Advance Blog

March 8, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 8 March 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, totally confirmed cases
7126,4416325,777 (at 97.49%)22,204
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
48 [41 (get tested in hospital) + 7 (active case finding)] 23 (in SQ) 579992 (+1)85 (+0)14,688
  • After the first week of vaccine roll-out, it is reported that 828 people out of 25,864 people have shown undesirable symptoms or equal to 3.2 percent. The first batch of vaccine is that of Chinese Sinovac.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • Yesterday, the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) beat the coalition Democrat Party in the by-election in the Southern province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat by around 4,000 votes (unofficial numbers).—Krungthep Turakij
  • On the weekend, there were a series of protests on both sides of the political camps:
    • On Saturday, there were four protests:
      • Monarchist vocational school students gathered in front of Central World Department Store pledging to resist all those anti-monarchists.—Thai Rath
      • Around 10 former Redshirt protestors who threatened to protest in front of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party MP Sira Jenjaka ended up adjourned before being able to protest in front of the vocal MP house.—Thai PBS
      • ‘Marching Through the Heaven’ walked from the Northern suburb of Rangsit to Kasetsart University.
      • ReDem protestors gathered at Lad Prao intersection before marching to the Bangkok Criminal Court where protestors burn what they claimed to be rubbish. There were violence occurred before the gathering as Piyarat ‘Toto’, the leader of WeVolunteer Guard was captured without an arrest warrant.—all media outlet
      • The Metropolitan Police held a press conference later that the areest of Piyarat was due to the fact that the guard leader was about to instill violence.—Thai Rath
  • The attorney-general has agreed to press charges against 18 main protest figures, 15 of which were charged with sedition; while, three of which (Panusaya ‘Rung’, Jatupat ‘Pai’ and Panupong ‘Mike’) were also charged with Article 112 lese majeste.–Matichon Krungthep Turakij
  • Nida Poll issued its survey result of the who is the most desirable Bangkok Governor candidate. The survey result showed that 29.96 percent of the participants have not decide; 22.43 percent prefer former Transport Minister Chadchat; 15.51 percent prefer former police chief Chakthip; 7.68 percent prefer the current Governor. As for any candidate from political parties the popularity is rated from Pheu Thai (4.49%)-Move Forward Party or Progressive Movement (4.26%)-main ruling PPRP (3.27%) and Democrat (2.66%).—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Akara Mine

  • The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will investigate Akara Resources Plc after a civic group accused it of using proxy shareholders, which is an offence under the Foreign Business Act.  The ‘Civic Group for Mineral and Gold Mining Reform’ had made several accusations against the gold mine operator, such as charges that it operates a mine beyond its licensed zone, discharge of hazardous substances, money laundering and tax evasion.  Since 25 February, the DSI had established several committees to investigate these cases, with the proxy shareholder being the latest case to be taken up by the DSI.  Sources:  Bangkok Post   Thansettakij Matichon

Others

  • Inflation declined by 1.17 percent YoY in February 2021, marking the 12th consecutive month of decline.  Commerce Ministry (MoC) attributes this to the government’s measure to cut down on electricity and water charges to reduce people’s living cost during the pandemic outbreak from Feb to March.  Prices of fresh food also declined due to the increasing supply and lower base price.  However, fuel price increased while production capacity and consumption are picking up as export improves for the second straight month, with manufacturing capacity returning close to pre-COVID level.  As such, February’s core inflation increased by 0.04 percent YoY.  MoC projects the 2021 inflation will average at 1.2 percent.  Source:  Post Today Bangkok Post 
  • Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoST) held a meeting with tourism operators to prepare for Thailand’s reopening as the COVID-19 situation eases.  In April, MoST expects to implement the ‘Area Hotel Quarantine’ (AHQ) program in which visitors could roam free within the hotel premise after 3 days if they test negative for COVID-19.  However, they will not be allowed to leave the hotel until they complete the 14-day quarantine.  By Q3 and Q4 this year, travel bubble will be pioneered starting with the 5 provinces, namely Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phuket, Krabi and the 3 island of Surat Thani province.  The AHQ proposal will be submitted to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) projects the 2021 tourism revenue to reach 1.2 trillion Baht, of which 870 billion Baht will be from domestic tourism.  TAT will continue to roll out campaigns that target single travellers with high-purchasing power.  It is also discussing with NESDC to revise the terms of the tourism campaign, which originally targeted the elderly, to target all tourists with incentives to travel through tour companies.  TAT hopes to implement it in mid-March once it is approved by the cabinet.  Source:  Poojarkarn
  • The former UNCTAD Sec-Gen Supachai enthused that Thailand implement fiscal stimulus to overcome the Covid-19 crisis, without being concerned about the public debt-to-GDP ratio overshooting the 60 percent ceiling. He emphasised the importance of restructuring the economy to pivot towards bio economy, reforming the education system to produce skilled labour with expertise that match market demands, ie: digital technology, promote FDI, SMEs and community economies.  He noted that SMEs should be given better access to funding given the banks’ strong fiscal position. Thailand also needs to increase private investment to 27-30 percent of GDP from the existing 23 percent to escape the middle-income trap.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post
  • Commerce Ministry plans to speed up the export of around 200 million eggs by the end of August in a move to resolve the ongoing oversupply situation.  While domestic egg production stands at 42 million eggs per day, domestic consumption had dropped to 38 million per day due to the lack of international tourists and more students learning online.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand ranked 3rd in ASEAN, 9th among 40 Asia-pacific countries and 42nd in the World on the most recent on Economic Freedom index. Singapore tops the list for the second consecutive year, followed by New Zealand and Australia.  Source:  Pattaya Mail
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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