Advance Blog

October 12, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 12 October 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports five newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,641 cases. Out of the total number, 3,454 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.86%); 128 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 59. The newly confirmed cases are returnees from Hong Kong (1), The UK (2), the US (1), and Singapore (1). All have been in state quarantine since.
    • The Deputy Governor of Tak Province bordering Myanmar has kept trucks from Myanmar from crossing to Thai territory as the Ministry of Public Health has spotted two truck drivers from Myanmar infecting COVID-19. The Myanmar authority close down the gate of the border bridge in reciprocity. There have been a group of local communities pressuring the local authority to close down all international check-points.—Thai Rath
  • The Royal Gazette has published the schedule of the Royal Family members to offer robes to monks as part of a royal ‘krathin’ ceremony as followed (in chronological order):
    • Monday 12 October, HM the King to Debsirin Temple and Suthat Thepwararam Temple from 4.00pm
    • Wednesday 14 October, HM the Queen to Ratcha Orasaram Ratchaworawihan Temple and Temple of Dawn from 4.00pm
    • Wednesday 14 October, Princess Sirindhorn to Makut Kasatriyaram Temple and Ratchapradit Sathitmahasimarama from 4.00pm
    • Friday 16 October, Princess Bajrakitiyabha to Niwet Thammaprawat Temple, Ayutthaya from 4.00pm
    • Saturday 17 October, Princess Sirivannavari to Benchamabophit Temple from 4.00pm
    • Sunday 18 October, Prince Dipangkorn to Phra Pathom Chedi, Nakhon Pathom from 4.00pm
    • Monday 19 October, Princess Chulabhorn to Rachathiwat Temple from 4.00pm
    • Monday 19 October, Royal consort Sineenart to Suwandararam Temple, Ayutthaya from 4.00pm
  • The Nation Group media reports that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to take an official visit to Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and passing through Singapore from 11-15 October.—Than Settakij and Krungthep Turakij (with the other report saying that Wang Yi is scheduled to visit Thailand 14-15 October as guest to Deputy prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don).

Politics

  • Yesterday, the freshly appoint Finance Minister Arkhom took an oath to HM the King and will start working from today onwards.—all media outlet
  • The political tension and speculation are rising prior to the major protest on 14 October:
    • Thai Bhakdhi (Loyalist Thai) are calling for people who are loyal to the Monarchy to wear yellow attire as a symbolic gesture to portray allegiance to late King Bhumibol.—Siam Rath
    • Human right lawyer and leader of student-led rallies Anon Nampa posted on his social media platforms that on 14 October when major rally is going to take place and HM the King is scheduled from last week to visit the Grand Palace passing through the demonstration venue, the demonstrators will not impede the royal motorcade, rather they will flash three fingers salute in silence.—all media outlet
    • After the symbolic gesture to call for monarchical reform, the protestors will camp out and surround the Government’s House, calling for PM Prayut’s resignation.—all media outlet
    • Student Union of Thailand issued a statement calling for a national strike on 14 October to collaborate with the major rally on the day.—Khao Sod
  • A media reports that there is a rumour awaits confirmation that the ruling fraction might change their approaches regarding the student-led rallies’ demands. Prior to this, the ruling elites will pass the amendment of section 256, with a reported aim to reduce the political tensions embattling the government. Now, the ruling-coalition stance will be to call for a referendum this December whether to amend the constitution and postpone the Provincial Administrative Organisation’s (PAO) executive until next year. There are two reasons for this: first, the ruling fraction just want to challenge the student-led rallies judging that the rallies’ demands are getting too far and thus, losing its legitimacy; the second is that the Progressive Movement are getting an upper-hand in the PAO election.—Inside Thailand
  • The spokesperson of the German foreign ministry addressed on Friday that the government had repeatedly stressed to Thailand’s ambassador to Berlin that “foreign affairs of state should not be pursued from German soil”. The spokesperson referred to the earlier House discussion when an MP inquired the Foreign Minister about HM the King spending his time in Germany. The spokesperson said the Thai authorities had assured Berlin that “it is the Prime Minister who conducts government business, and the King of Thailand, as the head of a constitutional monarchy, which Thailand is, lives in Germany in a private capacity”.—Financial Times
  • Panitarn Wattanayagorn, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Security Advisory Committee, gave an interview saying the German Parliament discussion is inaccurate. Panitarn said that the majority of German parliamentarians focus mostly on how to assure security for heads of states, not on critical issues regarding the Thai monarch. The German authority focuses their attention on how to make Thai King’s residency in Germany as comfortable as possible.—Nation TV
  • After a breakthrough report on Friday regarding Twitter closing down 1,594 accounts (926 of which are linked to Royal Thai Army) involving in information operations, Thai authority has dismissed the report:
    • The spokesperson of the RTA said that all social media accounts are utilised for public relations purposes only. The spokesperson said he has already collaborated and notified Twitter on RTA’s purposes.—Thai Rath, Reuters
    • Minister of Digital Economy for Society Puttipong Punnakanta commented that he feels surprised why Twitter needs to disclose this report at this moment, why Twitter did not take down accounts which are critical to the Thai monarchy. The Minister said Twitter should follow Thai authority’s request and express sincerity in its operations.—The Standard
    • The analysis by Stanford University on the RTA’s strategy and the target of such information operation can be accessed in G-Drive here.

Economics:

Tourism

  • Despite the pandemic, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims for the country to be among the top 5 markets for foreign tourists in 2021.  Total tourism revenue is expected to range between 700 billion – 1.5 trillion Baht, of which domestic tourism will make up 400-500 billion Baht and foreign tourism 300 billion – 1 trillion Baht. 

Domestic Tourism Scenario Forecasts:

  • In the best-case scenario, domestic tourism would recover starting from Q1 of 2021 with no further cases of infection and a 3.6 percent GDP growth.  Other countries would still be in a lockdown, compelling Thais to resort to travel domestically.  Domestic tourist number is expected at 125 million (+39 percent), with the revenue of 774 billion Baht (+55 percent).
  • If Thailand undergoes another nationwide lockdown, Thai tourist figures could total 66.03 million (-26.8 percent) with a revenue of 37.9 billion Baht and a GDP contraction of -8 percent.  If Thailand undergoes partial lockdown of selected provinces, Thai tourist number could total 76.18 million (-15.5 percent) and tourist revenue at 458 billion Baht (-8.3 percent).
  • If the Thai economy recovers in mid-2021 (July 2021) with a 5-percent GDP growth, domestic tourist number would reach 93.3 million (+3.4 percent) with revenue of 536 billion Baht (+7.1 percent).
  • If Thailand recovers from April 2021 onward with no further infections, with Thai tourists could amount to 99.1 million (+9.8 percent) and tourist receipt would rise to 575 billion Baht (+15.1 percent).

International Tourism Scenario Forecasts:

  • If tourism recovers from October 2021, foreign tourist number is anticipated at 6 million, generating a revenue of 300 billion Baht. 
  • If recovery starts from July 2021, foreign tourist number could reach 12.5 million with 600 billion Baht in revenue. 
  • In the best case scenario, recovery would begin from April 2020 and tourist number could reach 20.5 million and tourism recept at 980 billion Baht.   Source:  Krungthep Turakij

US-China Trade War

Others

  • Delta, an electronic manufacturer from Taiwan, has opened a new plant in Samutprakarn province.  This is the direct result of the US-China trade war, which has prompted the company to continuously relocate its resources and plants form China, including its 7th factory that is set to open in Chachoengsao province in Q2 of 2021.  Delta is also in talks with Amata Group to invest in a Smart City in the EEC zone.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij
  • On 8 October 2020, the parliament-appointed CPTPP Committee completed their report that assesses the impact of Thailand’s CPTPP accession following a 4-month consultation session.  The report will be printed and will most likely be debated at the parliament sitting on 5 November.  Whether or not the Committee’s observations and recommendations will be implemented is at the government’s discretion.  The Committee noted that Thailand will eventually need to participate in high-standard FTAs such as the CPTPP in order to remain competitive globally.  It has made recommendations for Thailand to prepare for the prospect of future accession.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • Dialogue partners look set to clinch the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 14 November at the virtual meeting hosted by Vietnam, according to Ministry of Commerce.  The signing of the RCEP members will be done via hologram.  The Commerce Ministry is expected to ask for parliament’s ratification next year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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