Advance Blog

October 2, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 2 October 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports six newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,575 cases. Out of the total number, 3,384 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.66%); 132 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 59. The newly confirmed cases are returnees from the South Sudan, India (2), UAE (2) and Japan (1). All have been in state quarantine since.

Politics

  • A media reports that the PM has submitted the nomination of the vacant Finance Minister to the King for endorsement. The media quotes a source higher-up in the Government House that it is highly likely that Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the former Transport Minister during junta period will take the seat. The reason why Mr Arkhom is the most likely candidate is the reason that he has been the PM’s counsellor for years. The source said the new Finance Minister will likely take the position by mid-October.–Prachachart
  • The new Army Chief has led a ceremony to pledge its allegiance to the Chakri Dynasty. –Thai Post
  • The PM gave an interview to the media saying that he has ascended the budget bill for the King approval. He said “I think it has been ascended, I have signed a lot of thing recently.”—Siam Rath
  • At the Interior Ministry, the Interior Minister and the Election Commission’s Secretary-general said that the ministry will put the local election agenda on the weekly cabinet meeting bulletin this Tuesday. –Naew Na

Business:

EEC

  • PM Prayut held a meeting with 16 corporations based in Thailand and overseas at Leam Chabang seaport yesterday, thanking them for expanding their investments in the Eastern Economic Corridor.  The premier said the next focus will be on developing Laem Chabang port into an international sea port that link to the provinces in the Southern Economic Corridor and potentially to South Asian nations along the Indian Ocean.
  • The attending corporations, such as  such as PTT Global Chemical and WHA Utilities and Power, called on the government to eliminate the weak points in infrastructure development.  They also asked that the government revise its investment incentives to lure more foreign investors as well as fix the land and water shortage problems during this time of economic recession.  Source:    Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post
  • Construction for the 12.3-billion-Baht Smart Park in Rayong province is set to start next year and will be completed in 3 years.  Overseen by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, the Smart Park is envisaged as the first high-tech industrial estate in the EEC to serve the S-Curve industries, and will be split into 4 zones, namely industrial area; commercial area; infrastructure and facilities area; and green and buffer zones.  It is projected to contribute 529 billion Baht to Thailand’s GDP and creates 7,459 jobs.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The 8 low-cost airlines urge the government to give a definite answer on whether they will be given the 24 billion Baht soft loan with 5-year repayment term, which they requested 6 months ago.  Air Asia has complied with the government’s request to keep the employees, but it is struggling with the financial burden of maintaining the payroll.  Finance Ministry is considering their soft loan request and will announce a decision soon.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Krungthep Turakij
  • Thailand climbed one spot to 39th out of the 63 countries in IMD World Competitiveness Centre’s Digital Competitiveness ranking for 2020.  This is attributable to Thailand’s investment in technology, namely the adoption of 5G.  However, Thailand needs to improve on its knowledge factor to enhance future competitiveness.  Thailand also climbed up the rank for future readiness factor, supported by improvements in e-government services and participation.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The hospitality industry in Thailand and Asia will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024 at the earliest, according to hospitality marketing analyst firm, STR.  This is based on the assumption that COVID-19 vaccine is successfully developed in Q1 of 2021 and that recovery will start in Q2 of 2021.  STR reported that Thai hotels have an average occupancy rate of 15 percent from June 6 until August 31, peaking at 30 percent during the weekend.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Global demand for rubber gloves and rubber tyres have risen significantly as the global economies recover following the easing of the lockdown measures.  To this end, Commerce Ministry expects rubber export to rise by 3.19 percent and fetch 359 billion Baht in 2020.  Specifically, the soaring demand for protective rubber gloves has driven Thailand’s rubber glove export up by 38.5 percent YoY in the first 7 months of 2020.  Domestically, rubber consumption is likely to rise slightly this year due to the government’s para-soil cement road construction projects in 45 provinces.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) has kick-started its effort to forge an FTA with the European Free Trade Association (Efta), which consists of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.  DTN has hired the Institute of Future Studies for Development to study the benefits and impacts of a Thai-Efta FTA.  It is likely to propose the outcome of the study and schedule public hearings early next year.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1994519/thailand-tries-to-get-efta-pact-in-place

Analysis/opinion

  • The new Pheu Thai Party’s executive is nothing but the internal coup to rid former Strategy Chief Sudarat out of the party’s executive. This would mean a strong signal for the national reconciliatory government as the Sudarat’s wing is seen as more hardliner against the PM. Should the national government ‘deal’ is taken, the real pressure will be placed upon Democrat and Bhumjaithai Party to make sure they are still needed.—Thai Rath
  • An analysis of Pheu Thai’s restructuring and the potential of inviting former Transport Minister Chatchart back into the party is nothing but an attempt to attract more young voters. The real threat to Pheu Thai Party is Future Forward—Move Forward Parties as they lost the leadership role to the parties.—Khao Sod
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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