Advance Blog

October 27, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 27 October 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)
8,452 (160 from prisons); (excluding ATK 2,653)1,875,315 (last seven days: 63,463)2,355/ 5341,758,297 (+8,449)1,846,45240,717,544  (+ 371,263) BKK: 8,320,207 (+13,123)2,216,334  (+ 38,999) BKK: 606,267 (+6,145)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Percentage of detection rate (past seven days)
8,285 [7,654 (get tested in hospital) + 631 (active case finding)]11 (in SQ)98,096 [55,334 in field hospital]369,377 (+859)18,922 (+57) (last seven days: 463)72,049,529 (+ 812,009) BKK:  178349 (+ 47,342)29,115,651  (+ 401,747) BKK: 5,861,875 (+28,074)13.88%

Politics

  • The turbulence within the main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party to kick the fallen from grace secretary-general Captain Thammanat to be out of position:
    • It is reported earlier that nine party executives have submitted their resignation letters. It would take more than half of the 26 executive resignation letters for the secretary-general to be out of position and nominate a new executive team. It is reported that within the 26 executive members, Captain Thammanat has a direct control of 8 members; while, there are 9 members remains undecided.—Krungthep Turakij
    • It is reported that the Deputy PM and PPRP leader Prawit has made calls to some party executives to withhold their resignation and has called for the party executives to convene for a meeting on 28 October.–Matichon
    • It is reported that Captain Thammanat went to see the PPRP leader on 26 October seeking General Prawit assistance in the putsches.—Inside Thailand
    • Captain Thammanat gave an interview saying that he has no comment on the matter and will leave the restructuring to the party leader decision and he said he will not do anything to counter the putsch.—Thai Rath
    • The potential putsch is reportedly from the secretary-general idea of conducting a poll to determine who can be the MP candidate. But the party leader said that he did not order conducting the poll.
    • Former Election Commissioner said that the PM is risky violate the organic law of the constitution as he was seen to call the PPRP executives in for a meeting and implementing a ploy to oust Thammanat. The organic law stated that there must be no dominance from extra-party figures.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The main opposition Pheu Thai Party is expected to hold its annual convention on 28 October 2021. It is expected that the party leader will resign and nominate a new party leader. It is expected that there are three potential candidates: Tawee Sodsong (opposition Prachachat Party’s secretary-general), Phongthep Thepkanjana (former Deputy PM and Education Minister) and Cholnan Srikaew (vocal veteran MP with close ties to former party chief strategist Sudarat).
    • Cholnan Srikaew gave an interview saying that he will be pleased if he gets the opportunity. He said that if he will be named the party leader, the party will open to everyone, including Sudarat to return to the party. He said that the party will nominate three PM candidates.—Inside Thailand
    • Tawee Sodsong said that legally, it is not possible for him to be the Pheu Thai Party leader and he is determined to keep on working for Prachachat Party.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Meanwhile, Thai Rath pointed out that MP Sutin Klangsaeng is a potential candidate for the party leader.—Thai Rath
  • A vocal MP from the Opposition Move Forward Party said that she and other MPs will use their representative status to bail five student-led leaders being remanded for royal defamation charge.—Krungthep Turakij

ASEAN/ World

  • Media reports from the Government House that PM Prayut is set to attend the COP 26 Summit held in the UK in person, the first time for him to leave the Kingdom since the pandemic started. It is reported that the itinerary will be from 31 October to 3 November.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The White House has revealed that President Joe Biden will attend the US-ASEAN Summit as a dialogue partner. It is expected that POTUS will underline the ASEAN-centrality in resolving regional matters, despite the greater Quad and AUKUS collaborations.—Thai Rath

Analysis/ opinion

  • Editors of Than Settakij and Krungthep Turakij have pointed out that the putsch against Captain Thammanat is occurring for two reasons. One is that as the House will be in session from 1 November and the PM must get the PPRP under control before the government get any bill or decree to be voted in the Parliament. And the other reason is that, once the PPRP is under control, the PM can look for the cabinet reshuffle as he has sacked Thammanat out of position earlier.
    • Cabinet Reshuffle: It is expected that Deputy PM and legal pundit Wissanu and Deputy PM and top diplomat Don will resign from positions due to health issues. This would leave the new cabinet looking like.—Nation TV
Deputy PM (legal)Pirapan Salirathavibhaga (current PPRP leader advisor)
Deputy Interior MinisterChatchai Promlert (Retired Interior Ministry’s permanent secretary)
Deputy Transport Minister*as the minister is closed to Thammanat
Foreign ministerSomeone who can work with the Commerce Minister under Democrat for the upcoming APEC Summit under Thai Chairmanship
Deputy Labour Minister*might not be available anymore
  • Dulyapak Preecharush, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Thammasat University gave an interview on AUKUS and its ramification on the Indo-Pacific Strategy. The historian said that the Indo-Pacific concept could trace back to the idea of oceanic power and British sea colonialism. The academic said that AUKUS will place great challenge on Malaysia (dominance over Malacca Straits) and Indonesia (greater influence of Canberra). Dulapak has suggested an ASEAN armed force to counter-balance the grater dominance over the region by major powers. He has pointed out that the Royal Thai Navy must not use the AUKUS arrangement to legitimise its plan to procure Chinese submarines amidst the pandemic. The security pundit said that Thailand must not take side with neither Beijing nor Washington, but must act as a ‘buffer zone’ in the highly contested region.–Prachatai

Economic:

  • Thailand’s September export increased for a seventh consecutive month, bolstered by the economic recovery of trading partners, a weak Baht and government trade promotions.  In summary, export rose by 17.1 percent YoY in September to tally USD23 billion, while import increased by 30.3 percent to USD 22.42 billion, thereby resulting in a trade surplus of USD 609.8 million.  Export of the real sector (excluding gold, oil related products and weaponry) in September rose by 14.8 percent.  In the first 9 months of this year, export increased by 15.5 percent YoY to USD199.9 billion, with imports leaping by 30.9 percent YoY to USD197.98 billion, thus resulting in a trade surplus of USD 2.01 billion.  Products that saw strong export expansion in September are agricultural and food products; work from home products and home appliances.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Ministry of Commerce press release 
  • The Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) insisted that the construction of high-speed rail linking the 3 airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao will be completed in 4 years as planned.  The EECO dismissed the news that AERA 1, the CP-led consortium that won the bid to build the high-speed rail, is in financial troubles and is unable to secure loans from commercial banks.  EECO clarified that AERA 1 will need to start seeking a loan of around 100 billion Baht in November after the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has delivered 100 percent of the land to AERA 1 and issued a Notice to Proceed. 
  • EECO also noted that the company has submitted a request to postpone for 3 months (from 24 October) the payment of 10.7 billion Baht for the operation transfer to the State Railway of Thailand, saying that revenue from the Airport Rail Link services which it will take over on 25 October is unlikely to meet target due to COVID-19.  To this end, the EECO has established a panel to oversee the re-negotiation of payment contract between AERA1 and SRT.  Sources:  Bangkok Post  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 27 October 2021
  • According to the Bank of Thailand’s poll conducted during the Analyst Meeting which was part of the Bangkok FinTech Fair 2021 on 18 October, analysts have slashed GDP growth forecast for the Thai economy to 0.6 percent this year.  However, they expect recovery to start in Q4 this year, after which the economy is poised to rebound in 2022.  Sources:  Naew Na  Prachachat Turakij
  • Standard Chartered Bank anticipates that the Thai economy will rebound by 3 percent in 2022 following a forecast of 0 percent growth this year.  The bank will revise its 2022 forecast one month after the country’s reopening in November, and GDP can exceed 3 percent only if export, tourism and domestic consumption see strong recoveries.  Standard Chartered Bank added that fiscal policy will continue to be the main economic driver next year for post-COVID19 Thailand.  Source:  Bangkok Post  The Nation TV
  • The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce revealed that modern trade sentiment index rose again after 2 quarters to 47.9 points in Q3, up from 45.3 points in Q2 and 46.3 points in Q1 of 2021.  This is attributable to the relaxation of lockdown measures in October, after which consumers have resumed shopping and retail business is believed to have passed its lowest point.  The index is expected to increase further in Q4 following the country’s reopening in November.  By Q1 2022, modern trade index is forecasted to rise to more than 50 points, fuelled by the government’s co-payment subsidy scheme Khon La Khrueng that is set to inject 45 billion Baht into the Thai economy.  Sources:  Bangkok Post  Thai Rath
  • Pico-finance operators are struggling as NPL have reportedly hit a historically high level some 2 years after COVID-19 crippled the economy.  A pico-finance company in Khon Kaen noted that their NPL have surged to 15-30 percent after COVID-19 struck compared to 8-12 percent in the pre-COVID period. Clients of pico-finance loans are mainly from the grassroot level, such as farmers, housewives and small-time store owners who are unable to access loans from the formal sector.  The pico-finance operators expect the slump to continue until mid-2025 and asked the government for assistance.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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