Advance Blog

July 8, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 8 July 2020

News  

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today Thailand reports two newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,197 cases. Out of the total number, 3,074 have been discharged from hospital; 65 are being hospitalised (at 96.15%). The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are Thais who returned from India and Indonesia and have been in the state quarantine since. This is the 44th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.

Politics

  • Media has been alerted that the Army Chief Apirat will hold a press conference this afternoon on two issues: the army invitation of the US Army Chief to Thailand with exemption of quarantine and the rumours over the weekend that Gen Apirat will extend his terms as the Army Chief after his retirement the end of September. As for the first issue, there was a report that the Royal Thai Army has asked other authorities to clear all COVID-19 restrictions to the first foreign group to visit Thailand. This exemption has sparked a public sentiment of CCSA hypocrisy.
    • An opinion piece quote Dr Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political scientist, who said that the two army chiefs are scheduled to sign the “Strategic Vision Statement”.—Thai Post
    • Opinion piece speculating the reason why the US Army Chief choose to visit Thailand amidst the pandemic points out the visit aims to win over Thailand in regional Sino-US spats. Media quoted bit and pieces of the US Army Chief’s vision of American defence in Indo-Pacific, including the establishment of a new US base with short-range missiles to deter Chinese more advanced defence technology.—Post Today
  • Related to the issue of cruelty against monkey in coconut business, the secretary-general of the newly established Kla Party posted in his social media account juxtaposing the usage of monkey for coconut with the usage of hog for truffles.—all media outlet

Business:

Face Mask

CPTPP

  • Despite the trade pact’s numerous market access benefits, Dept of Trade Negotiation’s Director-General Auramon insists Commerce Ministry will not submit CPTPP for cabinet’s consideration as earlier reiterated by Commerce Minister Jurin.  DG Auramon said some other ministry will have to present it to the cabinet – the question being which ministry.  The Parliament CPTPP Committee said the Thai government could still join the 5th August CPTPP negotiation even if the studies conducted by parliament committee are not yet concluded.  The deadline for the parliament committee’s studies is extended to 10 September 2020.  Source:  https://www.thansettakij.com/content/438831Tourism:

Tourism

  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) adjusted its forecast that the number of foreign tourists this year may plunge 80 percent to 8.2 million as revenue slides to 396 billion Baht, with international air traffic regaining just 10 percent of the pre-pandemic schedule.  Thailand received zero international arrival in Q2 and is expected to welcome 300,000 arrivals in Q3 and 1.2 million in Q4.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1947548/tat-predicts-80-plunge-in-arrivals

Others

  • A full meeting of economic ministers will be held this Friday, the first since March, to discuss ways to revitalise the economy, with measures to help more than 3 million SMEs high on the agenda.  The economic minister will meet every 2 weeks, with the next meeting slated for 24 July and will discuss measures to rehabilitate tourism.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1947456/ministers-to-push-help-for-smes
  • Kasikorn Research Centre forecasts that restructured debts could take up 30 percent of total bank loans and could weigh heavily on banks if businesses do not rebound by the end of the year.  The economic contraction will be worse than the 1997 crisis. 
  • Krungsri Research Centre predicts that the Thai economy will contract by 10.3 percent this year and will grow by 2.9 percent next year, only to return to pre-crisis level in 2023.  Local corporates also need up to 1.7 trillion Baht liquidity injection to survive the pandemic.
  • Bangkok Bank said the impact the pandemic has on the economy is the worst in 120 years and that the planned investment in the EEC may not be enough to jumpstart the economy.  The challenge is to boost the productivity of the agriculture sector or migrate them to the industrial sector. 
  • Siam Commercial Bank predicts a 7.3 percent GDP contraction and urges the government to give liquidity support to SMEs as they highly fragile.  Recovery is expected to be U-Shape given Thailand’s heavy dependence on international demand.  Source:  https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30390865

ASEAN/World

  • From Singapore to Thailand, why are political sibling rivalries such a huge draw?—South China Morning Post
  • Brazilian President has been tested COVID-19 positive.—Xinhua Thai
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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