methyl sulfate.

“Those who have stocks of these chemicals must return them to the sellers within 90 days, or before August 29,” she said. “Sellers must accept the chemicals and submit them, as well as possession information to the Department of Agriculture within 120 days of the ban coming into effect, or before September 28t…

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CLMV’s economic growth crashes to two-decade low due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on CLMV economies through their dependency on foreign-sourced revenue from tourism and exports says KResearchCenter.

While the COVID-19 crisis has caused the rate of economic growth in the CLMV bloc to be at its lowest in two decades, the CLMV economies could grow at 3.4 percent this year.

Overall, the CLMV economies will tend to undergo a speedy recovery over the next 1 to 2 years – with economic growth projected to reach 6.4 percent in 2021 and 6.5 percent in 2022.

Countries which are heavily dependent on foreign revenue are facing more negative effects during this crisis.

Cambodia is the most severely affected country

Cambodia is the most severely affected country, as it is extremely reliant on foreign income through tourism and exports. Tourism is expected to shrink by an estimated 60 percent this year. Meanwhile, in terms of exports, Cambodia remains most dependent on the…

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COVID-19 Silver Lining : Asia sees unexpected gains in virus lockdowns

Emergency workers usually busy attending accidents on Thailand’s roads mill around ambulances parked at a service station — fewer crashes and crimes a welcome outcome for several Asian countries during coronavirus lockdowns.

As Asia starts to assess the damage caused by the pandemic, some countries are realising there have been unforeseen benefits. 

Vietnam’s nationwide isolation has seen a drop in crime, Hong Kong has hailed an early end to its annual flu season — and now, Thailand is seeing a much-needed win in road safety. 

“Accidents have gone down quite a lot,” said Banjerd Premjit, chief of the Por Tek Tung emergency medical team operating just outside Bangkok.

In Pathum Thani province, where his team of three ambulances normally rush to about 15 grisly crashes a night, accidents have dropped by half. 

Songkran, the Thai New Year holiday, is marked annually by a jump in tr…
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Thailand reports zero new cases of Covid-19

Thailand has reported no new infections or fatalities today, for the first time since the country recorded its first COVID-19 case four months ago.

There were no new cases of Covid-19 over a 24-hour period, or any deaths, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Wednesday, May 13.

Since May 3, the number of new Covid-19 cases reported daily had been in single figures,  except for May 4th, when new infections jumped to 18, all among illegal immigrants at a detention centre in the southern province of Songkhla.

Dr Taweesin cautioned that no fresh cases did not mean Thailand had completely rid itself of the virus. People should not become complacent as there might be infected people who have shown no symptoms yet.

Cumulative infections, to date, remain at 3,017 while recoveries have increased by 46 to 2,844 today.  Over the previous 24 hours, 46 more patie…

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How is Covid-19 impacting Thailand’s medical hub ambitions?

As the coronavirus outbreak added strains to frontline health services and back-end supply chains, Thailand’s Board of Investment announced additional measures in April to accelerate investments in the manufacture of medical equipment, which could have positive implications for the health sector’s broader strategic goals.

From May 3, small retailers, street food vendors, restaurants outside malls, parks and outdoor sports venues have been permitted to reopen as policymakers look to kick-start economic activity that has been curtailed by lockdown measures.

Alcohol sales have resumed for home consumption, while restaurants that have reopened may only serve soft drinks and must ensure that customers are seated at least 1.5 metres apart.

Although some restrictions have been lifted, Thailand has also extended its state of emergency until May 30.

International flights remain suspended and bars, cinemas, department stores and indoo…

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Covid-19, poverty, social protection and the Thai economy

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has touched people from all walks of life. Across Thailand, children have been home from school, employees have been working from home, and business owners have struggled to remain viable.

All of us have been learning to conduct our daily lives. The less fortunate have lost their jobs or incomes and must seek alternative livelihoods.

And this poses the question, how can Thailand limit the impact on its economy by expanding safety nets for the vulnerable and rethinking social protection?

COVID-19 will worsen an already challenging situation for households facing droughts, stagnant wage growth, and rising poverty.  Poverty rates had risen already in 2016 and 2018, according to the World Bank’s report, Taking the Pulse of Poverty and Inequality in Thailand report. Now, as economic activity declines, job and income loss will likely worsen household welfare. 

Declining incomes pose a serious challenge…
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