Advance Blog

June 4, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 4 June 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)
2,631 (189 from prisons)171,9791,182/ 376120,697143,1162,727,759 (+24,786) (= 3.836% of the population)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,391 [1,306 (get tested in hospital) + 1,085 (active case finding)]51 (in SQ)50,105 [28,638 in field hospital]44,936 (+824)1,177 (+31)3,961,5891,233,830 (+31,233) (=1.7 % of the population)
  • It is expected that the PM will head the CCSA economic meeting to endorse the timeline for the reopening of 10 provinces to international tourists. The prototype of this scheme will begin with Phuket Sandbox aiming to welcome international tourists from 1 July.—Manager, Prachachat Turakij

◦              The head of Phuket Tourist Association gave an interview that he is afraid that the timeline might not be realised as there have been a lot of mismanagements and miscommunications.—Inside Thailand 

Politics

•             Today marked one year anniversary of the disappearance of Thai dissent exiled in Cambodia Wanchalearm Satsaksit.

◦              This morning, relatives to Wanchalearm went to the Ministry of Justice and other related agencies to call for their actions in investigating the whereabouts of Wanchalearm.—Matichon

◦              Thai Rath ran a long report to mark the incident, arguing that the disappearance of Wanchalearm led to the minor white bow movement, then to student-led mass protests later in the year. Since the coup in 2014, there have been nine people disappeared with two found dead. The so-called ‘neither allowed to stay nor die’ direction led to the use of enforced disappearance.—Thai Rath

◦              Democratic foreign embassies in Thailand posted similar messages denouncing the enforced disappearance on the day.—Voice TV, Krungthep Turakij, The Nation

•             The budget bill passed its first reading on Wednesday with 268 MPs voted for and 201 voted against with two abstains.—Prachachat Turakij

◦              There were however four MPs from Opposition Move Forward Party voted for the government proposals.—Isra News

◦              The Natural Resources and Environment Minister and ruling Chatthai Pattana Party MPs did not vote for the bill. He said that it was not intentional, rather he was in the middle of nominating names for the committee to deliberate the bill in the second reading.—Krungthep Turakij

◦              A ‘highlight’ in the budget committee see Reungkrai Leekijwatana, formerly affiliated with Pheu Thai Party, joined the committee to deliberate the second reading of the bill under the quota of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP). —Thai Rath

◦              Timeline: When the first reading is passed, the House will have 90 days to deliberate in the second reading (from 7 June to 12 August). The third reading will be from 13 August. The Senator will also vote on the bill on 23-24 August before ascend to the King for endorsement.

•             After Reungkrai joined the budget committee under the PPRP quota, the government whip said that the legal pundit from Pheu Thai Party has been the PPRP member. And if Reugnkrai joined the PPRP is of people’s interest, in the next election, the government whip said there will be a ‘bigger surprise’.—Krungthep Turakij

•             The PPRP is scheduled to hold its annual convention on 20 June when it is expected to see a great power play for the party’s executive positions. The convention, which has been deferred for several times since April as the Kingdom saw the third pandemic surge, will be held in Khon Kaen which has lesser infection compared to Bangkok.—Krungthep Turakij

•             Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit gave an exclusive interview to Daily News urging the government to declare a clear timeline to solve the pandemic and political conflicts, including with amending the Constitution within six months. The Minister from third largest ruling Democrat Party said the PM should dissolve the Parliament in December, provided that the pandemic situation gets better. The exclusive will be published tomorrow.—Daily News

Analysis/opinion

•             Krungthep Turakij wrote an article arguing that the political faith of the Deputy PM, Public Health Minister and Bhumjaithai Party (BJT) leader Anutin is in deep peril as it is believed that the PM aims to retaliate the BJT MPs inflammatory comments against him. Moreover, as the covid situation seems to get better, taking back Public Health and get the full credit when it is solved seems to be politically viable choice for the PM. The article also mentioned that having Anutin as the party leader serves Newin Chidchob who is ‘the real BJT leader’ better than serving the interest of the party’s MP. The Party MPs felt disappointed that Anutin could not use the public health volunteer network under the ministry control to maximise BJT political interests. It is also reported that as all canon from the inner circle of the PM aims at Anutin, his political journey lies on whether Newin could break a deal with the PM to keep Anutin in position.—Krungthep Turakij

◦              Matichon also argued that it is likely that the PM will wage a ‘lesson war’ against Anutin and BJT.—Matichon

Australia

  • It is reported that a Rescue Centre in Krabi found a deceased Australian who was understood to fell from the yacht.—New Na

Economic News Summary:

  • PM Prayut will today chair a CESA meeting to finalise the reopening plan of Thailand’s tourism, as well as new incentives for foreigners to invest in the real estate sector.   In discussion will also be the 50 percent government co-payment scheme to help SMEs retain employment, to be funded by the 500 billion Baht loan.  The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) will work with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and Thai Chamber of Commerce to identify SMEs eligible for the measure.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post The Nation
  • Thailand’s Manufacturing Production Index in April soared by 18.46 percent YoY, which is the highest surge in 8 years while capacity utilisation was 59 percent.  The MPI is boosted by higher production of automobiles, beer and air conditioners and is also partly the result of low-base effect.  The third wave of COVID-19 outbreak is not expected to affect supply chains and will therefore not significantly impact overall industrial output.  Source:  Reuters
  • Inflation in May increased for a second consecutive month by 2.44 percent YoY, but declined by 0.93 percent compared to April.  While higher prices of energy and food drove up inflation, it is also depressed by government’s subsidies of utility bills.  From January – May 2021, inflation rose by 0.83 percent, while core inflation expanded by 0.23 percent YoY.  Commerce Ministry forecasted that in 2021, inflation will range from 0.7 – 1.7 percent.  Sources:  MCOT  Reuters
  • Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has revised its 2021 GDP forecast for the Thai economy down to a +1.9 from a +2.0 percent growth; attributing the minimal revision to export which could grow by +15 percent.  Nevertheless, it expects the third pandemic outbreak to be contained in July, will incur an economic loss of 310 billion Baht.  Domestic consumption will remain low and SCB expects the number of international tourist arrivals is at 400,000 instead of its original forecast of 1.5 million.  SCB agrees with the government’s recent move to secure 500 billion Baht worth of loan and anticipates the government to immediately spend 100 billion Baht within 2021.  In Q1 of 2021, household debt could reach 91 percent and unemployment will peak in Q2.  Overall, SCB projects the Thai economy to recover to pre-Covid levels by early 2023.

Source: Bangkok Post   Prachachart Turakij

  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) expects the Thai economy to recover to pre-COVID-19 level in Q1 of 2023; a delay from its original projection of Q2/Q3 of 2022 as the third wave of COVID-19 ravages the economy and reduce the debt serviceability of businesses and SMEs.  BOT reiterates that vaccination is the key to reviving the economy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai Restaurant Association (TRA) estimated that the sector is losing 1.4 billion Baht per day under the current COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the government.  Some 50,000 restaurants have closed over the past 2 months, either temporarily or permanently, while up to 500,000 workers have lost their jobs.  TRA projected at least 10,000 restaurants to go out of business completely by the end of the outbreak.  It also bemoans the lack of government’s assistance to their sector, which might perish even when tourism resumes.  Source:  Reuters  Thai PBS World
  • The Finance Ministry (MoF) is set to adjust its mid-term fiscal plan following the government’s issuing of the 500-billion-Baht loan decree. This mid-term plan, which covers years 2022-2025, was approved by the cabinet in December 2020.  The adjustment is made in light of the lower state revenue collection anticipated for this year.  In the first 7 months of FY 2021, the government’s collection of net revenue totalling 1.22 trillion Baht is already 128 billion Baht below the target. Under the mid-term fiscal plan, the MoF expects the government to post revenue of 2.40 trillion baht in 2022, 2.49 trillion in 2023, 2.62 trillion in 2024 and 2.75 trillion in 2025.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has introduced a new auto loan debt mediation program to help 100,000 borrowers with 38 billion Baht worth of car loans outstanding, effective until 31 July 2021. The scheme covers the borrowers 1) whose debt is not classified as NPLs 2) had their cars seized, but the cars have not been sent to auction and; 3) had their cars sent to auction and they still have a debt burden.  Total car loans outstanding for both banks and non-banks total 2.5 trillion Baht from 6.6 million car loan accounts. Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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