Advance Blog

May 1, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headline summary as of 1st May 2020

News

  • The National Hazardous Substance Committee (NHSC) chaired by the Industry Minister Suriya, is standing by its scheduled ban on the agriculture chemical paraquat and pesticide chlorpyrifos and restrict use of glyphosate instead of banning it, despite the request from the Thai Chamber of Commerce to postpone the ban to 31 December 2020, citing the effect of COVID-19 on agricultural-economic sectors.—all media outlet, Bangkok Post

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today, Thailand reports six newly confirmed cases, a total of 2,960 cases. The total death toll is at 54.
  • Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) laid out easing measure to reopen 6 types of businesses / activities starting from 3 May.
  • The permanent secretary for the interior said nationwide alcohol sales ban due to end on Thursday has been extended until May 31.
  • Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan on Thursday confirmed that the reopening of all state schools for the new academic year will take place on July 1. The Minister said the health screening should be set up for the safety of students.
  • The government has announced guidelines (Passengers must wear face masks at all times — from boarding to disembarking. If they fail to wear them at check-ins and cannot get one, they will not be allowed to fly. They may not eat or drink anything on board.) on domestic air travel scheduled to resume on Friday.
  • Suicide attempts appeared to have increased in Thailand since the COVID-19 outbreak.–ThisRupt

Politics

  • Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been named as the host of funeral rites for a young security guard who hanged herself after posting a drawing of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha online and making complaints about hardships under his regime. Khaosod Online reported that Kongkrit Hongwilai, a former Pheu Thai MP for Prachin Buri, had written Thaksin’s name on a whiteboard as the host of her funeral rites scheduled to be held today.—all media outlet

Business:

Phase III Stimulus Package

  • DPM Somkid said local economy stimulus should be the focus to resurrect the Thai economy.  As such, Thailand needs to inject 400 billion Baht on economic and social rehabilitation projects by June, given that export and tourism are likely to remain slow until early next year.  Measures to rehabilitate the grassroot economy are slated to be implemented from May to September. DPM Somkid has assigned the NESDC to draw up criteria for development projects, which will be presented to the cabinet this month. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1910800/b400bn-necessary-for-rehabilitation
  • Bank of Thailand asserted that Thailand’s recovery could take the W-shape if there is a second wave of Covid19 outbreak.  A V-shaped or U-shaped recovery is also possible depending on foreign tourist arrivals and the global economy, however, tourist arrivals and cross-border transport are unlikely to return to normalcy soon. 
  • BOT added that Thailand’s economic contraction deepened in March and that headline inflation plunged into negative territory for the first time since June 2017.  Only public spending grew for the first time in five months in March, thanks to budget disbursement. Economic growth may shrink in Q1, but contraction will worsen in Q2.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1910752/bot-outlines-possible-recovery-paths
  • From 1 May onwards, people who by mistake cancelled their applications for the 5,000 Baht cash-handout can now appeal via the online system to have their applications re-considered.
  • The Ministry of Finance had set up reception tables for people to file complaints about the cash-handout.  This is in response to the increasing number of people who had shown up at the Finance Ministry to vent their dissatisfaction at the cash payment in various forms – from drinking rat poison and threatening to commit suicide to climbing the MoF gate. Source:  https://www.nationtv.tv/main/content/378773914/?qj&fbclid=IwAR2hzY9yTwlnQ-igD29dFF8bGtXkeiNdHRjqCnsvkUVHePuIJrbpvk42hEs

Aviation

Others

  • The Thai Steel Industry Association filed a petition for the government to roll out measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic outbreak on the domestic steel industry.  Demand for steel products fell significantly in Q1, with demand from China plunging by 36 percent or 70 million tonnes.  China has been boosting its steel export by increasing tax refund, which decreases the price of Chinese steel.  Therefore, there is concern that Chinese steel products will be dumped in Thailand; the third largest market for Chinese steel export in 2019. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1910792/steel-group-files-for-outbreak-support
  • Condo investment buyers are scooping up ready-to-transfer units at discount prices and speculating to reap capital gains over the next two years as the pandemic fades.  This is because this month, top property developers are offering tremendous discounts, up to 62 percent, to drain condo stock and get cash before the economic outlook worsens.  More than half of the buyers were investors. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1910988/investment-buyers-flock-back-to-condo-market

Australia

  • Ambassador’s interview with Matichon Weekly (the last episode) is published in print (see attached). This last edition is on royal family relations with Australia.
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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