Advance Blog

September 15, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 15 September 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports five newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,480 cases. Out of the total number, 3,315 have been discharged from hospital (at 95.26 %); 107 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are people returned from the Bahrain, Japan, Pakistan Saudi Arabia and Qatar and have been in state quarantine since.
  • His Majesty the King has specially appointed Army Chief Apirat as Deputy Palace Secretary effective from 30 September 2020.—Wassana Nanuam

Politics

  • After a document was circulated online instructing the First Army Region to prepare for deployment and anti-riot equipment, including bullet rounds, the Army spokesperson dismissed the document as said it is fake as there was no signature of senior army commanders.–Manager
  • A source in the security apparatus believed that the upcoming 19 September protest is just a rehearsal as student-led protests are eyeing for the real major protest in October concurrently with the time the  House is going to debate the Charter amendment. The source said should the Senate turns down the Opposition proposal, the protestors will use this as a cause to press the government even further.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The PM made a comment after the cycle of rumour is spreading about who will be the next Finance Minister after Mr Preedee resigned after taking the office for less than a month. The PM said that the public should be calm, the cabinet appointment is under the PM’s decision.—all media outlet
  • The Minister to the PM Office briefed the press after meeting with the US Ambassador yesterday. The Minister said that the US affirmed that the US will not interfere in any internal political development of Thailand. The US merely want to see a peaceful Thailand.—Daily News

Business:

  • An anonymous source at the Ministry of Finance disclosed that the 400 billion Baht budget the government allocated to rehabilitate the economy and society from COVID-19 is seeing slow disbursement.  To date, only 40 billion Baht was disbursed, which is not enough to stimulate the economy.  Furthermore, of the 88.45 billion Baht transferred from the government’s central budget this year to combat the pandemic, only a little over 20 billion Baht was disbursed, leaving the remaining 67 billion Baht untouched as the fiscal year 2020 draws to an end in October.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Siam Commercial Bank revealed that business closures spiked 38.4 YoY percent from June to July, with the rate expected to increase by double-digit in the second half of 2020.  Heavily affected sectors were hotels and tourism-related businesses, textiles and automotive. 
  • Unemployed workers in Q2 totalled 745,000, a near double-digit increase compared to last year, with hotels and restaurants showing the highest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent.  Most of the unemployed are graduates totalling 324,000 (98.2 percent of total Q2 unemployment).  Underemployment and furloughed workers are also anticipated to reach 3-5 million in the coming period, which result in further escalation of household debt.   Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Udon Thani Industrial City company aims to spend 20 billion Baht in developing the first industrial estate in the Northeast on 2,170-rai land to serve Chinese and Japanese investors who are considering relocating their production base from China to ASEAN.  The company said its clients (70 percent are Chinese and 30 percent are Japanese) are keen to buy land in the industrial estate to escape the impact of US-China Trade War.  The land is anticipated to be ready for sale in 2021.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Ministry of Commerce will ban the import of electronic wastes, such as components of electronic or electronic appliances tainted with chemicals, effective from 15 September 2020.  The announcement was published in the Royal Gazette on 14 September.  Sources:  Prachachat Turakij  Royal Gazette Announcement
  • Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Trade Negotiations visited Chiang Mai and Lampoon provinces to inspect Fresh Milk Chiang Mai company – a major milk producer in northern Thailand.  The company participated in the Department’s program that enhanced their capacity in producing and exporting Thai milk to countries that are Thailand’s FTA partners and in which milk export enjoys preferential tariff, specifically China and ASEAN markets.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • Energy policymakers have insisted they will not scrap the Energy for All renewable power scheme, denying a report that it cannot be implemented because of a legal problem.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Association of Domestic Travel (ADT) suggests that the government targets at least 200 million domestic trips in 2021, up from the original target of 100 million trips, to aid the tourism sector.  Currently, 30 percent of tour operators have exited the market while 50 percent are temporarily closed.  ADT also suggests the government revises the domestic tourism stimulus package We Travel Together since there is still plenty of budget left.  This includes allowing users to buy tour programs from agents and receive 40 percent discount, with the subsidy capped at 8,000 Baht per head.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) reiterated the need for Thailand to let in foreign tourists to in the last quarter of this year rather than next year because else 2.5 million workers are at risk of losing their jobs.  ATTA will also propose an inbound tourism plan without a 14-day quarantine for short-haul markets, such as certain cities in China.  Tourism and Sports Ministry however insisted tourists will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine through a special tourist visa scheme and it hopes to bring back long-stay tourists by 1 October.  Source: Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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