Advance Blog

January 12, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 12 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
7,681 (277 from aboard; 12 from prisons), excluding 2,048 ATKs2,292,290 (last seven days: 52,815)22 (last seven days: 103)66,286/ 480
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
107,271,904 (+513,208 )51,592,872 (+49,784)47,056,159 (+  133,047)8,622,873 (+330,377)
  • In a bid to curb the surging price of rapid ATK test kits, the government is ready to sell 3 million kits at low price. The government spokesperson said that the Thai GPO is prepared to put 3 million ATK kits at its outlets at the price of 35 THB per kit from 14 January and will start the online purchase from 17 January.—Thai Rath
  • The cabinet has agreed to sign an MoU on Energy Partnership with Japan. The PM will preside over the MoU signing between Japanese and Thai Energy Ministries on 13 January 2022. The MoU will provide framework on cooperation, including the nuclear energy and carbon-reduction technology.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The cabinet has approved the amendment of Interior Ministry laws on the application for the Thai nationality as followed:
    • The venues to apply for the Thai nationality are set at the Department of Provincial Administration for anyone in Bangkok; provincial authority in other provinces and Embassies or Consulate-Generals when overseas;
    • The duration of the application consideration will be within 90 days for application filed in Thailand; and 120 days for applications filed overseas.
    • The applicants must have Thai language competencies or certificate from the Thai Education Ministry that the applicant has received Thai education no lesser than elementary level.
    • The fees for the applications have been doubled.–Matichon

Politics

  • The surging price of pork has turned politically perilous as Opposition is starting to bombard the government for its negligence of the African Swine Fever in the Kingdom:
    • The main opposition Pheu Thai Party is requesting the government to be transparent in the timeline of the spread of the fever in Thailand. The party cited the letter by Veterinary Deans to the authority calling for action with no response. The opposition is eyeing to discuss this issue in the House and will submit the request to Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the issue.—Prachachat Turakij
    • The cabinet has agreed to allocate budget to curb with the effects of the fever. Prachachat Turakij pointed out that this is the fourth time that the government has allocate budget to deal with the ASF. The first budget dated back to 219 with the total of almost 1 billion THB.—Prachachat Turakij
    • The PM has ordered the probe into the issue on which organization has impeded the government to take action into the fever issue.–Matichon
  • The by-elections in Southern Thailand seem to be yet the other intra-coalition conflicts between the main coalition Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) and the Democrat:
    • The secretary-general of the PPRP went down to help the campaign of their candidate in the Chumphon election this Sunday. It is reported that the PPRP leader General Prawit will go down to the province to help their candidate in the campaign.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Meanwhile, the Democrat deputy spokesperson said that the party leader will go down to Songkla tonight to help its candidate in the campaign.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The PM who concurrently serve as the Defense Minister has instructed the armed forces to remain neutral in all the by-elections as there have been earlier reports by the Democrat Party on the meddling of armed forces’ personnel in the areas.—Prachachat Turakij
  • After his vaccine record was released online with some speculation of preferential treatment of getting vaccines earlier than others, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit the head of the Progressive Movement clarified that he got the daily leftover vaccine. The opposition figure said he will file a case against certain individuals and state agencies which attempted to undermine his reputation.—Thai Rath
  • The latest publication from ANU on the discourse of Thai foreign policy ideology ‘Bamboo Diplomacy’ (or bending with the wind) is now available at https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n9464/pdf/book.pdf

Economic:

Cabinet’s Decisions, 11 January

  • approved the allocation of 574.11 million Baht from the FY2022 emergency central budget to prevent the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in pigs in 56 provinces.  The budget will be spent on providing compensations for pigs that are culled as a result of the ASF outbreak.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij

Supply Chain Relocation

  • Murata Manufacturing is among the Japanese tech suppliers who is cutting their dependence on China as the U.S.-China standoff deepens.  The world’s largest capacitor maker and an iPhone parts supplier, Murata said in November that it will open a new plant in Thailand in October 2023. In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Murata President Norio Nakajima said the new plant will eventually be expanded to become as large as the one in Wuxi, near Shanghai, where Murata produces multilayer ceramic capacitors for consumer electronics.  Source: Nikkei Asia

Others

  • Ministry of Agriculture’s confirmation that there is an African Swine Fever outbreak at a pig farm in Nakhon Pathom has shattered Thailand’s dream of becoming the No.1 pork exporter in ASEAN.  MoA forecasted that ASF outbreak will incur a loss of 16 billion Baht on Thai pork export and 66.6 billion Baht on animal feed business, while the government’s banning of pork export will incur a 6 billion Baht loss.  Pig farmers have slammed the government for concealing the ASF outbreak for the past 3 years.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Commerce Ministry has imposed a freeze on chicken prices for 6 months (Jan – June 2022), capping the farmgate price of live chickens at 33.50 Baht per kg; slaughtered chicken from 60-70 Baht.   Chicken producers will also be asked to increase productivity within 45 days to boost supply.  MoC is also working to maintain domestic egg supplies at reasonable prices.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry’s proposal to collect Financial Transaction Tax at a rate of 0.1 percent on share sales valued at 1 million Baht up, first proposed in 1991, is meeting strong oppositions from stakeholders such as the Stock exchange of Thailand and Federation of Thai Capital Marketing Organization (FETCO) members, brokers and investors.  FETCO estimated that the Financial Transaction Tax will decrease the capital market’s liquidity by 30 percent.  Others assert it will reduce market trading volume by half as it will disincentivise foreigners from investing.  FETCO will convene a meeting on 13 January to draft an objection letter to MoF.  However, FETCO agrees with the implementation of Capital Gain Tax, particularly on profits made by foreign investors.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The President of Sansiri property developer, Srestha Thaveesin, has called out for the government to refrain from imposing a 15 percent capital gains tax on profits from cryptocurrency trading.  Although number of cryptocurrency trading accounts grew by 2-3 folds in the past year alone, it remains in its infancy stage and the government should look to facilitate its growth.  Therefore this warrants it the same treatment as the capital market, which was launched 40 years ago but is to date exempted from capital gains tax.   Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) unveiled its 2022-2024 strategic plan under the concept “Connecting opportunities x Transforming possibilities”.  The goal is to revolutionise the capital market to foster growth and sustainability.  Among the highlights is its plan to launch this year the Live Exchange; a funding platform for SMEs and startups, as well as the Thai Digital Assets Exchange (TDX); a market for the exchange of digital assets which is set to be fully operational in Q3 2022.  SET will also support companies to pursue ESG fundraising.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Prachachart Turakij
  • At the Meet the Press event, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) Governor, Dr Setthaput, expects the Thai economy to remain fragile this year and that recovery will be K-Shape and uneven.  The economy will not return to pre-pandemic level until Q1 of 2023 due to its over-reliance on tourism and export.  BOT will address 4 downside risks going forward, namely 1) stabilising banking system in the midst of Omicron outbreak which is likely to affect the economy at least until 1H of this year 2) inflation, which is not expected to hinder economic growth 3) prevent NPL Cliff – BOT will soon announce a joint venture asset management company to address this issue and 4) monitoring global economic trends.  Further challenges to the Thai financial system are the Digital and Green Economy; issues which the BOT will address in its its Financial Landscape Consultation Paper to be released on 2 February.  Source:  Thansettakij Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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