Advance Blog

May 4, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headline summary as of 4th May 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • As of today, Thailand reports 18 newly confirmed cases, a total of 2,987 cases. Out of the total cases, 2,740 of which have been discharged from hospital. The death toll is at 54.
    • All the today’s newly confirmed cases are being hospitalized in the Southern city of Songkla. Earlier yesterday, media reported 40 confirmed cases from the Southern province of Yala, but the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said today that the test result is still unconfirmed.
    • Thai government’s official Facebook Page “ไทยคู่ฟ้า” posted on their page that “today is the first day that there is no new COVID-19 cases amongst Thais (only migrant workers are the newly confirmed cases).” 
    • According to a new order issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on Sunday, more airports have been given permission to operate special international flights between 7am and 7pm each day. The CAAT order allows all international airports, including Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Samui, Surat Thani, Hat Yai and Hua Hin, to handle special status international flights, such as those repatriating foreign nationals or flying home Thai citizens.—Bangkok Post
    • Liquor sections at supermarkets yesterday were full of customers eager to buy alcoholic beverages after sales resumed for the first time in almost a month. Drinkers stormed for supplies for fear that there will be an abrupt change in the government policy. Some provinces are keeping the ban for the time-being.—all media outlet
    • Over the long weekend, people rushed out of the city to provinces to be found that there will be travel constraints for those who have no necessary reason.
    • Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Suvit Maesincee said the government is preparing to create jobs for the unemployed in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. It is expected that 300,000 newly graduated will join the job market this year.—Bangkok Post
  • The Education Ministry has reaffirmed that students can wear their hair long, so long as it is neat and tidy. The ministerial order applies to all schools under the supervision of the ministry.—all media outlet

Politics

  • Progressive Movement, the political movement of the dissolved Future Forward Party, held a campaign to give out 3,000 THB money to anyone who posted during their Facebook Live. This campaign, however, is seen as rivalling to the government’s cash hand-out scheme which people still complains about distribution process,
  • An opinion article regards the extension of the Emergency Decree as a political calculation to extend his tenure.–thisRupt
  • There was no insurgency-backed violence in Thailand’s Deep South for the month of April, the first time in sixteen years that there were no insurgency attacks taking place in a given month.—Thai Enquirer

Business

  • An advisory committee was established to provide the Covid19 Control Administration Center with solutions to alleviate the economic and social impacts generated by the pandemic, with the announcement published in The Royal Gazette on 1 May.  The committee comprises a panel of 13 distinguished individuals, such as NESDC representatives; the former Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul; TDRI’s Director Somchai Jitsuchon; renowned academia Somchai Pakapaswiwat and Mongkulwattana Hospital’s Director Major General Rienthong Nanna. Source:  https://news.thaipbs.or.th/content/291985
  • Nine of the country’s richest business magnates have pledged projects worth billions of Baht in response to PM Prayut’s letter asking them to contribute to rebuilding the economy.  Among them are CP Group’s Dhanin Chearavanont; Redbull’s Chalerm Yoovidhya; Bangkok Airways’ Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth; PM Group’s Prayudh Mahagitsiri; Osotspa’s Petch Osathanugrah; Muangthai Capital’s Chuchat Petaumpai; BTS Group Keeree Kanjanapas; Srisawad’s Chatchai Kaewbootta and King Power’s Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.  Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30387200
  • Thailand’s challenge is how to ease the lockdown and manage the number of infections within the capacity of the country’s public health system.  Aviation and tourism sectors would find it hard to keep afloat should there be a second wave of infection.  
  • CIMB’s Dr Amonthep Chawla expects economic recovery to be a reversed J-shaped characterized by a steep decline, extended period for economic recovery and slow post-crisis growth.  Globally, nations could adopt trade barriers as the crisis triggers anti-globalisation sentiment.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1912208/second-time-unluckier-
  • The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has prepared a recovery plan to boost the grassroots economy and rebuild domestic industry.  The plan centres on ‘Made in Thailand’ concept as the pandemic might render countries to become more self-reliant on their supply chains and thereby reduce imports.  The recovery plan covers 11 clusters from 45 industries, including the S-curve targeted industries.  FTI’s priority sectors are digital, medical devices and robotics and automation, given the launch of 5G and the changing lifestyle following the Covid-19outbreak. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1912184/fti-readies-coronavirus-recovery-plan
  • Thai processed food exports are expected to recover in the third and fourth quarters of this year after falling 13.3 percent (valued at 120 billion Baht) YoY in the first quarter.  The recovery is based on the expectations that countries globally would ease their lockdown and consumption would spur as businesses reopen.  Thai food exports this year is likely to shift to supplying to end consumers instead of hotels and restaurants. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1912180/processed-food-awaits-snapback
  • The Bank of Agriculture and Cooperatives forecasts that for the month of May, the price rubber will go down while the prices of rice, corn used for animal feed, raw sugar, tapioca, palm oil, pork and prawn will increase.  Source:  https://www.thansettakij.com/content/Macro_econ/432041
  • Ministry of Finance will borrow 50 billion Baht monthly for 3 months to finance the 5,000 Baht cash-handout to 10 million farmers.  The borrowing will be done in phases under the 1-trillion Baht borrowing that is part of the stimulus phase III plan.
  • Overall, the government will borrow 600 billion Baht this fiscal year, and the remaining 400 billion Baht in FY 2021.  Public debt to GDP is estimated at 51.8 percent at the end of FY 2020, and 58 percent at the end of FY 2021, which are still below the 60-percent ceiling set by the fiscal sustainability framework. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1912248/pdmo-to-borrow-b50bn-for-farmer-handout

ASEAN/World

  • On Friday PM Paryuth held a telephone meeting with Indian PM Modi, reaffirming the two countries’ commitment to strengthening ties to battle the coronavirus and its economic impact.—all media outlet
  • Media quoted Daily Mail which claimed to obtain classified documents from the so-called “Five Eyes security alliance” which found that Chinese authority has not been transparent about the source and management of COVID-19.—Thai Rath
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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