Advance Blog

June 8, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 8 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)
2,662 (534  from prisons)182,5481,281/ 359131,999153,6853,243,913 (+388,872) AZ: 327,723 SN: 61,149 4.901% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,646 [1,495 (get tested in hospital) + 617 (active case finding)]16 (in SQ)49,252 [29,518 in field hospital]48,577 (+1,098)1,297 (+28)4,634,941 (+416,874) 7.003% of the population1,391,028 (+27,975) AZ: 4,636 SN: 23,339 2.102% of the population
  • The director-general of the Department of Medical Science gave a press briefing that the Public Health is monitoring the infection of the so-called Indian-strains very closely as there have found 235 confirmed cases, 209 of which are found in Bangkok. Even though, there was a decisive measure in sealing off the construction site in Lak Si District (the cluster where the strain was first reported), the strain have been found in 10 provinces. The ministry feared that it could become the dominant strain in Thailand, considering the greater infectious rate of the strain.—BBC Thai; Prachachat Turakij
  • The PM announced that Thailand will reserve 25 millions more  Johnson and Johnson, including Pfizer vaccines and 8 millions more from Sinovac to secure 100 million doses target.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • Thai MFA spokesperson made an official statement that Thai-Chinese relations remain strong and that Bangkok has been pursuing a balanced foreign policy between the US and China. The spokesperson said that Beijing has nominated the new Ambassador replacing Mr Liu Jian who fell ill and returned to mainland since December 2019. Mr Thanee also mentioned that the setup of American consulate-general in Chiang Mai (which is believed by some as having a capacity to conduct espionage in Southern China) has been constructed according to Thai and international laws.—Public Relations Department, Matichon, Siam Rath
  • The secretary-general of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) Anucha said he has not been informed about the party’s annual convention scheduled on 20 June. Anucha, who also serves as the Minister to the Prime Minister Office, said he had not heard about the attempt to kick him out of the position. PPRP secretary-general Anucha said he had not discussed this matter with the party leader Deputy PM Prawit.–Matichon
  • The government whip from PPRP said even though there will be criticisms from coalition MPs in deliberating the 500 billion THB loan decree, the vote from the government must be in unity which is to approve the bill. The deliberation is scheduled on 9 June and is expected to  be finalised within a day.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The freshly established Thai Sarng Thai Party has appointed former Pheu Thai Chief Strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan as the party’s president, having the power to appoint party’s positions. The party is willing to file its candidate in all 350 constituencies.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Student-led protest leader Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak hasn’t got his bail revoked. The protest leader has been released on bail on conditions of not making inflammatory comment against the monarchy nor participating in protest which stir unrest. Someone filed a complaint against Parit for his Facebook posts and his participation of silent protest to call for releases of other protest leaders. The court said Parit had not violate any condition.—Krungthep Turakij
  • PPRP MP Paiboon Nittitawan outlined the timeline for the Constitutional amendment. Both chambers are expected to convene on 22 or 23 June to set up committee to deliberate on each amending article. The deliberation will take one month before returning this to the Parliament in late July. The second reading of the amendment will be on early August. The gap between the second and third reading will be 15 days and expected the third and final reading to be held in late August. The PPRP legal pundit said he personally believe that the process will be seamless.—Krungthep Turakij

Analysis/opinion

  • Veteran anchor with a very close ties to the Chinese charges d’affaires Sutthichai Yoon reported on the rumour that Beijing is ‘not so pleased’ with Bangkok, as the Kingdom has been tilting more to the American camp. Suthichai said that such a rumour has been there for quite some times, but more tangibly so when there has been no appointment of Chinese ambassador to Thailand and no visa issued to Thai students to study in China. The other sign of conflict is the high-speed railway which has been stalemated for quite some times. The veteran journalist said that this is very rare for Thai MFA to explicitly clarify on issues related to relations with major powers. There will be more in-depth analysis with Chulalongkorn Economic scholar Piti Srisangnam on this issue on Suthichai Live at 8.00pm.—Suthichai Live

Economic:

APEC

  • At the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting from 4-5 June, Commerce Minister Jurin said Thailand will help with the  transportation of vaccines and essential goods for fighting Covid-19; Thailand will comply with the WTO multilateral trading system; supports Compulsory Licensing (CL) to enable countries to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines without seeking permission from the patent owner and will also advocate for COVID-19 vaccines to be removed from IP protection lists under TRIPs agreement; supports WTO’s move to accelerate negotiations on vaccine production with the WHO; and backs the WTO in concluding many pending issues such as fishery, temporary exemption of e-commerce tax and promotion of agricultural products.  Minister Jurin further articulated that Thailand promotes sustainable trade practices through BCG economic model and that it will re-open to foreign tourists through the Phuket Tourism Sandbox model on 1 July as part of its support for APEC connectivity.  Sources:  The Nation Thai Government’s Public Relations Department Bangkok Post  Department of Trade Negotiations News

Australia

  • Banpu Plc, a non-oil energy conglomerate, has acquired 2 utility-scale solar farms in Australia’s state of New South Wales in a deal worth 97.5 million AUD (2.33 billion Baht).  The new assets are Beryl Solar Farm (BSF) with a capacity of 110.9 megawatts (MW) and Manildra Solar Farm (MSF) with a capacity of 55.9MW.  The purchase marks another step in Banpu’s move toward renewable generation in Australia where it has been operating coal mines for over 2 decades.  Sources:  Thansettakij Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post
  • S&P Global Ratings upgraded its outlook on Australia’s AAA sovereign rating to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’, given that Australia’s 2-trillion AUD economy has rebounded with a +1.8 percent GDP QoQ  and +1.1 percent YoY growth in Q1 of 2021.  Australia is among a handful of countries globally hat can boast an economy that’s larger now than before the pandemic.  This owes largely to Australia’s successful handling of the pandemic, together with massive fiscal and monetary stimulus.  Australia is also one of the 9 countries in the world to garner an AAA rating from all 3 major rating agencies.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij Reuters

Tourism and Investment

  • On 4 June, CESA approved the launch of the tourism sandbox program in Phuket on 1 July, wherein inoculated foreign tourists who also test negative can fly directly Phuket and forgo the 14-day quarantine.  They are required to stay in Phuket for 14 days, after which they can travel freely around Thailand.  Already, Thai Airways said it will start direct flights from 5 European cities to Phuket in July, and direct flights between Hong Kong and Phuket will also resume from 2 July.  Source:  Bangkok Post The Nation
  • CESA on Friday approved of measures proposed by DPM Supattanapong’s ad-hoc committee to stimulate foreign investment and spending.  These measures aim to lure 1 million foreigners and are anticipated to generate 1 trillion Baht for the economy.  They target 4 groups, namely: the Wealthy Global Citizens and high net worth individuals through the Flexible Plus Program; Wealthy Pensioners; Work-from-Thailand professionals and also High-Skilled Professionals.  The measures aim to grant rich foreigners 10-year long stay visa, allow them own land property and pay a 17 percent personal income tax on local earnings.  However, Finance Ministry is voicing opposition to the scheme as the 17 percent tax rate will reduce the government’s revenue collection.  Sources:  Thai Government News   Prachachart Turakij Matichon  Bangkok Post 

Sugar

  • Thai Commerce Minister Jurin has called upon Vietnam’s Ambassador to Thailand, HE Phan Chi Thanh to refrain from imposing anti-dumping duties on raw sugar exported from Thailand.  Vietnam has been conducting an anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty investigation on Thai sugar since September 2020, with the investigation set to conclude on 15 June.  It is expected that a combined 51 percent levy will be imposed on Thai sugar; of which 46 percent is AD and 5 percent for CVD duty.  Minister Jurin also asked Vietnam to relax its regulations on drug registration and to better facilitate the export of living pigs from Thailand.  Source:  Bangkok Post Thai Rath
  • Fitch Solution noted Thailand will be a supplier of cane harvesting machinery to other countries in Southeast Asia.  Although much of the machinery used in the sugar sector is imported, Thailand’s exports of harvesting machinery for different agricultural products (ie: rice) had risen substantially in recent years.  In Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia, Thailand has been the top supplier of harvesting machinery imports over recent years.   From 2024-25 Fitch forecasts Thailand to become the third-largest producer of sugar cane globally, behind Brazil and India.  Source:  Bangkok Post, 4 June 2021
  • Thai sugar cane output is expected to fall significantly this year because of drought, but millers and farmers may be able to cope with the decrease thanks to the government’s bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic model.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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