Australian Embassy Updates

Daily Updates on COVID-19

Headlines summary as of 21 January 2021

News

·  Updates related to COVID-19:

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, total confirmed cases from clusters
14212,795619,842 (at 76.92%)8,558
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
88+137 (active case finding) 17 (in SQ)2,882635 [619 reported by BMA yesterday + 16 by CCSA today]714,167
  • The Government Spokesperson said in response to the more relaxed lockdown measures that despite reports on the PM going to decide on easing restriction at the end of January, as of now there is yet a confirmed date on the plenary CCSA meeting.–The Reporters 
  • In a potential new super spreader, a vocal DJ has been tested COVID-positive and the health authority is investigating others who have been in close contact with him. The CCSA spokesperson said the celebrity case is not yet put into today’s COVID report (table above).

Politics

  • After the leader of the Progressive Movement and defunct Future Forward Party came out to raise questions on the preferential treatment of the King-owned pharmaceutical company in the national vaccine strategy and got bombarded by the authority, yesterday the Minister assistants filed legal cases against the critic.
    • Thanathorn was charged with Article 112 lese majeste and for violating the Computer Crime Act. This is, according to Reuters, perhaps the highest-profile lese majeste case since a wave of anti-government protests emerged last year and extended to criticism of the King. Suporn Attawong, vice-minister to the PM’s Office, said the criticism violated the monarchy and hurt many Thai people’s feeling.-Reuters
    • In response to the legal case, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit held a press conference saying that the questions did not target the monarchy, but the government’s treatment of budget provided to the company owned by the King. He tackled PM Prayut who he said has always referred to the King to defend many of his political decisions. He said the charges brought against him are politically-motivated.–The Reporters
  • The issue of the upcoming Bangkok Governor election is heating up again as it is reported in a media quoting a source in the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) that there is a division within the party on the person who will be filed as the party candidate.
    • On one hand, it is reported that Deputy PM and PPRP leader Prawit and Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat are supporting former Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda. Meanwhile, the Bangkok key figure like the Education Minister Nutthapol Teepasuwan is eyeing to file his partner Taya for the Bangkok gubernatorial seat, either as the party candidate or as an independent.
    • The same source said that the Education Minister has called on six party MPs to support his wife’s candidacy. He is quoted saying “I will go meet with the party executive for their resolution to nominate Taya. If the executive does not agree, I will resign from the party and help his wife to run for the campaign starting from February.” The source also said the Minister is going to file Taya as the BMA Governor candidate, even though PPRP is going to nominate Chakthip.
    • Interstingly, Nutthapol is quoted saying “As PM Prayut is not going to run in the next ballot, I don’t know whether there will be PPRP in the next election. I am seeking to establish a new political party.”–PPTV
  • The Lower House approved a law amendment bill that allows women with pregnancies of not more than 12 weeks to get an abortion. The bill also decriminalise doctors who perform an abortion if such conditions are met.–Matichon
  • The government spokesperson said that the National Statistical Office of Thailand’s has conducted a survey which showed that 45.5 per cent of Thai people are very satisfied with the government’s performance and 47.2 per cent of Thai people are very confident with the government performance.–Thai PR Department

Australia

  • The European Commission has chosen Phi Suea House in Chiang Mai for its Hydrogen Valley Mission Innovation platform, which highlights 32 large-scale hydrogen flagship projects around the world. The platform is led by the renewable and clean hydrogen co-leaders, Australia, Germany and the EU.–Nation Thailand

Economic:

  • Parties interested in producing, selling or owning cannabis and hemp will be able to register to do so from 27 January when certain parts of the plant are scheduled to be removed from Type 5 narcotics list.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand’s poverty ratio is expected to increase to 8.8 percent in 2020 (5.2 million people), increasing from 6.2 percent in 2019 (3.7 million people) before falling to 8.4 percent this year (5 million people), according to World Bank’s Restoring Incomes: Recovering Jobs economic monitor report.  This is attributable to the pandemic’s adverse effects on the labour market, in which unemployment was severe in the first half of 2020, with 340,000 net job losses coupled with reduced working hours.  Private sector wage declined by 1.6 percent.  Employment will pick up from 2021-2022, resulting in the fall in poverty.  World Bank suggests the government establishes training programs to improve workers’ skills and provide financial support.
  • World Bank estimates that Thailand’s GDP in 2020 will contract by 6.5 percent.  GDP will rebound to a 4 percent growth in 2021 in a base-case-scenario where the pandemic outbreak is contained and a nationwide lockdown is not imposed.  If a nationwide lockdown is implemented, GDP would be only 2.4 percent in 2021.  In 2022, GDP could grow by 4.7 percent if half of the Thai population is vaccinated in mid 2020 and tourism improves.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry will asses economic conditions over the next 2 months before deciding if more stimulus measures are needed to supplement the cash-handout Rao Chana scheme.  Finance Minister Akhom affirmed that the government can borrow more and that there is sufficient room for disbursement of fiscal stimulus budget.
  • KKP Financial Group adviser, Supavud Saicheua, said the second wave of the pandemic outbreak could shave off 1.5 percent of Thailand’s GDP growth, leading the economy to grow between 2-2.5 percent this year.  The economy would contract for a second year if the pandemic remains uncontrollable in Q2 2021 with the tourism unable to resume.  The second infection wave could also render foreign tourist arrivals to fall to 2 million this year, down from the 6-7 million projected earlier.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to establish a Tourism Fund based on the 300 Baht tourism fee collected from foreign visitors this year.  While the tourism fee has yet to be approved, plans are being drafted for 34 Baht from the fee to be used to provide insurance benefits to international tourists, with the rest allocated to the tourism fund.  The funds could be used to build infrastructure to enhance tourism, which is in line with the government’s Bio, Circular and Green economy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Federation of Thai Industry forecasts that car manufacturing will increase by 5.12 percent to 1.5 million units in 2021 from 1.42 million units in 2020, on the condition that the pandemic is contained and purchasing power returns.  Although car production in 2020 declined from 2019 by 29.14 percent because of the economic slowdown, domestic car sales in December 2020 increased by 11.3 percent YoY.  It is a good sign that the domestic economy is improving.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thai large-cap equity funds registered a contraction for the first time in 15 years, with net outflows of 20 billion Baht after the super savings funds failed to attract as much capital as the long-term equity fund.  Overall, Thailand’s mutual fund industry saw a 6.5 percent decrease in net asset value to 5 trillion Baht last year, with net outflow of 280 billion Baht because of the closure of 4 fixed income funds of TMBAM Eastspring.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 20 January 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, total confirmed cases from clusters
5912,653609,621 (at 76.84%)8,416
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
28+23 (active case finding)8 (in SQ)2,961619 [606 reported by BMA yesterday + 13 by CCSA today]71 (+1 a 48 years old lady in Mae Sot District, Tak)4,130
  • A private hospital conglomerate is going to sue Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for monopolisation of vaccine. The executive of Thonburi Group said that FDA told their approval form for Sino Vac will take three months. Meanwhile, the government-initiated emergency import of the same Sino Vac approval is reported to have a green light within this week. The chairman of the hospital chain said that if the FDA approved merely the government’s proposal, the hospital will sue the FDA.—Than Settakij A media reached out to the FDA for comment, there is yet a response.—Inside Thailand
  • With the number of daily confirmed cases dwindled, authorities are eyeing to easing the lockdowns:
    • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will convene its meeting with its communicable disease committee tomorrow. Should the committee agrees, BMA will inform the public in due course.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The PM said after the weekly cabinet meeting that the lockdown measures seem to put the new infections under control. The PM hinted that the decision on easing the lockdown will be made at the end of this month after seeing the figure.–Manager

Politics

  • Yesterday, the anti-establishment protest returns to the bulletin:
    • A university student protestor who held a paper banner criticising the King’s vaccine company was allegedly slapped in the face by the mall security guard. Yesterday, at the posh Icon Siam Department Store, the protestor hold a banner wrote “Monopolising the vaccine, creating a scene for the royals” as a defiant act against yesterday’s news on the sole rights of reproducing the AstraZeneca vaccine that King Vajiralongkorn-owned (formerly by Crown Property Bureau) Siam Bio Science has. The protestor was taken to the nearby police station.
    • A small group of student-led protestors joined the lady while she went to the police and press charges against the security guard.
    • At dusk, more protestors waited for the response from the mall’s executive who said they will decide on the action within 24 hours.–ThaiPBS
    • Twitter users launched the hashtag #แบนไอคอนสยาม Ban Icon Siam in response to the  alleged crime.—Thai Enquirer
    • Yesterday, top health officials came out to defend the royal company’s role in the national vaccine strategy.–Reuters
  • Deputy PM Prawit and main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) leader said three ‘Don’t know’ to the media inquiry on 1. Whether his close aide Senator General Noppadol Inthapanya is going to set up a new political party; 2. Whether he is not on the grilling list in the upcoming censure debate; and 3. Whether he has been talking with the Opposition to have his name removed from the list?–Manager
  • Main Opposition Pheu Thai Party just held a press conference saying that in the upcoming general election, the largest party in the House is going to file the party candidate in all 350 constituencies. The party leader said there will be no split party strategy. The secretary-general of the party said that the party is setting up a new committee to recruit the party candidate for MPs.—Pheu Thai Party
  • Royalist Thai Bhakdhi Movement held a press conference on the set up of the royalist party aiming to tackle Kao Klai Party, Progressive Movement and student-led protestors.—Thai Bhakdhi
  • The government whip said the government is ready for the censure debate to be from mid-February. Mr Wirat Ratanaset laid out the timeline of the vote of motion that should the Opposition is to submit the motion on 25 January, the debate could be from 16-19 February and the vote will be on 20 February.—Thai Post
  • After claiming to be abducted by someone from the Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc), police showed CCTV footage that the protest guard Mongkol ‘Yel’ Santimethakul has been giving a false information. The police said that Yel was alone on the night he claimed to be abducted.—Thai Rath

Economic:

Cabinet’s approvals, 19 Jan 2021

  • The cabinet approved for 210 billion Baht worth of handout through the “Rao Chana” (We Win) project to an estimated 31 million people who are affected by the pandemic. The funding for Rao Chana will be drawn from the 1 trillion Baht loan, from the portion allocated to coronavirus financial aid of which there is 200 billion Baht remaining.  The additional 10 billion Baht will be transferred from the portion under Economic and Social Rehabilitation budget.
  • The Rao Chana handout is worth 3,500 Baht per person and will be given away for 2 months from January – February 2021.  The money will be transferred electronically to recipients.
  • Eligible applicants must have a maximum of 500,000 Baht in their savings bank account and annual income not exceeding 300,000 Baht.  The handout targets informal workers who are not covered by Section 33 of the Social Security System and are not government or SoE officials.  The 13 million low-income state welfare cardholders are also eligible.
  •  Those who have downloaded Pao Tung app earlier will receive the handout automatically through the app, after the government has verified their eligibility through existing data.  New applicants must register through the website www.เราชนะ.com from 29 Jan to 12 Feb.  For both groups, the payment to eligible recipients will be transferred through the Pao Tang app.  The first payment of 3,000 Baht will be made on 18 February, followed by weekly payments of 1,000 Baht for 4 weeks on Thursdays.
  • State welfare card holders will automatically receive their first payment on 5 February worth 675 or 700 Baht that will added to their welfare cards.  They will receive the same amount of money weekly, on every Friday, from 12 February to 26 March. 
  • Finance Minister Akhom said the Rao Chana scheme alone could boost GDP by 0.5 per cent.  The third phase of the co-payment subsidy program, Khon La Krueng, also contributes 0.5 percent.  The implementation of both schemes will ultimately boost GDP by 1 percent.  Minister Akhom admitted that the 3,500 Baht handout is sufficient only to mitigate the hardship of the people, but not enough to compensate for people’s losses.  Sources:  Ministry of Finance Press Release  Bangkok Post  The Nation

Others

  •  The cabinet approved of launching the third phase of the government co-payment scheme, Khon La Krueng, after 1.34 million claims were not exercised in the earlier 2 rounds.  Online registration for the third phase opened at 6:00 am today and the 1.34 million quota was full in 10 minutes.  Eligible recipients can start spending on 25 January.  Sources:  The Nation Bangkok Post
  • At Fitch Ratings’ Credit Outlook Asia Pacific 2021 Webinar, Stephen Schwartz, Head of Sovereign Rating for Asia Pacific said that the recurring pandemic outbreak has wrecked tourism, which has severely affected Thailand and The Philippines.  While Thailand has loads of buffer in public finance (ie: low public debt to GDP), Schwartz said “its near-term growth prospect is dim” primarily because of its high reliance on international tourists.  To aggravate matters, Thailand is also a “poster child for middle-income trap”.  Joanne Chau, Citigroup’s chief economist, contended that Thailand’s recovery is challenging in part because the government’s stimulus help has been “conservative”. 
  • Fitch has downgraded its sovereign rating for the Thai economy to BBB+/Stable since last year, following indications of political instability.  Overall, Fitch forecasted that that Thai economy will contract by -6.3 percent in 2020 and expand by +3.9 percent in 2021.  Thailand is unlikely to experience a V-Shape given that its services sector, including tourism, will recover slowly due to prolonged restrictions and movement.  For Asia Pacific, Fitch maintains a stable outlook and is optimistic on a rebound that will outperform global growth, starting from 2021.     Source:  Bangkok Post, Fitch Ratings’ Credit Outlook Asia Pacific 2021 Webinar
  • The Elite Flexible One scheme aimed at boosting condo sales received tepid response in the early stage, while a rise in membership is expected to start in March.  The Elite Flexible One scheme, launched on 1 Jan, offers a 500,000 Baht membership with a 5-year multiple-entry visa for members who purchase properties worth 10 million Baht in Thailand.  Its target group is Chinese, although another surge of pandemic outbreak could dampen sentiment.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • Tisco Bank expects non-performing loan ratio to reach 3-3.5 percent of its total outstanding loan this year if there is a third wave of COVID-19 outbreak.  Already, Tisco’s gross NPL ratio is at 2.5 percent at the end of 2020.   Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 19 January 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, total confirmed cases from clusters
17112,594609,356 (at 74.29%)8,357
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field hospital/  quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
33+125 (active case finding) + 13 (entering from Myanmar)13 (in SQ)3,168606 [593 reported by BMA yesterday + 13 by CCSA today]704,107
  • There have been significant developments regarding the COVID vaccine:
    • Deputy PM and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul affirmed the people on the safety of the vaccine that Thai people will get, as there are vaccine committee to evaluate the safety. The head of Public Health Minister said Thai vaccine strategy will be that of voluntary basis and that the approval of vaccine will be for emergency usage, not for commercial purposes.—The Standard
    • Private hospital conglomerates are also eyeing to import COVID vaccine from different companies. It needs to get Food and Drug Administration approval first. Details are as followed:
      • Thonburi Health Care Holdings to import 1 million doses from Chinese Sino Vac to jab health officials (200 thousands) and other patients (800 thousands).
      • Principal Capital to decide on the company to jab health officials (7,000).
      • Vibhavadhi to import 60,000 doses from Moderna, aiming to offer the rate of 6,000 – 10,000 THB per dose.—Krungthep Turakij Reuters
    • Yesterday, the deputy secretary-general of Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informed the public that vaccine developer AstraZeneca has filed its documents for FDA approval. It is expected to take a week for the approval process. The deputy FDA head said if approved, it would help fasten the registration process of domestic AstraZeneca vaccine production organised by Siam Bioscience Co. However, private hospitals cannot import the Astra Zeneca vaccine, as the company indicated that it will supply only to Thai government.—Thai News Agency, Manager
  • After the earlier report by the Immigration Bureau spokesperson that a negative COVID-19 test result will be mandatory for every foreigner who wishes to extend their stay in Thailand, the Immigration Bureau apologised for the misunderstanding and said that it might apply only to certain types of visa, most likely the permanent resident visa.—Khao Sod English

Politics

  • In the other act of defiant against the King, former leader of the defunct Future Forward Party Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit raised the question of conflict of interest in the preferential treatment on SinoVac and AstraZenaca vaccines. Thanathorn said big conglomerate Chareon Pokkaphan (CP) has 15 percent of stocks in the SinoVac production company. As for AstraZeneca vaccine which Thai Siam Bioscience has the sole rights to reproduce the vaccine locally and for export, he said the company owned entirely by King Maha Vajiralongkorn (formerly under Crown Property Bureau). The former party leader popular among younger populations questioned why Siam Bioscience which has been performing in deficit for many years is selected as the sole company to produce the biggest lot to vaccinate Thai population.– Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit The criticism seems to hit the very bull’s eye as authorities have come out to bombard Thanathorn:
    • Public Health senior officials held an ad hoc press conference against Thanathorn’s Facebook Live. The officials condemned Thanathorn of not having accurate and adequate information, citing Siam Bioscience as the sole Thai pharmaceutical company to be able to develop and reproduce the Astra Zeneca viral vector vaccine. Th director of National Vaccine Institute said it is Astra Zeneca that chose Siam Bioscience as its partner, not the government’s calls. On the issue of the company performance (deficit), the director said the company follows the footstep of King Rama IX’s philosophy of “the more we lose, the more we get”: the more the company is doing for the greater good of the people, the more deficit the company is running. On the issue of conflict of interest, the senior health official said even though the pharmaceutical company that was established by King Rama IX had received government budget in producing the vaccine, the company has expressed its intention on giving back all funding as vaccines to Thailand. The permanent-secretary of the Public Health Minister reminded Thai people of the benevolence of the Thai monarchy in providing for Thai people and condemned the critic of tarnishing the well-beloved monarchical institution.—Ministry of Public Health FB Live
    • The PM gave an interview to the media that there is no single vaccine producer that could monopolise the Thai market. He affirmed that Thailand is open to all vaccine producers, not limited to that of Astra Zeneca.–Matichon
    • The PM said in press briefing after weekly cabinet meeting that the criticism is a distortion and he said that the government will prosecute any misinformation on the internet.
    • Deputy PM and Public Health Minister said the critic of the Siam Bio Science knew anything but to be grateful to the monarchy’s benevolence.–Prachachat
  • In an unexpected move, the National Reconciliation Committee introduced by the House Speaker has nominated Thoedpong Chaiyanan, veteran Democrat MP, as the head of the committee set up with the objective to resolve the fresh political conflicts. Mr Thoepong was named the chairperson without any other candidate. The committee is scheduled to meet again next Monday.–Prachachat
    • Earlier it is expected that General Chaicharn, Deputy Defence Minister will be nominated as the chairperson.–Matichon
  • Today the Criminal Court has sentenced a woman to 87 years in jail Tuesday for violating the country’s lese majeste law. The lady was convicted of sharing online a secret recording discussing about the monarch and Thai history. This is, by far, the longest sentencing for the crime under the current administration.—Thai Enquirer

Analysis/opinion

  • International security pundit Associate Professor Dr.Thitinan Pongsudhirak discussed on the new Biden administration and its implication on Thailand. He said Biden administration is Obama 2.0, judging from many familiar faces from Obama administration. The challenge Thai economic sector is to get the connections with both the US and China as the two are decoupling from each other. The international relations pundit regarded Thailand as a minute pawn in international political context. Thai government will face greater stumble from the Biden administration which seems to place priority on human rights and democratic election. He said if Thailand would like to strengthen relations with the US, it needs to be more democratic. The re-enforcement of Article 112 is an unacceptable thing for international community and would, in turn, put pressure on Thai government.–Prachachat

Economic:

Tourism

  • Foreign arrival figures have failed to meet even rock-bottom expectations of Thailand’s Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme, partly because of the lengthy 14-day quarantine mandatory requirement.  Just 346 overseas visitors entered Thailand on average each month on STV since October. That’s well below the government’s target of about 1,200 and a tiny fraction of the more than 3 million who came before the pandemic.  The lack of interest is adding pressure on Thai policymakers, who have struggled to accommodate both industry players calling for relaxed quarantine rules and public-health experts warning against putting its citizens in danger. All the while, as the beaches stay empty, many tourism-related companies are going out of business.  At least 931 registered tourism-related companies closed last year, according to a data from the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Business Development. The real number is probably much higher as many tourism businesses aren’t registered in any database.  Source:  Bloomberg
  • The Tourism Department reported that last year, some 2,598 tour operators returned their licenses and exited the market permanently in 2020.  In fact, deregistration saw the highest record in Q4 last year with 765 companies in total, peaking in December where 293 companies returned their licenses.  Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) concluded that 10 percent of outbound operators have given up their licenses in December and 65-70 percent of outbound agents have closed indefinitely.  TTAA added that the outlook for outbound market is the most difficult to predict because the industry faces high uncertainty.  Source: Bangkok Post

Others

  • The Thai Retailers Association (TRA) reported that its retail index plunged by -12 percent in 2020, which translates into a loss of around 500 billion Baht.  The TRA’s retail index in Q1 of 2021 is expected to continue falling by -7 to -8 percent due to the resurgence in COVID-19 infection.  The retail industry is crucial to the Thai economy, with 1.3 million operators employing 6.2 million people.  The TRA has called for the government to implement 5 measures to minimise the loss of this sector, such as collecting VAT and import tax on e-commerce transactions, which could fetch 300 billion Baht worth of state revenue.  The government should also offer hourly employment; this option would reduce overall redundancies as it allows retailers to manage manpower for peak and off-peak hours.  Through this option, the retail sector could immediately employ 52,000 people.  Sources:  Khao Sod Matichon Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand and Finance Ministry are set to discuss about amending the Soft Loan Royal Decree to enable SMEs to better access loans.  The most important amendment is to waive the requirement that SMEs must be bank customers in order to be eligible the loan, as well as raise the soft loan interest rate from 2 to 5 percent to incentivise commercial banks to extend the soft loans.  A Finance Ministry source speculates that state-owned banks must still play a prominent role in providing the loans to SMEs, as these Soft Loan Royal Decree amendments are not enticing enough for commercial banks to grant the loans.  Of the Bank of Thailand’s 500 billion Baht soft loan offered last year, 120 billion Baht was disbursed to SME borrowers.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • The Federation of Thai Industry anticipates that domestic steel consumption will grow by 5-8 percent this year, fuelled by the government’s infrastructure projects.  This is especially prominent in the EEC area where many construction projects are underway, in addition to the high-speed and electric trains in Bangkok and the periphery areas.  Domestic demand for steel demand in 2021 is expected to surpass last year’s, as delayed construction projects are resuming this year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai-Chinese joint venture company, SAIC Motor-CP, expects domestic sales of its MG car to grow 40 percent YoY to 42,000 units under the expectation of a speedy rollout of COVID-19 vaccination worldwide.  Similarly, the Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motors, reported an all-time high in annual car sales volume, having sold 1.11 million units of vehicles globally in 2020.   Its sales in December 2020 totalled 150,109 vehicles, an increase of 41.6 percent YoY.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 18 January 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, total confirmed cases from clusters
36912,423619,206 (at 74.10%)8,186
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field hospital/  quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
82+275 (active case finding)12 (in SQ)3,147588 [575 reported by BMA yesterday + 13 by CCSA today]703,982
  • After media reports of Cambodia receiving free vaccine from China and the side-effects of vaccine candidates around the globe, the PM came out to assure the people via his FB Page that he has been placing Thai people’s safety beyond the speed of getting vaccine and that he will not allow Thailand to be experimental site of any vaccine. His policy will be to wait until the vaccine candidate is proven to be safe enough to be used with the Thai people.—Thai Rath
  • The developer team of ‘Mor Chana’ COVID tracing application that Thai health authority has been promoting as a step-up measure from ‘Thai Chana’ platform told the media that they are going to detach themselves from the application in two weeks. The ‘Code for Public’ group told the media that their involvement in developing the application is on a voluntary basis and that the reasons they are resigning are first, the pressures and interventions from senior officials (Ministerial, Permanent Secretary and Director-general levels) aiming to get a total control of the application and the second reason is the inaction from a department in elevating the risk level of the confirmed case. The developer team said they feel ‘depressed’ with the so-called senior people in the administration who despite facing an unprecedented crisis such as this, still place the well-being of the taxpayer at last.–Prachachat

Politics

  • The political conflict began to heat up again as
    • On Friday, after protestor guard who was summoned by the police on the lese majeste turned out not to be in the area on the day, protestors who were present to show support replaced national flag with a cloth with the sign 112 defying the royal defamation law on the flag pole in front of the police station.—Thai Post
    • The Police Chief said that the action is highly unacceptable and said the police has been instructed to avoid the use of force as much as possible, but he thinks if necessary, the force must be used. The Police Chief said whatever will be will be and that the police will not desert each other.—Thai Post
    • On Saturday, at the Victory Monument a group of student-led protest gathered to attend a symbolic gesture writing down their feeling on 112 metre-long cloth (Lese majeste is Article 112 of Thai Criminal Code). The police cited violation of Emergency Decree, raid in and apprehended protestors.–Matichon
    • In response, the protestors called for gathering at Sam Yan Intersection and the riot control police went in and apprehend four protestors. A bomb-like sound was heard at around 6.00pm. There were 4 injured.—Thai PBS
    • Deputy Metropolitan Chief gave an interview with a media that now the police has got the CCTV footage of the Thai-Japanese bridge and are investigating on the pipe bomb incident. The police said that at the times the bomb was thrown, most of the motorbikes on the Thai-Japanese bridge are protestors.—Inside Thailand
    • On Sunday, some protestors gathered in front of the Internal Security Operations Command to call for the immediate release of a protestor guard whose last post was ‘Help Me’ and his account was later used by someone who claimed to be from the ISOC. The chat also showed that the alleged user said do not report this to the police or your friend will be disappeared.—Khao Sod
    • ISOC spokesperson said that in the primary probe the ISOC does not have anything to do with this abduction.–Matichon
  • Main Opposition Pheu Thai has shown yet the other sign of intra-party crack as Yutthapong Jarassathian, deputy party leader who is assigned to be the leader of this censure debate has failed to inform other party big names on the meeting on 15 January to submit names of ministers to be grilled in the upcoming no-confidence motion. The Opposition whip, a vocal politician who led the party’s committee on special affairs and MPs who are close to former Chief Strategist Sudarat are reportedly kept out of loop. And other MPs who wish to join the censure debate did not send information to MP Yutthapong for fear that the agenda and name lists will be leaked to the government.—Than Settakij
  • Former Pheu Thai Chief Strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan affirmed again on Sunday as she and her team went to a site visit and help out people in a local community that she will not join Deputy PM Prawit to set up a new political party as many reports indicated. She said that her stance has been to stand up against dictatorship and with the democratic side.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The news on Bangkok Governor is back on bulletin as former Police Chief Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda opened his FB account with more approachable persona. Media reported that there have been 10 potential candidates who are going to run for the gubernatorial seat:
    • Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda- former Police Chief (as main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) candidate; or Independent)
    • Taya Teepasuwan-partner of the Education Minister(as main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) candidate; or Independent)
    • Watanya Wongopasi-PPRP MP (as main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) candidate; or Independent)
    • Sakol Pattayakul-deputy Bangkok governor
    • Chadchart Sittipunt-former Transport Minister (Independent)
    • Sudarat Keyuraphan-former Pheu Thai Chief Strategist (Independent)
    • Ariya Banomyong-former LINE MD and Chanel 3 TV (Kao Klai Party)
    • Rosana Tositrakul-former Senator (Independent)
    • Tom Kruesopon-businessman and political lobbyist (Independent)
    • Suchatchavee Suwansawas-Recotr of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (Independent)—Krungthep Turakij

Analysis/opinion

  • In relation to Chaktip’s intention to run for the Bangkok Governor:
    • It is reported that Pol Gen Chaktip was selected by Deputy PM Prawit to be the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) candidate. However, the Pol Gen has been facing opposition from the ‘Bangkok faction’ in the party, led by Education Minister and Digital Economy Minister who are eyeing to file Taya Teepasuwan (partner to the Education Minister) for the gubernatorial seat.—Inside Thailand
    • The same information is reported in the other media saying the ‘Bangkok faction’ of the party does not feel at ease with DPM Prawit’s decision. However, it is with a high possibility that the Pol gen might run as an independent, considering the legal complications as former Police Chief and Senator. Should the PPRP does not file any candidate, it is a battle between Chaktip and Taya and a big loss for the main ruling party.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

  • The Thai government’s plan to spend 1.2 billion Baht to purchase 2 million doses of CoronaVac; the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Chinese company Sinovac has raised eyebrows.  This is because Thailand’s conglomerate CP Group recentlyacquired a 15 percent share in Sinovac through its Hong-Kong based pharmaceutical arm, Sino Biophamaceutical.  A source from CP Group dismissed the speculation that CoronaVac could have control the Thai market in the future, contendingthat the Thai government is purchasing a small number of CoronaVac compared with other countries.  The source also said CP Group’s 15 percent share acquisition makes it only a minority shareholder and that the move is likely to be for investment purpose.  The Office of the Trade Competition Commission reiterated it is following this deal closely because details of the acquisition is not publicly disclosed.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand has yet to release its official revised GDP forecast for 2021 following the resurgence of COVID-19, but had made projections based on 3 scenarios.  In the first scenario, GDP is likely to grow by 1.7 – 2.2 percent if the outbreak is contained in 2 months through the current measures and partial lockdown.  In the second scenario, GDP would see a 0.7 – 1.2 percent growth if a nationwide lockdown is imposed.  In the worst-case scenario, GDP growth could range from -0.8 to 0.2 percent if the government implements more stringent measures coupled with a nationwide lockdown.  These forecasts are a departure from the central bank’s original estimation of a 3.2 percent GDP growth for 2021.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • DPM and Energy Supattanapong asserted that the fresh wave of pandemic infection will affect Thailand’s economic growth in Q1 of 2021.  However, he is optimistic that annual GDP growth would remain at 4 percent in accordance with NESDC’s forecast last year, because the vaccine will be rolled out and international tourists start to return in April.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • Thai Rice Exporters Association expects rice export will reach 6.5 million tonnes at best in 2021; up from its original forecast of 5.8 million tonnes which would have marked the lowest figure in 20 years.   The gloomy forecast is the result of low domestic rice production that further pushed up the price of Thai rice in the international market, consumers opting to buy cheaper rice such as those from India and the problem of shipping container shortage.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Ministry of Industry (MoI) aims to launch a new soft loan programme for SMEs this week through its SME D Bank.  Businesses are split into 3 groups based on the level of assistance needed, the first group being the petroleum and jet oil industry that are seriously affected, with growth expected to decline by 10-15 percent from 2020.  The second group is are steel, automotive, canned food and fashion that is estimated to grow by 0.5 – 1 percent.  The last group comprises the best performers, namely the home appliances, electronic and medical products that are anticipated to grow by 5-10 percent.  Last year, SME D Bank had allocated 40 billion Baht in soft loan to SMEs.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 15 January 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, total confirmed cases from clusters
18811,450608,288 (at 72.38%)7,213
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field hospital/  quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding among migrant workers
81+73 (active case finding among migrant workers) + 13 (entering from Myanmar)13 (in SQ)3,093553 [526 reported by BMA yesterday + 27 by CCSA today]69 (+0)3,260
  • The Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin assured the people on the reports that some of the vaccine to be brought into Thailand does not have satisfactory effectiveness by saying that he will be the first person to be vaccinated.—PPTV
  • In a bid to resolve the issues which caused the new wave of COVID surge in the Kingdom, the PM has ordered the establishment of two probe committees on gambling dens and illicit entries of people from neighbouring countries. There is, however, no timeframe for the committee to report its finding.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The Opposition is set to file the censure motion within today. The secretary-general of the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party said he got a request from the secretary to the House Speaker to file the motion within the third week of January, a week ahead from the early plan. The sec-gen of the party did not reveal who will be grilled in the motion.—Thai Rath
  • More development regarding Article 112:
    • After a police apprehended Sirichai “New” Natueng, a university student by the police inside the university on lese majeste charge, he got released on bail and was apprehended again.—Prachachat
    • The lawyer of the student said to Reuters that the charge was placed for defacing the King’s portrait.—Reuters
    • Within less than 24 hours after the police apprehended  Sirichai, the police call Chayaphol ‘Dave’ Danothai to acknowledge the lese majeste charge. The police charge Dave on the same case New is being alleged. 
    • The issue is that Dave is in Hat Yai and was not in the area where the police said he was guilty of. The 2nd year university student is scheduled to report himself to the police today.—The Standard
    • After reporting to the police, it turned out that Dave did not have any summon or arrest warrant. The police called Dave in as witness.—Daily News
    • The Royal Thai Police spokesperson said that 
    • Second largest opposition Kao Klai party is set to file a draft to amend Article 112 in the next Parliamentary session. The secretary-general of the party said that the fresh introduction of the article has charged more than 40 people, including two minors. This would, according to the Party, jeopardise the monarch-people relations in a democratic society.—Thai Rath
  • South Korean-based May 18 Memorial Foundation for human rights has officially announced Anon Nampa, human rights lawyer and one of the protest main figures, as the winner of its annual prize given to the human rights-related activists around the world. Anon received the 2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR) for his continual fight for injustice and human rights. —Matichon
  • The royalist ‘Thai Bhakdhi’ Group is set to set up its political party, apparently named ‘Thai Bhakdhi Party’. Media reports that the secretary-general of the royalist political movement has registered the name with the Election Comission’s party registrar. The movement needs to have 500 members and one million THB initial fund to establish a party.—Krungthep Turakij
  • After a rumour that former Pheu Thai chief strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan will join hands with the ruling generals to set up a new political party, this morning the former Public Health Minister posted on her social media underlining her stance in not giving in to dictatorship. She said since the Bloody May incident in 1992, she has always been fighting against dictatorship and will not make herself a stepping stone for dictator to extend their tenures.—Sudarat Keyuraphan
    • The rumour has it that in the next election, there will be no main ruling Palang Pracharat Party as it is the nature of such ad hoc party creating merely to extend the tenure of coup makers. The spotlight is now on Deputy PM Gen Prawit and Sudarat who is setting up a new political party after she left Pheu Thai. It is reported that General A. who is very close to Get Prawit has a close connection to Group Captain N. who is a close aide to Sudarat.—Natethip 
    • The editor of a political magazine revealed that General N. is General Noppadol Inthapanya and Group Captain A. is Anudith Nakornthap. Gen Noppadol’s wife is sister to Anudith’s wife.—Thanapol Eawsakul

Analysis/opinion

  • An online magazine popular among people in their 20s-mid 30s has listed the international community engagements with the recent student-led protests. The ‘Ten for Ten’ press conference on 14 November was put into the political struggle of the protestors. The article said the press conference with Ambassadors of Australia, Britain, Germany, Japan and the US on recommending Thailand to boost its trade and investment performance, though sound apolitical, is unprecedented from traditional diplomatic protocol. The article went on to portray how US pressured Thailand even more via American Senate support for democratic struggle in Thailand.—Way Magazine
  • The upcoming municipal election in Nonthaburi will be a battle field between the Progressive Movement and freshly resigned former Pheu Thai Chief Strategist Sudarat. In the latest PAO executives election , though Progressive movement lost the election, it was a close gap. After the Progressive Movement announced that it will have the names for the city mayor, the current mayor, who has long-standing ties with Sudarat, swiftly announced an unprecedented initiative in using local budget to supply vaccine for the locals. The current mayor of Nonthaburi city said he got the idea from Sudarat, the former Public Health Minister herself.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Media interviewed the current Bangkok Governor Pol Gen Asawin who was appointed by the junta under the supreme laws Article 44 whether he eyes to run for the gubernatorial seat. He replied by saying that does the media want him to run? The governor election has not been announced yet but he is keeping himself fit for the run. When asked whether he will send his son who is currently serving as the BMA spokesperson to run, he said his son is not at the minimum age required for the position. The current governor revealed that the former Police Chief Pol Gen Chaktip has made a call to him asking whether Pol Gen Asawin will run, the current governor said he has not made up his mind.—Thai Rath Inside ThailandBangkok Post
  • For the former Nation TV big fans, the familiar faces are returning on air from 1 February as the hardline right wing anchors who left the TV channel late last year due to restructuring have finally settled on their new platform. The Top TV will be broadcasting on satellite channel 77 and on online platforms (Facebook and You Tube). The group of anchors said they discussed with Digital TV Channel 18 (owned by Daily News newspapers) and PPTV but could not cut the deal.—Thai Post Isranews AgencyNew Na

Australia

  • A veteran media Sondhi Limthongkul tried to make connection between the prisoner transfer of Australian national from Iran back to Australia with the Akra Mining Arbitrary. Sodhi said in the international deal that Iran sent an Australian national back to Australia and Thailand sent two Iranians back to Iran, what did Australia give to Thailand in order to make the deal happen? After seeing a report quoting a source in the Government House that the case will likely be resolved by Australian Akra mining withdrew the arbitrary case against the Thai government, Sondhi said the mystery is solved. The settlement of the arbitrary is the final puzzle in the deal. He also added that the mastermind of the deal is Syedsulaiman Husaini who is the leader of Sunni in ASEAN and Thailand who arranged the deal with two Thais and coordinate with Australian authority.–Sondhi Talk (from 5.09 min-14.00 min)

Economic:

Akara Mine

  • Local authorities are trying to convince civic groups in Chantaburi province to allow Richphoom Mining company to explore gold and silver in the province.  Richphoom Mining, a subsidiary of Akara Resources and Kingsgate Consolidate Ltd, last year applied for a special licence to explore gold and silver in Chantaburi, only to meet strong opposition from civic groups.  Local authorities reasoned that Richphoom should be granted the exploration license because it does not cause any damages to the environment.  An insider source observed that the government’s support to issue the exploration license to Richphoom coincides with Kingsgate’s negotiation with Thai government regarding Akara Mine as part of the TAFTA arbitration process.  It remains unclear if Kingsgate will drop the charges against Thailand this month, but negotiations between both sides to reach an agreement seem to be progressing well, according to the same insider source.  Sources:  Prachachat Turakij Matichon  Weekly

Tourism

  • The Thai government approved 6 golf resorts, including those located in Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces, where foreign arrivals can enjoy the game and roam within the resort premises as they undergo the 2-week mandatory quarantine.  The golf quarantine is the latest effort by Thai authorities to lure foreign travellers amid a new wave of Covid-19 infections after earlier offers of special long-stay visas evoked a lukewarm response.  Tourists planning trips to Thailand will need visas, medical and travel insurance and a certificate of entry.  The pandemic has devastated Thailand’s tourism industry, which netted more than 60 billion USD in revenue from about 40 million visitors in 2019 and accounted for about a fifth of the nation’s GDP.  Source:  Bloomberg
  • Tourism and Sport Ministry said each foreign visitor will be charged a tourism fee of 10 USD (300 Baht) per visit.  This is in line with the revised National Tourism Policy Act, which authorises the ministry to impose tourism fee for use in developing local destinations and providing insurance coverage for foreign tourists.  Implementation will begin after the announcement is published in The Royal Gazette.  Tourism Ministry forecasts Thailand had welcomed 6.7 million international tourists in 2020 and projected 10 million foreign arrivals for this year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • With the resurgence of COVID-19 slowing down hotel bookings, hoteliers are delaying their decisions to join or renew the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ)/Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) program.  Public Health Ministry has yet to provide concrete guidelines for hotels to withdraw from the program, or to reactivate their ASQ or ALQ status.  The ASQ-ALQ Club of Thailand reported that overall occupancy rate for ASQ hotels this month had dropped by 30 percent to 6,000 -7,000 rooms per day from its peak of 9,500 rooms in December.  The tepid response is expected to continue until February, with a 30-40 percent decline in forward bookings.  Source:  Bangkok Post

US-China Trade War

  • The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) expects the US’s decision to impose anti-dumping duties (AD) on car tyres exported from Thailand to severely impact the Thai automotive and agricultural sectors.  FTI said the AD, which is set at 13.25– 22.21 percent, stems from the US-China Trade War.  Following the trade war, many Chinese tyre companies have moved here to use Thailand as their new production base.  Of the 7-8 tyre factories operating in the EEC, 5 have relocated from China. The AD will also affect the demand for rubber latex; a raw material used in the tyre production.  Kasikorn Research Centre notes that the strongest impact felt in export of small pickups as the AD will make Thai tyres less competitive than those from Indonesia, Vietnam and Canada.  The US is also the largest exporting market for Thai tyre.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Board of Investment (BOI) expects Thailand’s automobile industry to continue growing after 2 automakers from China, GM and Great Wall, have decided to invest in Thailand with the goal of making the country their production bases.  BOI anticipates that a few more Chinese auto-component manufacturers will also begin investing in Thailand.  This corresponds well with BOI’s scheme to lure FDI in a bid to make Thailand the production hub of EV and plug-in hybrid cars.  Most recently, Great Wall Motor had embarked on a campaign to promote EVs by conducting a survey with the local National Institute of Development Institution (NIDA) on Thai motorists’ perceptions of the technology.  Sources:  TNN Thailand Bangkok Post

Others

  • University of Thai Chamber of Commerce’s (UTCC) studies reveals that Thai exports could grow by 3.6 percent with a total value of 237 billion USD if COVID-19 vaccine has enough supply to cover 40 percent of the world population this year; oil price is high and RCEP is enforced.  If the vaccine is not available this year, Thai exports could shrink by 0.81 percent to value at 227 billion USD.  Another major risk is the shortage of shipping containers, which could cause Thai export to shrink by 2.2 percent as logistics cause will soar by 3-5 times.  UTCC called for the government establish a fund to ease shipping cost burden for exporters and negotiate to secure more containers to Thailand.  UTCC is also monitoring the policies of incoming US President Joe Biden on Thai trade, as well as the implementation of EU-Vietnam FTA and CPTPP.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 14 January 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 18 Dec, total confirmed cases from clusters
27111,262607,660 (at 68.02%)6,602
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field hospital/  quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding among migrant workers
78+181 (active case finding among migrant workers) + 1 (entering from Malaysia)11 (in SQ)3,533526 [512 reported by BMA yesterday (*BMA changed the number) + 14 by CCSA today]69 (+2 a British national from London arrived Thailand on 5 December; and a Thai national with Diabetes)3,187

Politics

  • Yesterday, there have been some developments on Article 112 lese majeste:
    • Late last night, the police raid into Thammasat University and apprehend ‘New Sirichai’ a 1st year student for violating Article 112. After being told that the student will be transferred to the border patrol police camp, the police told the other protest main figures that he is being held at Long Luang Police Station.—ThaiPBS
    • The Samut Prakarn trial court dismissed the lese majeste and sedition allegations against a person who posted comment in relation to King Rama IX’s dog pet and the alleged corruption plan of the Rajabhakdhi Park. Mr Tanakorn posted a comment saying “feeling very grateful seeing the comments” in a post related to the former King’s pet. The court saw this phrase does not indicate merely a sarcastic intent against the pet, so the case is dismissed.—Prachatai
    • Up until yesterday, iLaw listed the number of people who got charges in the fresh reintroduction of Article 112 is as high as 45 people, including two minors. The full list cane be viewed at iLaw’s.
  • Media interviewed the current Bangkok Governor Pol Gen Asawin who was appointed by the junta under the supreme laws Article 44 whether he eyes to run for the gubernatorial seat. He replied by saying that does the media want him to run? The governor election has not been announced yet but he is keeping himself fit for the run. When asked whether he will send his son who is currently serving as the BMA spokesperson to run, he said his son is not at the minimum age required for the position. The current governor revealed that the former Police Chief Pol Gen Chaktip has made a call to him asking whether Pol Gen Asawin will run, the current governor said he has not made up his mind.—Thai Rath Inside Thailand, Bangkok Post
  • For the former Nation TV big fans, the familiar faces are returning on air from 1 February as the hardline right wing anchors who left the TV channel late last year due to restructuring have finally settled on their new platform. The Top TV will be broadcasting on satellite channel 77 and on online platforms (Facebook and You Tube). The group of anchors said they discussed with Digital TV Channel 18 (owned by Daily News newspapers) and PPTV but could not cut the deal.—Thai Post Isranews Agency, New Na

Economic:

  • The government plans to continue retaining its price control on 55 products and services.  Among them are items used to combat COVID-19, such as sanitary face masks, polypropylene (spundbond) used in the production of face masks, alcohol for hand sanitizer and recyclable paper.  Originally set to expire on 3 February, the price-control of these 4 items will be renewed for another year, subjected to the cabinet’s approval next week.  Source:  Thai Rath  Bangkok Post
  • Similarly to last year’s 5,000 Baht cash-handout financial assistance scheme, the soon-to-be-implemented 3,500 Baht handout under the government project ‘Rao Chana’ will be given to applicants based on the amount of income reported in their savings account.  For example, high-earning freelancers will be disqualified, whereas informal workers with low income will be eligible.  Other ineligible groups are the civil servants and formal workers entitled by compensation from Social Security Fund.  The criteria will be finalised at the cabinet’s meeting next Tuesday.  TDRI reprimanded the government’s blanket approach; instead urging it to provide cash to those who need it most, at a higher amount and for a longer period of time.
  • Finance Ministry reported that Phase 2 of the ‘Khon La Krueng’ government co-payment subsidy program is used by 12.1 million people, with spending totalling 53.4 billion Baht, of which 27.3 billion Baht is spending by the consumers and 26.1 billion is the government’s subsidy.  The cabinet will take this into account when considering whether or not to extend the third phase of the scheme.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The state-own Krungthai Bank has revised down its forecast for Thailand’s 2021 GDP; from a growth of 3.5 to 2.5 percent on the condition that the pandemic outbreak is contained in 2 months.  Under this scenario, domestic tourism is estimated to decline to 109.6 million trips, thereby incurring a loss of 110 billion Baht in tourism revenue and causing consumer spending to crease by 167 billion Baht.  If the pandemic takes 3 months (Jan- March) to control, GDP will expand by 2 percent, with  domestic tourism totalling 100 million trips, leading to a loss of 150 billion Baht in tourism revenue and a drop of 239 billion Baht in consumer spending.  If the government’s latest aid package is not implemented, GDP could plunge to 1.5-percent growth.
  • TMB Bank estimated that nationwide, the resurgence of COVID-19 will cause revenue from trade and tourism to decline by 140 billion Baht, since both sectors constitute 22 percent of GDP and employ 6.9 million people.  TMB Bank suggests the government aids the affected people in accordance with the magnitude of impacts in their specific areas.  For example, the Bangkok economy is 33 percent dependent on trade and tourism, thereby it is expected to suffer the highest loss in revenue of 81.4 billion Baht.  Next is Chonburi, with revenue expected to fall by 15.5 billion Baht and Phuket by 2.8 billion Baht.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post
  • The Association of Domestic Travel (ADT) said the government’s domestic tourism goal of 200 million trips this year is achievable, if the outbreak is contained in 2 months and the government provides more support through stimulus packages.  ADT proposed a new idea for a co-payment domestic tour programme, with the government subsidising 50 percent of tour packages, capped at 3,000 Baht for 2 million packages.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The government will rev up promotion of the Bio, Circular and Green (BCG) economy to drive economic growth from 2021-2026.  PM Prayut had approved a 5-year strategic plan to promote BCG and identified four target sectors, namely farm and food; healthcare and medical services; energy and biochemicals; and tourism and creative economy.  The government will work with the Board of Investment to adjust privileges to attract foreign investment.  Source:  Bangkok Post

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