Advance Blog

February 3, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 3 February 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, totally confirmed cases from clusters
79521,2496314,001 (at 68.89%)16,217
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
783 [24(get tested in hospital) + 759 (active case finding)] 12 (in SQ) 7,169799 [795 reported by BMA yesterday + 4 by CCSA today]79 (+0)11,547
  • Deputy Secretary-General of the Thai FDA revealed with Reuters that Johnson & Johnson is seeking Thailand’s approval for its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is the third COVID-19 vaccine seeking registration from Thailand, following AstraZeneca and Chinese Sinovac.–Reuters

Politics

  • The crack within the coalition remains salient as:
    • Deputy PM Prawit and Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) leader said the main coalition party does not have a problem with coalition Democrat Party, even the former is going to file their candidate in the by-election in a Democrat stronghold province. The party leader said that it is just the media trying to stir the conflicts.
    • On intra-PPRP conflict regarding the nomination of BMA governor, the DPM said that he does not think to nominate anyone, not to mention to nominate under the PPRP candidacy.–Matichon
  • The coalition whip revealed that the cabinet has approved the censure debate to be held from 16-19 February and the vote will be held on 20 February.  The whip from PPRP said that, for unity purpose, the party’s MPs will vote for all ministers in the censure motion. The whip also affirmed that there is no secret deal with the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party, saying that should there is a secret deal, the allegation the Opposition-led by the Pheu Thai Party made against the government must have been softer.–ThaiPBS
  • Freshly established royalist Thai Pakdee Party is launching a campaign to collect 100,000 signatures against the prospective Move Forward Party’s proposal to amend the royal defamation law (lese majeste).—Than Settakij

Economic:

Cabinet’s Decisions, 2 February 2021

  • Government-certified blue flag shops, entrepreneurs that operate through trucks and shops that have enrolled in the co-payment subsidy scheme Khon La Krueng are now eligible to register for the cash handout under the Rao Chana scheme by registering through www.เราชนะ.com from 29 Jan – 31 March 2021.  Since 29 January, some 8.2 million people have registered through the Rao Chana website.  Source:  Manager Online  Prachachat Turakij

Others

  • Thailand is the 6th largest investor in Myanmar, with 150 companies currently investing in Vietnam in a range of sectors, according to Board of Investment (BOI).  With the sudden change in Myanarm’s leadership, most Thai investors are taking a wait and see approach, with a few deciding to hold back investment plans.  The case in point is Kasikorn Bank, which is postponing its merger plan with Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Development Bank : A bank for 1 year.  Thailand’s Amata Corporation will also halt its 140 million Baht first-phase investment in the Yangon Amata Smart and Eco City (YASEC) until a new election takes place in Myanmar.  Sources:  Prachahcart Turakij, 4-7 February 2021, Thansettakij 3 February 2021, Bangkok Post
  • COVID-19 outbreak has caused a structural shift in Thailand’s food industry.  Industry Ministry reported that most businesses that have shut down are suppliers of food produce and ingredients to restaurants and hotels, which constitute 50-70 percent of the industrial food segment.  However, health and pet food saw a 20 percent growth.
  • Industry Ministry reported that in 2020, some 719 factories with investment worth 42 billion Baht have ceased operation, causing almost 30,000 to become unemployed.  However, this figure is better than in 2019 where 1,391 factories have shut down.  Moreover, the number of new factories that opened in 2020 surged to 3,324 with investments totaling 325 billion Baht.  It created employment for 187,088 people, mostly in industrial food sector.   Industry Ministry remains optimistic that despite the COVID-19 outbreak last year, businesses are still expanding, indicating that investors are still keen to invest in Thailand.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij, 4-7 February 2021
  • Federation of Thai Capital Market Organization (FETCO) said Investor Confidence Index in January 2021 rose by 1.5 percent from December 2020. In the next 3 months, investor confidence is expected to remain in the bullish territory, boosted largely by foreign inflow, the prospect of COVID-19 vaccine and higher earnings of listed companies.  FETCO expects foreign investment to flow into Thailand in the second half of 2021, when tourism starts to recover wherein Thai shares will continue to be on the uptrend in 2022.  Sources:  Naew Na Bangkok Post
  • Export this year could surge above 3-4 percent on the condition that the government curb the strong Baht and fix the container shortage problem, said the Thai National Shippers’ Council.  It will discuss this issue with Commerce Ministry tomorrow.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand have agreed to amend the soft loan decree to allow SMES to better access low-interest loan.  Amendment process is set to start in September, but must first be approved by the parliament’s commission committee first.  Available since last year, the BOT’s 500 billion Baht soft loan for SMEs was slow to gain traction, with only 120 billion Baht disbursed to SME borrowers.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Suzuki Motor Thailand reported that its domestic car sales rose by 7 percent YoY in 2020 to 25528 units, owing much to its marketing and sales strategies that adopted a customer-centric approach.  This is in a stark contrast to the overall domestic car sales in Thailand that decreased by 21.4 percent YoY to 792146 units.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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