Advance Blog

May 20, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headline summary as of 20th May 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today Thailand reports 1 newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,034 cases. Out of the total number, 2,888 have been discharged from hospital; 90 are being hospitalised. The death toll is still at 56. 
  • The Department of Livestock Development (DLD) said it is ready to ramp up vaccinations for African Horse Sickness (AHS) in at-risk zones, including parts of Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, to curb the spread of the disease, which has killed 543 horses.—Bangkok Post, Daily News, Matichon

Politics

  • Media quotes key members in the government saying that the “Fantastic4” group (Finance Minister Uttama, Energy Minister Sondhirat, Higher Education Minister Suvit and Assistant Secretary to the PMO Kobsak) met with main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) MP Watanya and a telecommunication tycoon at Hansar Hotel to discuss the possibility of establishing a new party “สร้างไทย (Construct Thailand)”. The group under Deputy PM Somkid (Fantastic4) wing is reportedly in conflict with Deputy PM Prawit wing over PPRP chief positions.—Thai Post, Kom Chad Leuk
  • PM Prayut issued an order to reinstate Whichai Pochanakij as Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade. He was transferred on in mid-March over allegations of hoarding face masks. He had tried to resign the day after he was transferred to the Office of Prime Minister but his resignation was rejected by Commerce Minister Jurin.

Business:

Cabinet’s Decisions, 19 May

  • Thai Airways will file for bankruptcy with courts in Thailand and the US, where 35 percent of the airline’s creditors are located.  The court-dictated rehabilitation will reduce Finance Ministry’s majority stake in the airline to below 50 percent and end its state enterprise status.  The bankruptcy court will also appoint professionals to execute the rehab plan.  The original rehab plan where Finance Ministry would guarantee a 54-billion Baht loan to the airline is scrapped.  PM Prayut reasoned that the money should be spent on Covid19 relief measures.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1920900/cabinet-gives-nod-to-thai-rehab
  • The National 5G Committee was established with 26 members, conceived to promote roadmap for 5G adoption and infrastructure development.  PM Prayut is the chairman, with DPMs Somkid, Prawit and Wissanu serving as the deputy chairmen.   Perm Sec of Digital Economy and Society Ministry is the Director and Secretary.  The objective of the committee is to.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1920976/national-5g-committee-welcomes-26-members
  • Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 of the Personal Data Protection Act is postponed by a year to give the private sector time to prepare and ease their financial burden during the pandemic outbreak.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1920972/most-parts-of-pdpa-to-be-deferred-by-a-year

CPTPP

  • DPM and Commerce Minister Jurin dismissed the rumour that CPTPP was submitted for the cabinet’s consideration yesterday, adding that the issue of conflicting public opinions on Thailand joining the CPTPP has not been resolved.   However, rumours surfaced that DPM Somkid ordered for CPTPP to be tabled for the cabinet’s consideration yesterday, but the DPM did not show up at the last minute as he was feeling ill.  Meanwhile, Bangkok Post reported that PM Prayut himself had commanded for CPTPP to be submitted to the cabinet, and that it was discussed – not at the formal meeting but at the sideline.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1920956/jurin-preps-ministers-for-cptpp-talkshttps://www.thansettakij.com/content/politics/435042Others

Others

  • The merger & acquisition (M&A) trend will become prevalent in Q2 as companies begin to divest their non-core businesses to maintain their liquidity in the wake of the pandemic outbreak .  Other companies will sell their assets or businesses at low value as they go bankrupt.
  • Both Thai companies and foreign funds with sound financial status are seeking opportunities to buy these businesses.  KTB Securities is facilitating multiple M&A deals in the food, logistics and medical sectors.  CIMB projects that M&A will be most evident in the hotel sector, given that tourism is one of the first and most severely affected industries.
  • In the past month, SMEs are selling/pawning their land, houses, apartments, hotels and offices with values ranging from 10 to 300 million Baht through real estate agents and brokers.  This phenomenon indicates that small-scale entrepreneurs are in need of short-term cash flow.  Source:  https://www.prachachat.net/property/news-464786
  •  Thai Hotels Association is urging SME operators to enroll with the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Safety and Health Administration (SHA).  TAT is opening registration system to 10 hospitality business types, such as restaurants, hotels, transport, travel agencies, among others.  The operators that complete the SHA checklist will receive a certificate from the TAT after it is audited by the tourism association.  The focus is to ensure operators endorse a new set of safety and hygiene standards as tourism recovers.  TAT plans to support SMEs to adopt SHA by offering incentives for additional costs from new hygiene equipment investment.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1921028/hotels-called-to-hygiene-squad
  • While Thailand’s egg export ban was lifted at the end of May, there is currently an oversupply of 100 million eggs in the domestic market.  This is the result of major importers such as Hong Kong and Singapore switching to import eggs from elsewhere during the period when it could not export from Thailand.  Egg is now priced at 2.40 Baht per piece, whereas the cost for farmers is soaring due to the drought.  Egg farmers are seeking assistance from the Egg Board under Ministry of Commerce.  Source:https://www.thansettakij.com/content/Macro_econ/435073

Australia

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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