Advance Blog

January 11, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 10 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
7,926 (412 from aboard; 195 from prisons), excluding 1,423 ATKs2,277,476 (last seven days: 44,911)13 (last seven days: 100)58,159/ 495
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
106,475,122 (+138,885 )51,514,791 (+12,766)46,853,598 (+32,977)8,106,733 (+ 93,142)
  • The CCSA’s latest COVID restrictions has been on the Royal Gazette. The new measures include the three additional sandbox schemes. The new entry measures could be viewed via TAT News
    • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has also issued its latest COVID restrictions:
      • For alcoholic beverages served during dining-in, the BMA has limited the serving hours to be until 9.00pm.
      • The entertainment complexes (pubs, clubs and karaoke bars) aiming to reopen will need to be refurbished and sought permission by 15 January 2022.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • Nida Poll has issued the opinion poll on politics, economic and pandemic situation:
    • As for the 2022 political situation, in comparison to that of 2021:
      • 46.34% thinks that it will be as chaotic;
      • 34.72% thinks that it will become more chaotic;
      • 10.04% thinks that it will be less chaotic.
    • As for the people opinion towards PM Prayut:
      • 45.36% thinks that the PM will remain in power in 2022;
      • 11.47% thinks that there will be a House Dissolution;
      • 7.85% thinks that there will be a cabinet reshuffle;
      • 6.64% thinks that the PM will be out due to the 8-yearit tenure;
    • As for the people opinion towards student-led protestors:
      • 46.64% thinks that there will remain protests;
      • 14.34% thinks that the protests will become more violent;
      • 12% thinks that the protestors will become weaker;
  • Former Election Commissioner said he is reaching out to other political parties to garner their support on the campaign to strip the Senate from their power in voting for the PM. The former EC-turned-commentator Somchai Srisutthiyakorn is leading the bid to collect 50,000 signatures in amending the constitution which grant the unprecedented power to the Senate in voting for the premiere.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The freshly appointed main opposition Pheu Thai Party said that the party aims to secure 15 million votes which Thaksin party used to gain during its heyday. Securing the votes would mean that Pheu Thai Party could get the party a landslide and get over the constitutional impediment in becoming the government.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee, professor of Political Science, gave an exclusive interview with Matichon on 2022 political scenarios which could witness a potential House Dissolution. The political expert who did a research on younger generation’s political perspectives said that even though there is 70% of youth who is for Liberal Democracy, 15% of the youth wants to have tough leader. Interestingly, the research has showed that youth shares more political view with older member of their family than expected, the political Faultline is not between generations as many might think, but a clash between younger generation and Conservative elites.–Matichon

ASEAN/ World

  • Krungthep Turakij has pointed out the high number of staff participants of 2022 Cobra Gold operation in Thailand as having regional ramification. The media reported that there will be more than 10,000 troops participating in the operation and pointed out the timing of the operation in February which is considered a dry season in Myanmar. The season will be the time when the Tatmadaw will severely crush the ethnic minority armed groups along the Thai-Myanmar border. The commentators concluded that considering the size of the operation and more visits by high-ranking US military, this would mean that Bangkok remains crucial for Washington in regional affairs.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

RCEP

  • PM Prayut has instructed relevant agencies to promote and facilitate the private sector and entrepreneurs to fully benefit from RCEP since its enforcement on 1 January 2022.  Source:  Thai Government News
  • Dr Aat from University of Thai Chamber of Commerce said Thailand will face 6 challenges as RCEP enters into force, comprising 1) businesses need to adapt to more competitors as other countries have increased market access to Thailand 2) develop Thai products to meet the standard of each member country 3) develop the rules and regulations to prepare for the rise of cross-border e-commerce 4) implement stringent measures to screen imported products 5) promote Thai SMEs to use local content and 6) prepare for an influx of agricultural goods from 14 countries.  RCEP is expected to benefit mainly China, Japan and South Korea, while ASEAN will lose its trade advantages.  Sources:  Thansettakij
  • A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) revealed that RCEP will revitalise Asia Pacific from the pandemic as well as enhance trade resilience.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • Ministry of Finance does not expect the Omicron variant outbreak to have strong impacts on the Thai economy as there is no lockdown.  Economists forecast that if the outbreak is prolonged into Q2, the low tourism number would start to affect GDP figures.  Federation of Thai Tourism anticipates that the suspension of Test & Go scheme would cause tourism revenue to decline by 50 percent even though the government has added 3 provinces (Surat Thani’s Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao; Krabi and Phangnga to the tourism Sandbox scheme.  The 3 provinces are also asking the government to introduce the Andaman Sandbox scheme wherein tourists could travel within the 3 provinces in the first 7 nights of arrival.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij
  • Finance Ministry has instructed Custom Department to revise the import tariff regime for Electric Vehicles (EVs) to provide a level playing field for all imported EVs.  Meanwhile, the EV Board has yet to submit to the cabinet the Electric Vehicle package as it awaits for input from Energy Ministry, Interior Ministry and BOI.  Sources:  TNN Thailand Bangkok Post
  • The EEC has entered its second phase of investment plan (2022-2026) with the goal of attracting 2.2 trillion Baht through investments in infrastructure projects worth 200 billion Baht, as well as into S-Curve industries and BCG worth 400 billion Baht annually.  Investments in the EEC are expected average at 500 billion Baht annually from 2022-2026, while investment in the EEC in 4 years (2018-2021) was 1.7 trillion Baht.  Of this figure, 80 percent is from private investment and 20 percent from public investment. The EEC’s contribution will enable Thai GDP to grow by 5 percent annually.  Furthermore, the EEC is envisaged to help Thailand escape the middle income trap by 2029 and will become a core investment destination in Thailand over the next 5 years.  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij Thai Government News  Bangkok Post
  • Ministry of Commerce is continuing with its campaign to sell pork at a discounted price of 150 Baht per kg at some 667 MoC outlets nationwide.  Pork price has soared to 160-200 Baht per kg and MoC is continuing to monitor prices of 231 items (208 products and 23 services) to prevent the spiralling of inflation despite imposing regulations that ban the export of pork for 3 months.  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij   Bangkok Post  Bangkok Post
  • The price of chicken eggs has gone up by 0.20 Baht to 3 Baht per egg in response to rising cost of animal feed and shortage of hens to breed large-size eggs (eggs no.3, 4 and 5).  The price of chicken has also gone up by 1-2 Baht per kg in Chonburi province, which is expected to continue well into Chinese New Year (February).  Source:  Thai PBS
  • With another 74,780 nightlife industry workers receiving their 5,000 baht in assistance pay from the Social Security Office (SSO) last week, almost all such workers affected by the government’s Covid-19 restrictions have been compensated, according to the Labour Ministry.  The aid payment began on Dec 29, targeting 121,431 workers of night entertainment venues shut by the government as part of its Covid-19 containment efforts.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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