Advance Blog

August 6, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 6 August 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports two newly confirmed case, a total of 3,330 cases. Out of the total number, 3,148 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.53%); 124 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are Thai nationals returned from the US and have been in state quarantine since. This is the 73rd consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.

Politics

  • Breaking: A media reports that the PM told the press that he has already submitted the new cabinet line-up to HM the King. The next process is for the King to give endorsement and then the new cabinet will give an oath. All the process, the PM has affirmed, will be finished by mid-August.—The Reporters
  • Political parties are voicing their opinions on constitutional amendment:
    • Deputy PM and Democrat party leader Jurin briefed the press that the 52 seats coalition party will seek cooperation from other parties to introduce the draft. The third largest coalition party aims to amend section 256 (Constitutional amendment). Democrat Party, however, said that they have no opinion regarding the role of the Senate.—Nation TV
    • The secretary-general of the newly established Kla Party voiced the party stance on charter amendment that amending section 256 is not enough; section 272 (which allows the junta hand pick Senate to join the House in voting for the PM nomination) should be amended too.—Nation TV
  • A media reports on the possible Bangkok governor election as a political tactic to reduce pressure against the government. It is estimated earlier that the Police Chief Chakthip will run for the gubernatorial seat as the main ruling PPRP candidate. Meanwhile, a source said that the Move Forward Party and Progressive Movement might nominate Professor Suchatchavee Suwansawas, the rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang to be the Bangkok governor candidate.—Thai Rath
  • The organiser of the Free People Movement (formerly Free Youth Movement) announced that, after they scheduled to hold a mass rally last Saturday, the newly established movement will hold a press conference on 7 August and will announce the next mass movement.—Thai Rath
  • Apiwat Kantong, vice minister of the Office of the Prime Minister, filed a complaint against human rights lawyer Anon Nampa accusing him of defaming the monarchy and violating the public health regulations of the emergency decree. Anon, on Monday, demanded reforms to the monarchy. The lawyer said the government has allowed the monarchy to exercise his power to be above the constitutional monarchy regime has allowed.–Prachatai

Business:

  • The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the policy rate at a record low of 0.50 percent at its meeting yesterday.  BOT asserts that policy interest rate cannot be a key driver of Thailand’s economic growth, instead citing fiscal as well as monetary policies and economic restructuring as the main engines.  BOT also highlighted its concern for the strong Baht.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) downgraded Thailand’s 2020 economic growth to a decline of 7-9 percent and is convinced there are no positive signs to attract investors into Thailand in the second half of this year.  A panel will also be established at the end of August to propose an economic rehabilitation plan to the new economic cabinet.  In the pipeline are also plans to establish committees focusing on economic reform and tax measures to help businesses affected by the pandemic.  Source:  Bangkok Post   Thansettakij
  • Monthly social security contributions by employers and employees will be cut for the second time as part of the Covid-19 relief measure after it was approved by the cabinet earlier this week.  Contributions from the employer and employee will be reduced from 5 to 2 percent from September until November.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The price of domestic gold continues to reach all-time highs as prices quoted in US dollars surge past USD2,000 an ounce, with month-to-date online gold futures logging heavy trading volume.  Month-to-date trading volume was 35,682 contracts on Wednesday on the Thailand Futures Exchange, compared with 34,681 contracts in the whole month of July. This could come to a halt if a COVID-19 vaccine is successfully developed.  Source: Bangkok Post

CPTPP

  • FTA Watch has been monitoring the 5th August CPTPP virtual meeting in Mexico, in which no other countries had shown intention in acceding to the trade pact.   FTA Watch praises the new-generation Thais for querying the government’s trade and economic policies, which led to the establishment of the parliament sub-committee on CPTPP and opened up a platform for the previously-oppressed dissident voices.  FTA Watch also showed support for the 3 requests put forth by the youth movement, namely to stop harassing dissident voices, to draft a new constitution and to dissolve of the parliament and start a new election.  Source:  https://www.isranews.org/article/isranews/90933-cptpp.html

Tourism

  • Tourism operators proposed the ‘Safe and Sealed’ plan to the Tourism and Sports Ministry to replace the travel bubble scheme.  This plan will allow foreign travellers to visit Thailand in Q4, but only from cities with no infections for at least 30 days under conditions set by tour operators in designated hotels and provinces.  It is expected to draw 500,000 tourists and generate 50 billion Baht in revenue. Tourism operators also called for the government to establish a tourism fund to provide soft loans, given that Thai hotel sector saw 30-40 percent of 1.5 million jobs vanish in the past 6 months and just 50 percent of hotels have reopened.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • A 6-billion Baht tourism community development plan is being considered by NESDC to develop 10,000 new tourism communities and upgrade existing ones to spur the local economy.  The plan, proposed by the National Village and Urban Community Office, seeks an allocation from the 400 billion Baht budget the government set aside for economic and social rehabilitation as part of the Stimulus Phase III package.  Source: Bangkok Post

Automotive

  • Toyota Motor Thailand reported its domestic sales fell in the first half this year by 45 percent YoY to 94,222 units and also reduced its domestic sales target to 220,000 cars.  Overall, total car sales in Thailand dropped by 37.3 percent to 328,604 units in the first 6 months.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • In April, manufacturers of auto parts had to cut their production capacity to 30 percent, with around 80-90 percent of the companies temporarily closing down.  Since June, most companies were able to rev up their production capacity to 50 percent due to the resumption of businesses, yet production capacity is not expected to reach 80 percent this year.  Currently auto part production relies on demands for new cars, given that 80 percent of the auto parts are supplied to OEM car manufacturers and 20 percent are used as spare parts.  Source: Thansettakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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