Advance Blog

July 16, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 16 July 2020

News  

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports four newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,236 cases. Out of the total number, 3,095 have been discharged from hospital; 83 are being hospitalised (at 95.44%). The death toll is at 58. The newly four confirmed cases are Thai nationals returned from the UAE, Egypt and the US, all have been in state quarantine since. This is the 52nd consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
    • PM blamed media for creating anxiety amongst the people on the possible infection in Rayong and Bangkok.
    • PM has called on residents in Rayong to resume their normal lives when he visited the province yesterday.
    • The Director-general of the Disease Control Department told the media that 1,603 people(1,336 from Rayong and 267 from Bangkok) who might be in contact with the confirmed COVID-19 cases have been COVID-19 negative and the test result of 1,252 cases are processing.
    • The test result of the three Nakhon Ratchasrima residents who returned from Rayong with COVID-19 related symptom is negative.
    • Interior Ministry’s Permanent Secretary on Wednesday ordered all provincial governors to survey people who were in Rayong at the same time as a 43-year-old infected Egyptian soldier and offer them tests for Covid-19.—Bangkok Post
  • Minister of Culture will distribute King Rama 10 documentary on television all over July.—Matichon

Politics

  • Yesterday, the so-called “Fantastic 4” (Finance Minister Uttama; Energy Minister Sondhirat; Higher Education Minister Suvit; and Deputy Secretary General to the Prime Minister Kobsak) and DPM Somkid announced to hand their resignation letters to the PM secretary this morning and held a press conference.
    • So far, media have reported on the possible names to fill in the vacant portfolio:
Media/PositionDeputy PMEnergy MinisterFinance MinisterForeign MinisterDeputy DefenceDefence MinisterInterior MinisterLabour MinisterMinister of PMODigital Econ MinisterOther names (potentially joining supra-cabinet economic counsellor reports directly to the PM)
Krungthep TurakijThossaphorn SirisamphanPailin ChuchottawornPredee DaochaiBusaya Mathelin   Anek Laothamatas   
Thai Rath  Pailin Chuchottaworn  Gen  Anupong PaochindaGen Prawit Wongsuwan   Boontuck Wungcharoen; Piti Tantakasem; Supattanapong Bhanmeechao
MatichonPailin ChuchottawornPredee DaochaiLecturer from Ramkhamhaeng Univ      Boontuck Wungcharoen; Kan Trakulhoon; Piti Tantakasem; Supattanapong Bhanmeechao;
Khao SodPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai  Gen  Anupong PaochindaGen Prawit Wongsuwan   Boontuck Wungcharoen; Piti Tantakasem;  Supattanapong Bhanmeechao
Daily News Pailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai     Chatumongol SonakulTakorn TantasithBoontuck Wungcharoen; Piti Tantakasem;  Supattanapong Bhanmeechao; Thossaphorn Sirisamphan
Siam Rath         Takorn Tantasith 
Thai Enquirer  Predee Daochai        
The Journalist ClubPrasarn TrairatvorakulPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai     Thossaphorn Sirisamphan  
Wassana Nanuam   Bansarn Bunnag       
Inside Thailand    Gen Nattaphon NarkphanitGen  Anupong PaochindaGen Prawit Wongsuwan    
  • Deputy PM Wissanu gave an interview that once the Fantastic 4 resigned, the resignation will take effect immediately, there is no need for the PM to approve that. The DPM said that the new minister can start working by 1. Obtained the royal endorsement 2. Took an oath at the King’s audience and 3. Under this constitution with permission from the King, , unprecedentedly the cabinet can start working without the need to complete no.2.
  • Early report indicated that the “Fantastic 4” will join the newly established “Kla Party” led by former Finance Minister and Democrat Deputy leader Korn Chatikavanij.
  • The Internal Security Operations Command’s Region 4 Forward Command said they are hunting suspected insurgents who on Tuesday attacked a military unit providing protection for teachers in Pattani province’s Mae Lan district, killing one man.—all media outlet

Business:

Asia Nikkei Review

  • Thailand’s impending cabinet reshuffle will also cause changes in Thailand’s economic policy.  Despite the resignation of the original economic policy team, including Deputy Prime Minister Somkid, and the upcoming election of the new Bank of Thailand Governor, the Thailand 4.0 initiative is expected to go on.  However, Thailand is unlikely to decide this year if it will join the CPTPP.  The new central bank governor will also need to navigate Thailand’s monetary policy into an unchartered territory to support the coronavirus-hit economy.  Source:  https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Turbulent-Thailand/Thailand-s-economic-ministers-face-ouster-in-COVID-crisis

Tourism

Agriculture

  • Commerce Ministry sets sight on limiting pork exports after retail pork prices surged to 170-180 Baht per kilogramme, the highest in 10 years, driven by rising domestic demand as well as exports, notably to neighbouring countries and China.  Authorities will also cap retail pork price.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1952112/trade-department-limiting-pork-exports
  • PM Prayut presided over a forum about the Bio, Circular and Green economies (BCG Economy), where 18 state agencies and organisations signed a cooperation pact to put the economic model into motion.  The BCG model, running under the Ruam Thai Sang Chart banner, focuses on the adoption of green economic policies to benefit the grassroot.  It is envisaged to lead to sustainable economic development, which will pull Thailand out of the middle-income trap.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1952136/pms-green-policies-a-boon-to-the-grassroots
  • Federation of Thai Industries attributes the American government’s new anti-dumping investigation on tyres exported from Thailand to the United States to the US-China trade war.  This is because some exporters are Chinese factories that have relocated to Thailand, such as those in the EEC area.  FTI also enthused that the anti-dumping investigation is part of the US’s effort to impose non-tariff barrier on Chinese export.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1952080/fti-tyre-probe-stems-from-spat
  • PM Prayut will deliberate on 5G-related issues in the first meeting of the national 5G Committee, which was established in May this year.  Issues for discussions include smart hospital scheme, over-the-top platform development, Thailand as a global work from home hub and 5G adoption promotion.  The 5G network has helped Thailand contain the pandemic outbreak and is expected to serve as critical infrastructure to speed up Thailand’s economic recovery.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1952208/5g-promoted-as-lifeline
  • World Bank projects that Thailand’s economy could take two years to return to normal economic output, but not necessarily growth.  Thailand is also identified as among the worst-hit economies in the region and suggests that the country spend its liquidity to protect vulnerable families from the economic downturn.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1952100/world-bank-sees-two-year-recovery
  • The Bank of Thailand has entered third-phase development of its “central bank digital currency” (CBDC) and plans to expand its use among large businesses, but not yet to the public.  BOT’s digital currency will be backed by tangible assets such as country’s international reserve, making it stable currency.  .  Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30391375
  • The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is looking into four Chinese companies suspected of setting up 40 firms with assets worth 3.6 billion Baht illegally by using Thai nominees.  Some of these Chinese companies traded rice, dealt in real estate, constructed buildings or operated accommodation, all of which are prohibited from being run by foreign nationals.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1952036/dsi-chinese-bigwigs-open-illegal-firms
  • Commercial banks have closed down almost 200 branches in the past year in a bid to adapt to the rise of digital banking.  Source: https://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/889327

ASEAN/World

  • In response to US Ambassador’s Op-Ed on South China Sea, the Spokesperson of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China published the opinion piece on “US must not exploit South China Sea Issue to Contain China”.—Khaosod English
  • Panitarn Wattanayagorn, Chairman PM’s Security Advisory Committee, views on Thai-US relations in the Indo-Pacific era.—ThaiPBS World
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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