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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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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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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Thai exports Record 45.9% Growth in May

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry reported on Thursday (24 June) that Thai exports recorded their fastest expansion in 11 years during May, driven by strong global demand and economic recovery in trading partners, as the government continues aggressive promotion efforts.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said exports jumped by 45.9% in May, after a 25.7% growth in April and a 12% rise in March, and are maintaining a healthy growth momentum. The expansion was partly attributed to the ministry’s export promotion plans this year, in addition to the robust global economic recovery, especially in the manufacturing sector

Outbound shipments earned more than 20 billion USD for the fourth consecutive month and recorded the highest growth rate since June 2010. Products recording strong growth in May included agricultural and food products, such as cassava products, rubber, vegetables and fruit, fresh, chilled and frozen chicken, palm oil, beverag…

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Thai Government Plans to Increase 2022 Investment Budget by 90 Billion baht ($2.84 bln)

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Budget Bureau notes that the Thai government plans to increase its investment budget by 90 billion baht in the fiscal year 2022, in compliance with a law related to state financial and fiscal discipline.

Budget Bureau Director Dechapiwat Na Songkhla said, of the 90 billion baht the government plans to add to the 2022 investment budget, 50-60 billion is from the 500-billion-baht emergency loan. The remainder comes from the 2022 investment budget of state agencies and enterprises.

According to the 2022 fiscal budget bill, which has public spending set at 3.1 trillion baht, accounting for 17.9% of GDP, the government would need to borrow 700 billion baht to offset the deficit.

However, the bill set the investment budget at only 624 billion baht, lower than the deficit of 700 billion. This means the government would have to raise the investment budget to more than 700 billion baht, to comply with the 2018 law governing…

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China’s new three-child policy highlights risks of aging across emerging Asia

Population aging in China (A1 stable) and other emerging markets in Asia will hurt economic growth, competitiveness and fiscal revenue, unless productivity gains accelerate, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service.

And although China’s new policy allowing couples to have up to three children could support fertility, it is unlikely to dramatically change the national birthrate, meaning that aging will remain a credit-negative constraint.

Shrinking workforces could dampen rapid GDP growth and hurt fiscal revenue in China, Thailand and other economiesIn China’s case, productivity gains may lessen the credit-negative impact of demographic changes

Thailand’s (Baa1 stable) total dependency ratio is set to jump nine percentage points to 51% by 2030 – a faster increase than China’s – which will pressure public and private savings through higher taxes and social spending, reducing innovation and productivity gai…

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Asia Pacific: Recovery delayed but not derailed

The ASEAN-6 economies have experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases since the start of 2021, which has led to the reinstatement of social distancing measures.

Thailand has recorded over 120,000 cases since April against less than 7,000 in all of 2020. At the other end of the spectrum Singapore and Vietnam averaged 5 and 1.1 per million new cases a day in May, which is still very low regionally and globally. In the case

This has dimmed, but not derailed the regional economic recovery; we have lowered our 2021 GDP growth forecast to 4.9% (from 5.5% previously). Our forecast is for growth to improve to 6.5% in 2022 as countries move closer to herd immunity and the recovery becomes more synchronised across sectors.

After being lauded for their successful containment of Covid-19 in 2020, the ASEAN-6 economies have experienced a surge in cases since the start of the year.

New daily cases in Malaysia are currently above the peak reached d…

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