Advance Blog

June 10, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 10 June 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,310 (102  from prisons)187,5381,295/ 359139,287158,6753,966,097(+3,966,097)AZ: 231,428SN: 62,2915.99% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,170 [1,467 (get tested in hospital) + 703 (active case finding)]38 (in SQ)46,876 [28,549 in field hospital]50,461 (+788)1,375 (+45)5,443,743 (+472,128)8.22% of the population1,477,653 (+42,955)AZ: 5,502SN: 37,4532.23% of the population

Politics

•             The House just casted a vote on the loan decree. The government won with 270 votes against the 196 votes by the Opposition.—all media outlet

•             Yesterday was the first day the House deliberated on the 500 billion THB loan decree aimed at revitalised the economy. There have been various developments:

*    The Finance Minister clarified to the House that the former 1 trillion THB loan has almost been depleted. The Minister said that according to IMF, the debt-to-GDP ratio is around 50.69 percent and within the framework allowed.—Krungthep Turakij

*    Last evening, the Opposition Move Forward Party requested the PM to attend the House deliberation and threatened to call for a headcount. The PM later attended the House before 6pm.—Krungthep Turakij

*    A Move Forward MP questioned the rationale of the budget to ‘revitalise the economy’ with a Royal project ‘Kok Nong Na’ model which poured the four billion THB budget to 157 military barracks.—BBC Thai

•             The coalition is going to file their constitutional amendment proposals within this House session:

*    Three minor coalition parties (Bhumjaithai, Democrat and Chatthai Pattana parties) plan to submit their proposals of charter rejig to the House speaker after the government have a discussion on this mid-next week. The highlights of the proposal is to strip the NCPO hand-picked senators of power to join the lower chamber in voting the PM; and to abolish the Mixed-Member Apportionment (MMA) system and return to first-past-the-post and party-list systems.—Inside Thailand

*    The main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) is aiming to file its proposal to amend the electoral systems to be that of first-past-the-post and party-list systems. The MP and Deputy head of PPRP said that the party is against the three coalition parties proposal to amend Article 272 (Senate power to join the lower house in voting for the PM).

Analysis/opinion

•   Krungthep Turakij outlined five potential timelines for the House Dissolution which the tenure is until 23 March 2023. The five timelines include:

1.  House Dissolution at late 2021 or around November to December, considering the passage of 2021 budget into coalition parties constituencies;

2.  House Dissolution at early 2022 which the PM and government will encounter the other round of censure debate which would affect the government popularity.

3.  Mid 2022 after the pandemic is completely curbed, having the positive impacts for the government popularity due to the kick-off of the government projects and civil servant reshuffles.

4.  Late 2022 is the ‘golden time’ for the PM and the government to dissolve the Parliament considering all economic engines have resumed to its full powers. Yet, the intra-coalition conflicts might not make the timeline possible.

5.  Early 2023 will fulfil the dream of a government which could be in power in full House term, which only former PM Thaksin had the record.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

CPTPP       

  • The Thailand Consumer Council continued to voice its objection towards Thailand joining CPTPP.  It reasoned that Commerce Ministry’s previous studies which showed Thailand would benefit from foreign direct investment and economic expansion by acceding to CPTPP are inaccurate.  Rather, it cited a study by the Thai Pharmacy Council in March 2021 that estimated CPTPP could cost Thailand’s pharmaceutical and public health system up to 420 billion Baht in 30 years.  In particular, it would force Thailand to import more pharmaceutical products.  In the process, this would reduce the value of domestically manufactured pharmaceutical industry by 100 billion Baht.  To this end, the TCC is asking the government to slow down its letter of intent to accede to CPTPP.  Sources:  Thansettakij  Thai Post newspaper, 9 June 2021

Tourism

  • The Tourism and Sports Ministry (MOST) said the requirement for inoculated foreign tourists to stay in Phuket for 14 days instead of 7 days will reduce inbound arrivals in July by half from its original target of 29,700 visitors.  If there is no infection in the first month of the reopening, the requirement could be reduced to 7 days, which will ensure arrival figures will reach 129,000 during July – September as targeted by MOST.  In July, tourists from the US and British navy personnel are slated to visit the island. 
  • MOST said some 5 tourism-related associations are seeking a meeting with DPM Supattanapong and Finance Minister Akhom to ask that 500 billion Baht be allocated from the 1 trillion Baht loan to establish a tourism rehabilitation fund.  The fund would provide loans to tourism operators under special conditions.  Sources:  Bangkok Post   Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 10 June 2021
  • Phuket is seeking funds and technical support from the government to develop a mobile application to track tourists visiting the island from July under the Phuket Sandbox tourism reopening scheme.  The app will set up a system to deal with future pandemic outbreaks.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) anticipated that Thailand’s 2021 GDP will grow by 0.5-2 percent and export by 5-7 percent.  Additionally, the Thai Bankers Association (TBA) made 3 proposals to the government

1) speed up the vaccination pace and reopeg the various provinces to international tourists through the sandbox model on time.  If achieved, this will enable to the Thai economy to pick up in Q4 of this year; earlier than its original forecast of Q1 2022. 

2) raise the amount of cash-handout through the upcoming Khon La Krueng scheme from 3,000 Baht to 6,000 Baht per person to bolster domestic consumption in Q2-Q3.  This could generate 1.8 trillion Baht for the Thai economy

3) TBA will work with Bank of Thailand to adjust the conditions of BOT’s asset warehousing scheme to broaden its accessibility to SMEs and rein in NPLs.  Sources:   Naew Na Bangkok Post

  • The Federation of Thai Industries has urged factories to adopt stricter measures against COVID-19 outbreak amid growing concern over more factory shutdowns and their impact on exports and supply chains.  To date, some 7,100 workers in 132 factories have been infected in several provinces comprising Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Pathm Thani, Ayutthaya, Saraburi and Songkhla.  Uncontrolled outbreaks could lead to temporary factory closure, which will affect export.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Commerce Ministry has rolled out an online system for entrepreneurs to apply for permission to move 9 imported agricultural products within the country.  The 9 products are garlic, onion, palm oil, fresh cassava & cassava chips, maize, mature coconut, white coconut & dried coconut meat, paddy rice wheat and barley.  Registration can be done through the website https://transport.dit.go.th/ca Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry is studying ways to impose corporate income tax on overseas multinational (MNC) online companies offering services in Thailand.  The move follows the recent agreement of the G7 finance ministers to charge a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent on MNCs.  Starting from 1 September 2021, overseas businesses providing online services in Thailand will be required to register for a 7 percent VAT liability if their annual income exceeds 1.8 million Baht.  Source:  Bangkok Post   Krungthep Turakij
  • Bank of Thailand (BOT) proposed 3 options, comprising debt restructuring, debt haircut and limiting new loan creation in a bid to control post-pandemic household debt level.  BOT projected that Thailand’s household debt could rise to 92.8 percent in the next 4 years, but if the situation is brought under control quickly enough, the debt could be curbed to 79 percent of GDP.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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