Advance Blog

January 4, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 4 January 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesAccumulated cases for active case finding among migrant workersDischarged from hospital
+7458,4392,0374,352 (at 51.57%)
Local transmissionFrom abroad Provinces detected confirmed case(s)Death toll
152 +577 (active case finding among migrant workers)16 (in SQ) 5465 (+1 having high blood pressure condition)
  • The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration held its communicable disease committee and made the new set of restrictions, including the takeaway hours for all restaurants and stalls from 07.00 pm – 06.00 am, effective from 6.00 am tomorrow.
  • The CCSA spokesperson said that the agenda of the extension of the Emergency Decree is on the bulletin at the CCSA meeting this afternoon. The spokesperson will update on the resolution tomorrow.
  • The PM gave an interview ahead of the meeting with CCSA that the government does not want to impose lockdown measures and would like to ask for people’s cooperation. The PM said “if one does not want to get infected, one must not go outside. If everyone thinks like this, it will be safe”.—Thai Post
  • After a famous virologist from Chulalongkorn University revealed that Thailand has seen four confirmed cases of the virulent new coronavirus strain from UK in state quarantine and has assured that the new strain is securely contained—Thai PBS The director-general of the Disease Control Department said in order to boost people’s confidence, the ministry will make recommendation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to postpone the flights from UK to enter Thailand until having more information.—Thai Rath
  • Yesterday, the PM signed two orders under the Emergency Decree. One is to designate 28 provinces as highly controlled areas (see attached). And the other is on regulations to remedy the Emergency Situation, see the infographic provided by the Thai PR Department attached.
  • Useful official sites:

Politics

  • Six opposition parties are scheduled to meet today to discuss on the file a censure debate motion primarily targeting at the holy trinity of the government (PM Prayut, Deputy PM Prawit and Interior Minister Anupong). The Opposition aims to grill the government in mid-February.–Prachachat

Economic (kindly supplied by Khun Duangporn)

Economic Forecast for 2021

  • For 2021, Finance Ministry said it will speed up budget disbursement and public spending; revamp tax structure to incentivise investment in new, value-added technologies and nurse Thailand’ economic growth back to pre-COVID19 level.  Economists have slashed Thailand’s 2021 economic growth projection in light of the delay in the return of international tourists as COVID-19 re-emerges in Thailand.  Some forecast that growth next year would average 2-3 percent and could fall below 2 percent if the infection could not be contained.   Source: The Nation, Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 4 January 2021, 
  • The Office of Agricultural Economic projects that Thailand’s agriculture GDP in 2021 will grow by 1.3-2.3 percent as export of Thai meat, poultry, crops and fishery could benefit from the recovering global economies.  The FTAs that Thailand is currently negotiating would also widen Thailand’s export opportunities to other markets.  In 2020, Thailand’s agriculture GDP declined by -3.3 percent YoY due to export constraints caused by the pandemic and the persistent drought.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Thai Rath
  • For 2021, the Bank of Thailand is monitoring 3 issues comprising 1) the resurgence of COVID-19 and its effects on economic recovery; 2) the slump in Thai exports caused by lockdown of other countries and 3) the Thai labour market, in which unemployment and Social Security compensatiosn remain high.  Jobless workers in the social security system accounted for 7.8 per cent of total unemployment in November, compared to 8.1 percent in October. Those receiving compensation payments accounted for 4.7 percent, little change from 4.9 percent in October.  SourcesMCOT Channel  The Nation
  • National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) identified unemployment in the tourism sector, higher household debt (83.8 percent of GDP as of Q2 of 2020) and SMEs’ liquidity issues as the 3 key areas of concerns for 2021.  NESDC advised the government to speed up FY2021 annual budget disbursement to reach 94.4 percent of total budget and accelerate private investment as well as incentivise factories to upgrade their technologies by importing machinery to counter the strong Baht.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Major tourism destinations concur that international tourists are unlikely to fully return to Thailand  in 2021.  They expect recovery to start in 2022, depending on the pandemic outbreak and vaccine development.  Business operators in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Samui urge the government to provide clarity on the STV scheme and Alternative State Quarantine arrangements to ease their struggles.  Of the 660 hotels operating in Samui, only 180 are now operating, while Pattaya’s tourism revenue dropped to 40 billion in 2020 compared to the previous revenue of 240 billion.  Chiang Mai said that if Thailand reopens in 2021, it may achieve only 40 percent of tourism revenue.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • Finance Ministry has asked hotel operators nationwide to allow those who made reservations under the ‘Rao Tiew Duay Gun’ or ‘We Travel Together’ scheme from 2 December onwards to postpone their check-in date from 6-12 months free of charge.  Krungthai Bank is adjusting the scheme’s payment system to accommodate the postponements.  Finance Ministry would also propose to the cabinet the extension of the scheme to 31 October.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The export of farm, fishery and livestock products to 18 countries that Thailand has FTAs with inched up 1 per cent YoY in the first 11 months of 2020 to 13.52 billion USD, according to Commerce Ministry.  In November, the export of farm goods to these countries grew 12 percent MoM to 1.23 billion USD.  This includes export to Australia, which has lifted import tariffs for Thai rice and rubber products.  Source:  The Nation
  • BOT disclosed that in November 2020, the Thai economy continued to recover as indicated by expansions in private consumption and investment in addition to public spending.  However, recovery remained uneven with the tourism sector continuing to experience contractions.  Thailand reported a 1.9-billion USD trade surplus in November, with merchandise export seeing smaller declines of -3.1 percent and import of -3.3 percent YoY.  Month-on-Month, November saw a 1.5-billion-USD trade deficit compared to October’s trade surplus of 0.99 billion USD.  Sources:  Bank of Thailand press release Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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