Advance Blog

April 23, 2020
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Headline summary as of 23rd April 2020

News

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • As of today, the total number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 2,839  —   2,430 have recovered and been discharged, and there have been 50 deaths. Thailand had its best day in weeks battling Covid-19 with only 13 confirmed cases being reported over a 24-hour period, while one patient died.
  • Ministry of Public Health has issued a new announcement, defining five more countries including Malaysia, Cambodia, Lao, Indonesia, and Myanmar as dangerous communicable disease areas for Covid-19. It is in effect from 23 April onwards  —  All media outlet
  • The border checkpoint in Sadao district of Songkhla was temporarily closed at noon on Wednesday after two immigration police officers were found to have been infected with Covid-19  — Bangkok Post
  • About 10,000 foreign tourists were left stranded on three islands of Surat Thani, including about 5,700 on Koh Samui, 3,300 on Koh Phangan and 1,000 on Koh Tao when passenger flights were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. – Bangkok Post
  • First human trials of a Covid19 vaccine in Thailand are expected to begin within the next four months  — Bangkok Post

Politics

  • The army will delay its 4.5 billion baht procurement of a second batch of 50 US-made Stryker armoured infantry carriers to the next fiscal year as part of the Defence Ministry’s 18 billion baht budget cut to help the Covid-19 outbreak fight  — Matichon, Thai Rath, Naew Na, Daily News
  • Opposition parties are seeking an extraordinary House session to debate what they call the “worrying spending” of government aid money on people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the decrees governs the borrowing of one trillion baht. — Bangkok Post

Business

  • The government has ordered all state agencies and related bureaus to map out their own economic recovery plans to boost local economies – deemed the main avenue to repair the devastated economy from the bottom up.  —  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand’s top business leaders are ready to help the government ease the crunch of the coronavirus crisis, and plan to offer their ideas to lift the country out of the economic quagmire. – Matichon

Import Duty Exemption

  • Customs Department has lifted the import duty on items that are used in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of the spread of Covid 19, effective from 26 March – 30 September.  The announcement was published in the Royal Gazette on 21 April.  The items are as follows:
  • Pharmaceutical– tablet / injection medications and pharmaceutical chemicals used in the production of Covid19 treatment drugs
  • Medical equipmentPersonal Protective Equipment, face shield, goggles, medical ventilator, N95 mask or masks of higher qualifications, Covid19 test kits, isolation gown, ICU bed, thermometer, surgical gowns, among others
  • Cleaning and sterilizing chemicals

Source:  http://www.customs.go.th/cont_strc_simple_with_date.php?current_id=14232832414a505f4b464b47464b46

Stimulus package

  • Today the Agriculture and Cooperative Ministry will propose to the Covid19 Committee the 5,000 Baht cash handout for each household of farmers for three months.  The cash will be given to the 9-10 million households registered with the Agriculture Ministry through the Bank of Agriculture and Cooperative.  The handout is not related to the crop guarantee programme.

Sources: https://www.thansettakij.com/content/431078

  • Ministry of Finance plans to borrow 600 billion Baht in this fiscal year and 400 billion Baht in the next fiscal year.  Some 80 percent of the borrowing will be from the domestic market through debt issuance and bank loans.  Borrowing from international sources such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank is under consideration considered.
  • For the first batch of the 1-trillion-baht borrowing, the government will open bids for the four-year promissory notes worth 70 billion Baht on April 28.  Proceeds from the notes will be used to fund the 5,000-Baht cash handout in the second month.

Sources:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1905225/trillion-baht-stimulus-to-boost-domestic-debt   https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1905410/ministry-lines-up-pns-worth-b70bn-to-buffer-viral-impact

  • Ministry of Industry will propose a 10-billion Baht economic recovery plan to aid to local farmers, SMEs and community enterprises.  Some 340 million Baht will go to sugar cane farmers.  The plan will also be allocated to debt repayment suspension, fee exemption and reservoir construction for farms.
  • The grassroot economy will also receive assistance through the Phase 3 stimulus plan.  DPM Somkid ordered all state agencies to map out recovery plans for the local economy and submit them for cabinet’s approval.

Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1905400/state-agencies-plan-for-rural-recovery

Cash Handout

  • The registration closed on 22 April at midnight.  The total number of applicants is 28.8 million.  On Friday 24 April, Finance Ministry will hand out the cash to 500,000 people whose applications were verified.
  • The total number of appeals made is 1.7 million, of which 200,000 have passed the criteria and will receive the cash-handout on Friday 24 April.

Source:  https://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/877311

Export

  • Commerce Ministry says Thailand’s fresh, frozen and processed chicken export remain promising, owing to Thailand’s positive image in controlling the pandemic outbreak that builds importers’ confidence in Thailand’s food safety and security measures. In the first quarter, Thailand shipped 229,572 tonnes of chicken, a 2.7% increase YoY (valued at US$881 million), up 7.2% from the same quarter last year.  Annual chicken export is anticipated to grow by 10 percent, increasing by 33 billion Baht this year to total 140 billion Baht.

Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1905435/chicken-exports-expected-to-grow-by-10-this-year

EEC

  • Yesterday Airbus missed the deadline in delivering its proposal for the 11 billion Baht joint venture with Thai Airways to develop the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility at U-Tapao airport in the EEC zone’s Rayong province.  Thai Airways reasoned that Airbus was not in a position to join the venture as it was hit hard by the pandemic.  Thai Airways would pursue a new bidding.

Source:  http://www.nationthailand.com/news/30386502

ASEAN/World

  • The total number of coronavirus cases in Singapore exceeded 10,000 on Wednesday as infections among migrant workers living in dormitories continued to surge  — Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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