Advance Blog

September 20, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 20 September 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
12,709 (858 from prisons); (excluding ATK 1,723)1,489,186 (last seven days: 94,430)3,582/ 7731,341,144 (+11,125)1,460,32329,002,572 (+109,439) BKK: 7,863,347 (+6,741)621,462 (+225) BKK: 197,982 (+ 277)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average positive rate in the last seven days
11,840 [10,962 (get tested in hospital) + 878 (active case finding)]11 (in SQ)132,573 [88,607 in field hospital]346,262 (+2,831)15,469 (+106) (last seven days: 984)44,742,049 (+256,362) BKK: 11,338,733 (+19,400)15,118,015 (+146,698) BKK: 3,277,404 (+12,382)15.24%

Politics

  • The protest to commemorate the 15th year anniversary of the 2006 coup ended with some injured:
    • The car mob led by former Red-Shirt leaders Natthawut Saikreau and Sombat Boonngamanong launched the caravan from Asoke intersection and ended at Democracy Monument around 6.00pm.—Thai Rath
    • There were two bomb-like sound heard opposite of Queen Sirikit Convention Centre when the caravan passed by.—Krungthep Turakij
      • Deputy Police Spokesperson said that there were 4 people hurt-two of which are below 18 years old. The police said that apparently the bombs are brought in with protestors and it went off.—Thai Rath
    • Some of the protesters stayed back and clashed with riot control police at Nang Learng Intersection close to the Government House and adjourned around 10.00pm.—Thai Rath
  • Media are speculating whether the frequent site visits by the PM in the last week would mean he is gearing up for the upcoming election.
    • Daily News and Thai Post have speculated that elections are coming because of the frequency of tours being undertaken by the PPRP and the other coalition partners.—Inside Thailand
    • The new government spokesperson said that media should not politicise the site visit. The spokesperson has affirmed that the coalition will remain in power to the last day of the Parliament term and that there is no need for the House dissolution.–Matichon
  • Nida Poll made a survey on ‘The PM consolidating power’ in expelling two ministers from cabinet. The majority 23.99 percent of the participants said that the PM action has been appropriate; 23.54% said that there is no real conflict within the troika (the PM, Deputy PM Prawit and the Interior Minister Anupong). On question whether the PM should replace Deputy PM Prawit as the main ruling PPRP leader, 56.11% of the people think that the PM should not mess with the PPRP; 21.56 percent think that the PM might not need to be the PPRP leader but must be able to control the party; meanwhile, 16.33% thinks that the PM should replace General Prawit as the PPRP leader. And whether the PM should set up his new political party, more than 66 percent are totally (58.24) or somewhat (7.82) disagrees.—Nida Poll  
  • The freshly appointed PPRP chief strategist General Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya gave an interview with armed force reporter Wassana Nanuam. The reporter saw the appointment of Gen Prawit’s closest confidantes, signals that Gen Prawit wanted to keep his distance from the Sam Mitr faction. And on the reported conflicts within the troika (the PM, the Deputy PM and the Interior Minister), the PPRP chief strategist said that they are brothers, and their bond is unbreakable. It is normal to have disagreements over certain issues, but they always patch up their differences.—Bangkok Post
  • Former Deputy PM and PDRC leader Suthep Thuagsuban gave an exclusive interview with Thai Rath and said that he cannot see anyone who is as capable as PM Prayut. As long as he has not seen anyone who can lead the country like PM Prayut, he will continue supporting the prime minister. The veteran politician-turned-activist said that he believed the coalition under the last day of the House term.—Thai Rath

Analysis/ opinion

  • The proxy war is on between the Prime Minister and the Deputy PM and PPRP leader Prawit. Thai Rath has juxtaposed the Office of The National Anti – Corruption Commission (ONACC) reportedly under DPM Prawit direct control file a case against the PM brother and Interior Minister Anupong as a preamble of and reaction to the clash between the Prayut and Prawit. The Administrative Court order to press ONACC to reveal the information against Prawit notorious borrowed luxurious watches was also seen as a ‘strike back’ by Prayut. The PM has his supremacy only in the cabinet; meanwhile, the Deputy PM has domination over the PPRP and other minute parties which could sting the COVID revitalisation schemes which if not passed due to intra-coalition conflicts, would cause the PM no choice but to resign or dissolve the House.—Thai Rath

Economic:

CPTPP

  • Ministry of Commerce (MoC) said China’s application for CPTPP access will expand the trade pact’s market access, however, it will still be smaller than that of RCEP, which remains the world’s largest FTA.  If China succeeds in joining CPTPP, the trade pact’s economic value will grow to 23.5 trillion USD (30 percent of world GDP) from 10.5 trillion USD, while RCEP’s economic value is 28.5 trillion Baht (36 percent of world GDP).  Commerce Ministry noted that Foreign Affairs Ministry’s International Economic Policy Committee is still considering if Thailand will join the negotiation to accede to the CPTPP.  Their consideration will take into account the China’s as well as the UK’s moves to join CPTPP, such as the benefits offered by larger regional supply chain as well as expanded market access and preferential tariffs.  Source:  Poojadkarn Online  Ban Muang
  • The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) noted that China’s interest in joining CPTPP will have no immediate effects on Thailand’s trade and investment trends since it could take years for accession process to be finalised.  TCC prompts Thailand to join CPTPP negotiation, noting that it is not a commitment but only a negotiation to join the trade pact.  By acceding to CPTPP, Thailand is protecting itself from losing out to other countries that are seem to have a growing interest to accede to CPTPP.  Joining trade pacts will also allow Thailand to benefit from a variety of preferential tariffs and rules of origins when sourcing its raw materials and re-exporting it products.  Source:  Thansettakij

Others

  • PM Prayut is chairing a Fiscal Discipline Committee meeting today to deliberate on whether or not to raise Thailand’s debt ceiling from 60 percent to 70 percent of GDP.  Raising the debt ceiling would allow Thailand to borrow an additional 2 trillion Baht to spur the economy past COVID-19.  Chaired by PM Prayut, the committee is authorised to revise the ceiling every 3 years, including this year. The committee comprises representatives from Finance Ministry, Bank of Thailand, the National Economic and Social Development Council and the Budget Bureau.  As of July 2021, Thailand’s public debt is 56 percent of GDP.  Sources:  Thansettakij   Bangkok Post
  • The Thai government is upbeat about trade prospects with China after it signed a mini-FTA with China’s Hainan province in late August this year. Commerce Minister is keen to sign mini-FTAs with other provinces in China such as Gansu in the north, which is majority Muslim, making it a good match for Thai halal products.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand is prepared to enter an era of fully digital banking services due to the country’s favourable ecosystem, according to the Bank of Thailand.  Thailand has consumers, banks, regulators and infrastructure that are ready to enter the paradigm shift.   However, businesses need to be swift in endorsing infrastructure modernization, digital financial literacy must be promoted among Thais and data privacy protected.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Despite the pandemic, the Merger & Acquisition trend appears to be flourishing particularly in the energy sector, telecomm and hospitality sectors.  Larger conglomerates from abroad are buying smaller firms and local companies are also investing abroad.  The private sector urges the government to capitlise on this opportunity to attract foreign direct investment and for Thailand to focus on regional partnership.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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