Advance Blog

January 31, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 28 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
8,450 (211 from aboard; 48 from prisons), excluding 2,439 ATKs2,415,472 (last seven days: 53,960)28 (last seven days: 111)83,698/ 528
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
114,087,421 (+465,154)52,218,270 (+43,799)48,437,177 (+82,138)13,431,974  (+339,217)
  • The Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin said that the communicable disease committee has made a decision to agree in principle to designate Covid-19 as an endemic disease. The ministry will administer the process to ensure that the pandemic will be regarded as endemic within this year.—Thai Rath
  • The Transport Minister has expedited the plan to construct the ‘Land bridge’ in Southern Thailand with the aim to connect ASEAN trade.—Thai Rath
  • The Royal Thai Navy said that it will take five more days to clear oil spill caused by a leak from an undersea pipeline 20 km (12.4 miles) off Thailand’s eastern coast. The navy has led the cleanup and said an estimated 5,000 litres (1,321 gallons) of oil remained on the sea surface about 16.5 km offshore and was unlikely to reach the coast soon, as conditions were calm.–Reuters

Politics

  • After the secretary-general of the main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) got expelled with 20 other MPs, the party leader has signed am order to appoint the Deputy Finance Minister Santi to be the party’s secretary-general until there is an election.—Prachachat Turakij
  • It is a matter of days before the by-election in Lak Si district in Bangkok
    • The candidate from the PPRP has turned to the strategy of using PM Prayut popularity to draw the support.–Matichon
      • A former veteran MP from Democrat Party said that the PPRP should use the PM as its main election campaign capital to measure the PM popularity in Bangkok.–Matichon
    • Stithorn Thananitichoke, from King Prajadhipok’s Institute said that despite fierce battles from various political parties, the by-election is the battle between candidate from opposition Pheu Thai Party and the freshly-established Kla Party. The political pundit said that as the Democrat does not file any candidate, it is likely that the Kla candidate who is from the Democrat party can get the Democrat votes.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic

Akara Mine

  • Ministry of Industry is discussing with Australia’s Kingsgate company about deferring the date of the TAFTA arbitrary tribunal by another 3-6 months from its original date of 31 January 2022.  Kingsgate said it will give MoI an answer by 28 January as the ensuing period is a holiday.  MoI noted the Thai government did not order the closure of Akara mine, but had only wanted Kingsgate to adjust its mining procedures to meet the standards of Thaiand’s new law (Mineral Act 2017).  MoI confirmed it had granted to Kingsgate the 4 mining leases for gold and silver mines, effective for 10 years (30 December 2021 – 29 December 2031), as well as Metallurgical Processing license for 5 years (19 January 2022 – 18 January 2027).  These licenses are renewed for the mines that are not subjected to the TAFTA tribunal and are considered normal steps that Kingsgate must undertake to continue its mining activities in Thailand.  Sources:  Matichon, 28 January 2022; Khao Sod
  • Siroj Prasertphon, Managing Director of Akara Resources company in Thailand confirmed that its 4 mining leases and 1 Metallurgical Processing license have been renewed.  Akara Resources stated that it is looking forward to creating employment and generating income for the local communities, while insisting that its mines do not damage the environment.  Source:  Naew Na

RCEP

  • Ministry of Commerce is making internal preparations to help Thai entrepreneurs maximise the benefits offered by RCEP enforcement in South Korea and Malaysia, effective on 1 February and 18 March 2022, respectively.  Being the newest members, Korea will exempt tariff for some 90.7 percent of the items from Thailand, with tariff exempted on 7,843 items on 1 February 2022.  Korea will also provide Thailand with market access to over 413 items.  Meanwhile, Malaysia will exempt the tariffs for over 90 percent of the items imported from Thailand, with exemption applied to 6,590 items on 18 March.  Source:  Inn News

Others

  • PM Prayut has instructed the Board of Investment to speed up its restructuring and adjust its suite of incentives to remain competitive and to attract more investments.  An anonymous source disclosed that the restructuring is needed to support investments in start-ups; smart visa package; and the Long Term Resident visa package which is expected to draw 1 million affluent foreigners into Thailand in 5 years.  DPM Wassanu was assigned to take charge of the restructuring and will work closely with DPM Supattanapong, Office of the Public Sector Development Commission and the PM’s adviser Thosaporn Sirisamphand.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • According to a survey by University of Thai Chamber of Commerce, spending during the Chinese New Year this year will hit the lowest level in 11 years, at 39.6 billion Baht in a third consecutive year of decline.  The spending is also an 11.82 percent decline from year 2021, with consumer spending forecasted to drop by over 5 billion Baht.  This is attributable to consumers having accumulated more household debt just as commodity prices are increasing.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Thai Rath
  • Toyota Motor Thailand expected its car sales to rebound following a slight dip last year to achieve growth of 18.5 percent to 284,000 units in 2022 .  Toyota also looks forward to Electric Vehicle (EV) development by making Thailand its major production base for EVs.  Total car sales in Thailand are expected to increase by 13.3 percent to 860,000 units in 2022, up from 759,119 last year, according to Toyota’s outlook for the whole industry.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) says Southeast Insurance has not been approved for liquidation, stressing that all coverage for policyholders is still in place.  The swift clarification from the OIC followed a statement by the insurance giant to the authorities that it planned to cease operations.  OIC asked the public to remain calm and rest assured Southeast Insurance cannot arbitrarily close its business or terminate their policies without approval from the OIC.  This matter is scheduled for consideration at the OIC board meeting today.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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