Advance Blog

March 3, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 3 March 2021

 News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, totally confirmed cases
3526,1086325,483 (at 97.61%)21,871
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
25 [17 (get tested in hospital) + 8 (active case finding)] 10 (in SQ) 541975 (+3)84 (+0)14,557
  • Thai cabinet approved 6.38 billion THB budget to procure 35 million doses of more COVID-19 vaccine with a bid to inoculate at least half of the Kingdom’s population by 2021. The government spokesperson said after the weekly cabinet meeting that the cabinet had a resolution to procure more vaccines from AstraZeneca for the second phase of vaccine roll out which will cover half of the population nationwide from June to December.—Thai Rath
  • The PM said after the cabinet meeting that he has commissioned a study to look into issuing COVID-19 vaccination certificates for international travellers to enter the Kingdom. The scheme will be an step-up effort in reviving the tourism sectors harshly affected by the pandemic. The PM affirmed that the process will be done with caution, as it needed to see the effectiveness of the vaccine first.–Reuters
  • Thai Army held a press conference affirming the earlier report by an investigative outlet Isra News Agency that a Thai peacekeeper in South Sudan was involved in a corruption to jab other peacekeepers with saline solutions while selling the real African flu vaccine to vendors. The Thai Army personnel was sent back to Thailand since March 2020.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • After being issued an arrest warrant by court, Thai dissent singer ‘Amy The Bottom Blues’ was arrested at a rental house in Ayutthaya for allegedly set fire on the King’s portrait at a central prison in Bangkok. Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief gave an interview with a media that the suspect will be transferred to the Police Hospital in Bangkok and will be investigated today.—Inside Thailand, Reuters
    • The suspect is going to be charged with violating the lese majeste law, arson, and computer crime act. The secretary to the Justice Minister said that the penalty from the charges could be as high as a death sentence.—Daily News
    • The authority is also eyeing to press charge against a star who was allegedly an accomplice to the suspect.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Main opposition Pheu Thai secretary-general gave a media interview regarding the Opposition MPs giving assistance to the suspect by saying that the case is a sensitive issue and will need to discuss among the Opposition again.–Matichon
  • There are more signs of resistance on the issue of Constitutional Amendment:
    • Deputy PM Wissanu said this morning that in the process of setting up Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) as being pushed by the Parliament (and has passed the second reading) could be in vain should the Constitutional Court decided that the Parliament does not have the authority to rewrite the Constitution. An MP from the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) has filed the case to the court to seek a verdict on the constitutionality of the proposal.—Daily News
    • A Senator posted on his FB page that even though he voted for the motion on setting up a CDA, but he has considered thoroughly and decided that he will not vote for the third reading of the proposal.–Prachachat
  • The aftermath of the court decision to jail five MPs (three of which are concurrently holding ministerial positions) have led to the cabinet reshuffle and the issue is still ongoing.
    • The PM said that the military line-up will be finalised before the cabinet reshuffle. He said that there will military personnel who intend to leave the armed forces via early retire schemes.–Matichon
  • UN Human Rights Office tweeted on their official channel saying that they are deeply concerned by the rising tensions over past weeks for the use of rubber bullets and tear gas. The UN Human Rights body urge the government to engage in meaningful dialogue with the protest movement.—UN Human Rights

Economic:

CPTPP

  • In commemorating the 60th anniversary of Canadian-Thai diplomatic relationship, Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, HE Dr Sarah Taylor, urges Thailand to accede to CPTPP to enhance its attractiveness as an FDI destination.  Canada stands ready to support Thailand’s accession process.  In this oped, the Ambassador also commends Thailand for making progress in joining RCEP.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 3 March 2021

Others

  • Commerce Ministry revealed that in January 2021, Thailand’s two-way trade with its 18 FTA partners grew by 3 percent MoM to total 25.6 billion USD, making up 64.6 percent of Thailand’s overall trade.  Of this figure, Thai export is valued at 12.2 billion USD (+4.04 percent) with growth seen in the export of agricultural and industrial products.  Top export markets are Australia (+35 percent), New Zealand (+50 percent) and Malaysia (41 percent).  Import totalled 13.4 billion USD (+2.66 percent).  Source:  Department of Trade Negotiations Press Release
  • According to DPM and Energy Minister Supattanapong, the government is revising Thailand’s investment incentives, from reforming regulations to resolving ease of doing business-related issues.  The Board of Investment and Eastern Economic Corridor Office are working on measures that target companies that want to relocate their production bases to Thailand.  To be finalised at the end of March, the incentives will make Thailand more competitive.  DPM Supattanapong is confident that the Thai economy will grow by 4 percent in 2021, despite the official forecast being only 2.7 – 3 percent.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post
  • The Thai National Shippers’ Council forecasted that Thai export in 2021 will grow by 3-4 percent as manufacturing activities and global economies start to recover.  Thai export had already shown signs of rebounding in January 2021 through 2 months of executive growth.  Risk factors for this year include container shortage, Baht appreciation, shortage of migrant labour and international logistics issues.  Sources: Khaosod Bangkok Post
  • Board of Investment (BOI) disclosed that investment value in the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) industries saw a YoY growth of 17 percent in 2020, from 98 billion Baht to 11.5 billion Baht.  The number of applications also grew by 9.8 percent, from 450 to 494 projects.  For 2021, BOI will promote incentives for industries with high growth potential such as the medical and BCG industries.  Sources:  Post Today Thai Government website
  • In Q2 of 2021, the property developer SC Asset expects to launch an initial coin offering (ICO) in what will be the first of its kind in Thailand, after the Securities and Exchange Commission approved trading of real asset tokens this month.  These real estate-backed tokens will be backed by real estate development projects that are tangible and traceable.  If the accomplished, Thailand will be the first country in Asia-Pacific to launch such asset-backed token.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The state-owned Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) aims to launch a 20 billion Baht bad debt guarantee program to assist SMEs whose loans have turned into special mention loans or NPL.  The program will start in April and TCG will provide a maximum claim of 40 percent for financial institutions that are creditors of SME loans.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • New long-term corporate bond issuance tallied 106 billion Baht in the first two months of this year compared to 87.5 billion Baht in 2020.  Corporations are gearing up for a splurge of investment once the economy begins to recover ahead of a potential rise in interest rates.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to raise 50 billion Baht over the next 2 years, according to its business rehabilitation plan submitted yesterday.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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