Climate Change Could Force 49 Million People to Migrate in East Asia and the Pacific

The World Bank’s updated Groundswell report released today finds that climate change, an increasingly potent driver of migration, could force 216 million people across six world regions to move within their countries by 2050.

Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.

The report also finds that immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development, could reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80 percent.

Climate change is a powerful driver of internal migration because of its impacts on people’s livelihoods and loss of livability in highly exposed locations.

By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 86 million internal climate migrants; East Asia and the Pacific, 49 million; South Asia, 40 million; North Africa, 19 million; Latin America, 17 million; and Eastern Europe and Cent…

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Thailand relaxes COVID-19 measures to help revive economy

Thailand relaxed more virus related social curbs on September 1st, in dozens of cities including Bangkok, in a move that may indicate that the country’s economy, hit hard by COVID-19 will soon revive, lead by the export sector and sound financial fundamentals.

During the past couple weeks, new infection cases have been down from roughly 20,000 daily cases to 17,000 -19,000. Moreover, the number of daily discharges is exceeding infections, which has led to the conclusion that the situation is improving.

Therefore, the Center for the COVID-19 Situation’s Administration decided at the end of August to lift some lockdown measures in 29 provinces designated “Maximum and Strict Controlled Areas” or dark-red zone provinces from September 1st onward. Restaurants, and Malls have reopened under strict hygienic measures.

Flights between provinces have resumed, while night entertainment venues, schools and other businesses remain closed.

The …

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Coronavirus raises asset risks but Thai banks will maintain adequate solvency

A resurgence of coronavirus infections in Thailand will hamper the country’s economic recovery and raise asset risks for banks in the country.

Yet government measures to support borrowers will limit the deterioration of banks’ asset quality, and banks have sufficient buffers to absorb expected credit losses.

Thailand’s economic recovery will lag that of its ASEAN peers amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections, and this will result in increases in nonperforming loans (NPLs).

Slow economic recovery in Thailand will weigh on asset quality for banks

We project that Thailand’s GDP will grow at the slowest pace among large ASEAN economies in 2021 as the tourism sector continues to suffer from the pandemic amid low vaccination rates.

Loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), many of which are tied to tourism, will drive growth in nonperforming loans (NPLs).

Thai banks will maintain adequate sol…
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Thai Government Launches “Factory Sandbox” Scheme to Protect 3 Million Jobs

BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s government has launched a pilot “Factory Sandbox” program to test, vaccinate and isolate factory workers, with the aim of limiting COVID-related disruptions to Thailand’s important export-driven manufacturing sector.

According to a government statement, this initiative aims to protect 3 million jobs and supports manufacturers who contribute about 700 billion baht to the gross domestic product. The plan will focus on plants which employ at least 500 people and will build confidence among both Thai and foreign investors at a time when supply chains in rival countries are shutting down.

The “sandbox” program will focus on large factories manufacturing cars, electronics, food and medical equipment for export, in provinces which are key production hubs. Eligible factories must employ at least 500 workers, a field hospital or isolation facility and shuttle services for employees.

All workers will also …

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Thailand cited as one of the ten most flood-affected countries in the world

“Climate Risk Country Profile – Thailand” outlines rapid onset and long-term changes in key climate parameters, as well as the impact of these changes on communities, livelihoods, and economies—many of which are already underway.

The publication is part of a series of climate risk country profiles published jointly by ADB and the World Bank Group. The aim of the series is to provide development practitioners with easy-to-use technical resources to facilitate upstream country diagnostics, policy dialogue, and strategic planning.

KEY MESSAGES

• Observations show temperature increases across Thailand since the mid-20th century and an increase in annual precipitation. Most of this increase occurs during the wet season.

• By the 2090s, the average temperature is projected to increase by 0.95°C–3.23°C above the 1986–2005 baseline, with the rate of warming dependent on the emissions pathway.

• Projected temperature …

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Thailand’s H1 Investment Applications rise 158% in combined value, BOI says

In the first six months of 2021, Thailand’s investment applications increased 14% from the year earlier period in terms of the number of projects, and 158% in combined value, led by increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) applications, sustained growth in target industries including the electronics and medical sectors, as well as in power generation, the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) said.

From January to June, local and foreign investors filed a total of 801 investment applications representing a combined value of 386.2 billion baht (USD12 billion), compared to 704 projects worth 149.8 billion baht in the year earlier period.

“We feel encouraged by the fact that so many foreign investors, including many new ones chose to invest in Thailand at a time when the global investment environment remains challenging due to the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

BOI Secretary General Duangjai Asawachintachit.

“That demonstrates inve…

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Thai baht becoming the region’s worst-hit currency in COVID pandemic

The Thai baht has been hit by a sharp decline in tourism numbers due to the COVID pandemic, making the country’s currency the worst-hit in the region this year, according to Mizuho Bank.

In a note on July 23, the Japanese bank pointed to “uncharacteristic under-performance of the Thai Baht, rendering it the worst performer to date in 2021”.

Thai baht was the top performer in Asia before the pandemic. In 2019, the country was concerned about the strengthening Thai baht, which was buoyed by its large trade surplus. A stronger currency makes Thailand’s exports more expensive, causing them to be less attractive in global markets.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data, the Thai baht has steadily plunged more than 10% against the U.S. dollar year-to-date in 2021. This makes it the weakest-performing currency this year compared to other major Asia Pacific currencies.

Against the greenback, the Japanese yen is nearly 7% lower, the Malaysian r…

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TAT expects 850 billion baht ($25.7 bln) in tourism revenue after successful reopening

BANGKOK (NNT) – Following the launch of the Phuket Sandbox tourism scheme on July 1st this year, many foreign tourists moved by the warm hospitality of the people of Phuket, are looking forward to visiting other provinces, such as Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Those who have now returned to their home countries say they plan to visit the kingdom with their families again.

Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, as Spokesman for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said today that almost a month after the Phuket Sandbox model’s launch, Thailand has welcomed almost 10,000 international visitors, with the top five countries being the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Israel, Germany and France. The average stay per guest was 11 nights.

Total cost per trip is about 70,000 baht, which covers accommodation, swab tests, food and drinks, transportation, airfares and othe…

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Thailand’s Vaccine Strategy: What went wrong?

Last year Thailand won worldwide praise for its effective measures to contain COVID-19. This year the government is facing growing public outrage over the failure to control new covid outbreaks, and the slow acquisition of vaccines.

Some embassies have had to source vaccines for their own citizens over concerns they may otherwise have to wait too long for the Thai vaccine rollout to reach them. Where did a government that seemed so successful last year go wrong?

Some have suggested complacency, an official belief after months with very few new infections that Thailand had more time before it would need to deploy vaccines.

Questions are being asked

Questions are being asked, and not answered, over the decision to rely almost entirely on Siam Bioscience, a local, palace-owned company with no experience of making vaccines, for the country’s vaccine needs, until an unseemly scramble began this year to procure alternatives.

Bureaucr…

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Southeast Asia Covid-19 Latest News

The Delta variant has ripped through Southeast Asia in recent weeks, undoing many countries’ progress against the Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesia has been hit especially hard.

The spiraling crisis in Indonesia—and worsening situations in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are all experiencing their highest rate of case growth since the start of the pandemic—is a sad reminder that even as vaccines are rolled out in the United States and Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic has not abated elsewhere.

Already arguably the most impacted country in the region prior to the current wave, the rate of new cases in Indonesia has spiked to its worst level since the pandemic began, more than quadrupling in less than a month. But the devastation has gone beyond official case counts.

One in four people who take a Covid-19 test in Indonesia come back positive, and the percentage of deaths per positive case increased to 2.6 percent this week, the highes…

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