Advance Blog

January 11, 2023
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 10 January 2023

KEY ISSUES AT A GLANCE

  • PM Prayut formally joins United Thai Nation Party. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha formally joined the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party on Monday, at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. In addition to key members, led by party leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, other well-known figures present were former Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Democrat MP Rangsima Rodrasamee and former Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, who has resigned from the Palang Pracharath Party and as an MP. Source: Thai PBS World, Khaosod
  • Chinese tour revives Thai economy. Yesterday the first Chinese tourist comeback in 3 years will enable them to reclaim the top position in Thailand’s tourist arrival figure, complemented by government’s clarification of rules on Chinese tourist entry. With Chinese tourist number expected to total 5 million in 2023 (20 percent of the 25 million tourist expected annually), NESDC will in February revise upward the country’s tourism revenue to exceed its 1.2 trillion Baht forecast and Thailand’s GDP to surpass its original projection of +3 percent growth. In pre-pandemic times, Chinese tourists accounted for 27 percent of the total foreign arrivals of 39 million, according to. Flights from China would total around 15 per week; which is much lower than the 400 flights during the pre-pandemic period. Low-cost carriers from Thailand submitted a request to resume routes to China where the process might take until February or March to restart operations. Concurrently, yesterday the Baht has appreciated the most in the region to 33 Baht per USD following foreign capital inflow of 64 billion Baht into Thai equity and bond markets in the past 5 days. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition, Bangkok Post

AUSTRALIA IN THE NEWS

GENERAL

  • Bangkok Residents Warned of PM2.5 Surge. The Department of Pollution Control warns people in Bangkok and surrounding provinces to brace for higher levels of hazardous particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) as stagnant air will intensify today. It forecast that today, PM2.5 levels would rise in the central part of Bangkok, northern and southern Thonburi district. The dust situation will improve from Jan 11-15 due to an increase in wind speed. Source: Thai News Agency
  • Points system for drivers in force. The Royal Thai Police (RTP) on Monday implemented a demerit point system in a bid to improve driving discipline and road safety in the kingdom. Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said as part of the new system, every driving licence holder will be given 12 points. Infractions such as speeding, riding without a helmet, using a mobile phone while driving, failing to fasten seat belts or not stopping for pedestrians will warrant a one-point deduction, Ms Rachada said. Two points will be deducted for running a red light or driving on the wrong side of the road. Source: Bangkok Post

POLITICS

  • PM Prayut formally joins United Thai Nation Party. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha formally joined the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party on Monday, at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. In addition to key members, led by party leader Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, other well-known figures present were former Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Democrat MP Rangsima Rodrasamee and former Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, who has resigned from the Palang Pracharath Party and as an MP. Source: Thai PBS World, Khaosod
  • Thai Ministers Welcome First Groups of Chinese Tourists. Three ministers have welcomed the first group of Chinese tourists, arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday as the government revokes the requirement for foreign arrivals to show proof of Covid -19 vaccination. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and Saksayam Chidchob Transport Minister were present at the airport to welcome Chinese tourists after China reopened its border on Sunday. The first flight, carrying 286 passengers to Thailand arrived from Xiamen at around 1 p.m. Source: Thai News Agency, The Nation
  • Thai court revokes bail for two monarchy reform activists. The Criminal Court revoked the bail for two monarchy reform activists today (Monday), after they had breached their bail conditions by getting involved in public protests. The court also issued warrants for the detention of the two activists, Nutthanit Duangmusit, aka “Bai Por”, and Sopon Surariddhidhamrong, aka “Get”. The Criminal Court found both activists had breached theirbail conditions, withdrew their bail and ordered them to be held on remand pending trial. Source: Thai PBS World

ECONOMICS

  • Thai shares soared to welcome Chinese tourists. Thai shares steadily increased throughout the day yesterday (9 January) by around 19.56 points and peaked at 1,693 points. Foreigner have bought a sweeping 4.3 billion Baht of the total trading volume of 78.5 billion Baht, coinciding with Thailand receiving the first flight of Chinese tourists and the brightening prospect of economic recovery. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition
  • ‘Personal loan’ on the upswing as liquidity crisis intensifies – forcing consumers to take loans. Commercial banks expect personal loan to continue soaring as debtors face liquidity issues resulting from high living costs and stagnant wage. Kasikorn Research Centre assesses that personal loan this year will surpass 17 percent to exceed 400 billion Baht as banks and non-banks compete to give out more loans. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition
  • Tax incentives to encourage reduction in plastic usage. The Industry and Finance ministries are imposing a new corporate income tax reduction program to encourage businesses to use more bio-degradable plastic products in a bid to reduce waste. The tax reduction is around 25 percent of what companies paid to buy biodegradable plastic products between 2022 and 2024, while also supporting the government’s BCG economic model. Businesses that want to join the tax reduction program must buy biodegradable plastic from manufacturers certified by Industry Ministry. Source: Bangkok Post
  • Chinese tour revives Thai economy. Yesterday the first Chinese tourist comeback in 3 years will enable them to reclaim the top position in Thailand’s tourist arrival figure, complemented by government’s clarification of rules on Chinese tourist entry. With Chinese tourist number expected to total 5 million in 2023 (20 percent of the 25 million tourist expected annually), NESDC will in February revise upward the country’s tourism revenue to exceed its 1.2 trillion Baht forecast and Thailand’s GDP to surpass its original projection of +3 percent growth. In pre-pandemic times, Chinese tourists accounted for 27 percent of the total foreign arrivals of 39 million, according to. Flights from China would total around 15 per week; which is much lower than the 400 flights during the pre-pandemic period. Low-cost carriers from Thailand submitted a request to resume routes to China where the process might take until February or March to restart operations. Concurrently, yesterday the Baht has appreciated the most in the region to 33 Baht per USD following foreign capital inflow of 64 billion Baht into Thai equity and bond markets in the past 5 days. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition, Bangkok Post

For further information please see the embassy’s Facebook Page ‘Australian Embassy, Thailand’ or the Ambassador’s Twitter Page https://twitter.com/AusAmbBKK

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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