Advance Blog

April 8, 2020
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Headline summary as of 8th April 2020

News

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Thailand’s COVID-19 rate showed signs of decline for the second day yesterday, with a daily increase of 38 new infections and one additional death reported, giving rise to optimism that the government has begun to get virus transmission under control.–all media outlet
  • A French tourist was arrested in Patong area of Kathu district on Tuesday for not wearing a face mask. The tourist was charged with violating an order issued by the provincial communicable disease committee requiring all people to wear a face mask while outdoors – a measure against the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Education Ministry has been given cabinet approval to defer the opening of the new school term from the middle of next month to July 1 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
  • Deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), said prosecutors have indicted a total of 623 people for violating the emergency decree enforced to contain the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • The interview in English with Dr. Tanarak Plipat, Deputy Director-General, Department of Disease Control on Virus pandemic in Thailand, stringent measures enough?–Thai PBSWorld  https://www.thaipbsworld.com/virus-pandemic-in-thailand-stringent-measures-enough/

Politics

  • Prosecutors set a date of April 15 for two former executives and an MP of the dissolved Future Forward Party (FFP) to hear whether they will face charges in connection with a flash mob at Pathumwan Skywalk on Dec 14 last year. The charges are; conspiring to hold a public gathering without notifying authorities, obstructing access to and from an electric train service, failing to prevent disturbances by participants in a public space, using a loudspeaker in public without permission and illegally holding a gathering within 150 metres of a royal palace (the skywalk is across the palace of Princess Sirindhorn in Siam, the city-centre).–all media outlet
  • The Senate’s spokesperson said the senate has asked all senators to donate their salary at least 50,000 THB per person to help the government in curbing COVID-19 effects.–Manager

Business

  • Inflation in March declined by 0.54 percent compared to the same period last year.  This is the lowest inflation in 51 month due to the pandemic and decline in energy (oil) price. The 2020 inflation is forecasted to shrink by 0.2 percent, or contract to a historically low level of -1 percent in the worst-case scenario. Overall, Moc anticipates GDP this year to contract by 4.8 – 5.8 percent.
  • Cabinet approved of an Act that enables various Ministries to transfer some of their budget (worth 80 billion – 100 billion Baht) to finance Covid19 relief measures. 
  • Cabinet also approved of Phase 3 of Covid19 Stimulus Package – worth 1.9 trillion Baht (9 percent of GDP) to be executed through 3 decrees.
  •  A decree that allows the Ministry of Finance to borrow 1 trillion Baht for its projects to:
    • Extend 5,000 Baht cash hand-out from 3 months to 6 months, until September 2020; assist farmers and support public healthcare
    • Budget: 600 billion Baht
      • Create employments for farmers and labourers to strengthen the local economy
    • Budget: 400 billion Baht
      • MoF expects the borrowing to start in May 2020 through to September 2021
  • A decree that authorizes Bank of Thailand to provide soft loans to an estimated 1.7 million SMEs (budget: 500 billion Baht)
    • Soft loan to SMEs with 2 percent interest
    • Debt Moratorium for SMEs for 6 months
  • A decree to Stabilize Financial Liquidity (budget: 400 billion Baht)
    • Establishing a Corporate Bond Liquidity Stabilization Fund (BSF) that allows BOT to buy ‘investment-grade’ corporate bonds to maintain the liquidity of the debenture market

ASEAN/World

  • Yesterday, the Japanese PM Abe Shinzo has declared the one-month state of emergency in seven provinces, including Tokyo and Osaka in an attempt to curb the outbreak of COVID-19.–Thai News Agency

Australia

  • HOM’s interview with Matichon Weekly has been published online:  https://www.matichonweekly.com/column/article_293583
  • Australian Central Bank has decided to keep the policy interest rate at 0.25 per cent and warned that the economic effects of COVID-19 will be dragged on until
  • the second quarter.–Krungthep Turakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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