Advance Blog

April 20, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 20 April 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,44345,1857728,985 (at 64.09%)16,322571,825
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,441 [1,328 (get tested in hospital) + 113 (active case finding)] 2 (in SQ) 16,1193,965(+350)108 (+4)20,70794,385
  • The PM said after the weekly cabinet meeting that there will be 500,000 more SinoVac vaccines due to arrive in Thailand on 24 April and 1 million more doses are expected in May. The PM added that now the National Vaccine Institute is negotiating with Pfizer and expect to procure 5 to 10 millions doses in the latter half of 2021.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The PM announced after the weekly cabinet meeting that he will not attend the special ASEAN Summit to be held in Jakarta this Saturday to discuss the situation in Myanmar. The PM said he has designated the deputy PM and Foreign Minister Don to attend.—Thai Government Spokesperson Reuters
  • The government vaccine roll-out strategy was taken the greatest hit as CEOs from 40 Thai conglomerates expressed their concerns over the government procurement and rollout strategies with merely 0.4 percent of the population getting vaccinated. The inaugural private sector virtual meeting held by Thai Chamber of Commerce and issued a press release saying CEOs of all the 40 largest conglomerate see the current vaccine rollout as very slow for the plan to reopen the country to international visitor by July.—Khao Sod, Siam Rath, BBC Thai
  • The governor of the Bank of Thailand also came out to criticise the vaccine rollout strategy saying that the most significant measure to revitalise the economy is sufficient vaccination. All other measures are only buying time. He said if the pandemic is not solved, the vicious cycle of spreading will persist.–Prachachat
  • A royalist ‘The Peoples of Thailand’ went to submit a letter to the US Embassy asking the US government not to use democracy and human rights to interfere in Thai domestic affairs. The group handed over a statement saying that there is an Embassy staff (named Agent H) who is linked to a leader of student-led protestor and ask the embassy to stop that contacts.—Top News

Economic:

Free Trade Agreements (FTA)

  • The government is promoting stronger integration between farmers, the state and private sectors to boost Thailand’s farm exports through FTAs.  Incidentally, Thailand’s farm export to 18 countries via 13 FTAs showed potential amidst COVID-19 outbreak last year, growing by 2.3 percent compared to 2019.  This year, vegetable export forecasted to increase YoY the most (1.9 -2.9 percent), followed by livestock (1-2 percent) and fishery (0.1-1.1 percent).  The integration of various sectors will strengthen the entire value chain, from bolstering farming skills and quality control to marketing and retailing.  Sources:  Thai Government website Bangkok Post
  • Commerce Ministry noted that trade through FTAs is pivotal in helping Thailand overcome global economic slowdown, shipping container shortage and Baht appreciation. In 2020, Thailand’s trade with its FTA partners constituted 61 percent of total Thai export value.  Export of agricultural products such as chilled pork soared by as much as 259 percent.  Thailand’s export to its FTA partners from Jan – Feb 2021 also rose by 24.3 percent YoY.  The spikes were most notable in agricultural and processed agricultural products, rubber and frozen fruits sent to China, ASEAN and South Korea.  MoC sets sights on promoting farmers to take advantage of the privileges offered by various FTAs, such as coffee which could be exported to 14 FTA partners (including Australia) free of tariff.  Source:  Prachahcart Turakij

Others

  • Finance Ministry reported that a total of 32.8 million people had received the cash handout through the Rao Chana scheme as of 19 April 2021.   Through their spending, they have injected 199,944 million Baht into the economy.  Source:  Matichon
  • The Bank of Thailand asserted that the current Covid-19 outbreak was highly uncertain and that it is discussing with relevant agencies to help retail debtors.  To this end, the BOT will be enforcing 2 measures later this week, comprising the 250 billion Baht soft loan under revised term and the 100 billion Baht asset warehousing program for debt restructuring.  Applicants must apply by next Monday.  Source:  Bangkok Post Bangkok Post
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) will tomorrow review its forecast for Thailand’s 2021 GDP, asserting that GDP would drop by 0.5 – 1 percent if the government could control the pandemic outbreak by April or May.   Meanwhile, the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) convened a virtual meeting with 40 member CEOs to move forward its Connect the Dot campaign.  Its goal is to support the government’s vaccination rollout plan and ensuring that 70 percent of those living in Bangkok are vaccinated by the end of 2021.  Among its plans is to procure an additional 30 million doses of vaccines for private hospitals to help inoculate Thais.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij Bangkok Post Daily News
  • The Airlines Association of Thailand insists the government speed up the vaccination program to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and also pushed for the reopening of Phuket through the sandbox model.  If the government could control the outbreak in 1 month, the aviation industry might not need to resort to layoffs even if it has yet to recover from the previous outbreak.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Office of Trade Competition Commission (OTCC) will step up inspections of business merger & acquisition activities this year, especially in the e-commerce sector.  It expects the pandemic to change the market structure, in which monopolies will emerge and SMEs will disappear.  The rise of e-commerce will also impact the SMEs that operate offline.  The popularity of e-commerce is evident in the 4 percent increase in the value of e-commerce transactions to 4 trillion Baht in 2019 compared to 2018.  This figure represents ¼ of Thailand’s GDP.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) reported that land sales and leases decreased by 66.1 percent in the first six months of FY 2021, however, investment value was still on the rise.  From October 2020 to March 2021, investment value increased by 288 percent YoY to reach 106 billion Baht.  The rise is the result of commercial operations of investors in industrial estates over the past 1-2 years, reflecting that planned investments are gaining momentum despite the sluggish economy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Bangkok fell 19 places to become the 49th most expensive location worldwide for international executive-standard accommodation, according to ECA International.  The decline reflects the severe impact that Covid-19 had on the rental market in the tourism-reliant Thai economy, as well as Vietnam.  Australian cities fell in the rankings, with Sydney plunging 10 places to 46th position.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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