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  • Little news before the weekend update…….

    Economic recovery 'a priority'

    As the government nears its half-term mark, it faces an uphill battle to reach its goal of giving the country's ailing economy a shot in the arm, said government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri.

    That said, Mr Anucha maintained that reviving the economy remains the government's top priority for the rest of its term, before adding it is the government public relations team's duty to keep the public informed of the progress.

    Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha began his present tenure as prime minister on June 11, 2019 following the general election in March, and his cabinet was formed in July.

    That said, as the constitution stipulates the government's tenure begins on the day parliamentarians were affirmed, technically the government was formed on March 24.

    Outlining the government's priorities for the rest of its tenure, Mr Anucha said the top goal is to reinvigorate the ailing economy, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, through stimulus measures such as the Rao Tiew Duay Kan ("We Travel Together") tourism package, the Khon La Krueng ("Half, Half") co-payment subsidy and the Rao Chana ("We Win") financial assistance scheme.

    With the rollout of relief programmes, the government's economic recovery effort is set to kick into high gear, he said.

    The National Economic and Social Development Council initially predicted the economy would contract by -7.5%, but Thailand fared better than expected, contracting by -6.1% instead.

    This year, according to the council, given the national Covid-19 vaccination programme has started with frontline medical workers and at-risk groups receiving the first doses last week, the economy could grow in the region of 2.5-3.5%.

    "Confidence will surge as the economy rebounds as a result of the stimuli, which in turn bodes well for the revival of tourism and foreign investments," Mr Anucha said.

    The spokesman said in addition to supplying public updates on the nation's Covid-19 situation, his team has been putting out information about Thailand's ongoing reforms and its strategy to transition to a Bio-Circular Green Economy model.

    "As we're close to arriving at the mid-point, we need to pick up our pace on these policies and projects," he said, before adding at the same time, the government is maintaining strict fiscal discipline to ensure the funds it has are spent effectively.

    Another priority issue, Mr Anucha said, is dealing with the fallout from the two censure debates against the government in parliament, both of which it managed to survive.

    The spokesman said any issues raised in the debate that the prime minister did not have time to get into during the debate, will be explained by the public relations team.

    "We have gathered the important points from the no-confidence session and it is our job as spokespeople of the government to explain the details to the public," he said.

    The explanations will be broadcast through podcasts, state-run websites and other media outlets, he said.

    Mr Anucha said in his remaining two years in office, he plans to expand the government's outreach through new platforms, including the invite-only, audio-based social networking app, Clubhouse.

    That said, he stressed that newer technologies aren't necessarily better.

    The pros and cons of Clubhouse, for example, must be weighed carefully, given growing public concerns about data privacy, leaks, unauthorised wire-tapping, as well as the illegal sales of invitations and deep-fakes, Mr Anucha added.

    "We've heard of some people opening discussion rooms in Clubhouse to skirt laws on defamation," he said.

    "If there are instances of potential abuse, then we must take steps to prevent them."

    The most recent censure debate targeting Gen Prayut and 10 of his minister, which took place last month, presented the government the opportunity to refute wide-ranging allegations against it, from policy mismanagement and suspected graft.

    But many observers noted that many questions thrown by the opposition remain unanswered.

    In response, Mr Anucha said his team worked hard to provide all the information Gen Prayut needed, but the prime minister was unable to get through everything to time constraints in the debate.

    He said no further censure motions should be pushed to incite anti-government protests, as the results of the previous motions have shown the country's checks-and-balances system is still alive and functioning.

    That said, the prime minister has taken stock of the opposition's input in the debate and subsequently pledged to implement some of them, Mr Anucha added.

    "Listening to the voices of those in the minority is part-and-parcel of being a democracy," he said.

    As for the push to rewrite the nation's charter, Mr Anucha said the motion required to amend the constitution is being discussed in parliament.

    "People are concerned about the country's many problems, including the pandemic and the economic slump.

    "The government needs to achieve a balance in tackling these problems -- it can't just focus solely on political issues," he said.

    When asked about the impending cabinet reshuffle, Mr Anucha said the matter will be decided ultimately by the prime minister, before stressing that coalition parties remain solidly united.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • The week ending March 5th, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 29.98 baht to every 1 US dollar.

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • The week ending March 12th, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.29 baht to every 1 US dollar.

        SCB lifts Thai GDP forecast to 2.6% this year

        Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Centre (IEC) has revised upwards its 2021 Thai GDP growth forecast from 2.2 per cent to 2.6 per cent. The IEC cited faster-than-expected recovery of Thai exports, which returned to pre-Covid levels in January and February. It revised upwards its export growth forecast for 2021 from 4 per cent to 6.4 per cent.

        However, the SCB thinktank also warned that recovery of the Thai tourism industry would only gain momentum in the fourth quarter of 2021 as vaccines brought herd immunity in key Asian markets.

        On the labour front, data indicated Thai workers are experiencing falling income resulting from underemployment and skill mismatches, which could limit domestic demand and consumer confidence recovery going forward, the EIC said.

        However, it estimates the government still has around Bt390 billion of budget to support recovery, including Bt250 billion from the Bt1-trillion emergency borrowing fund.

        On monetary policy, the EIC expects the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to keep its policy rate at 0.5 per cent this year. It also forecasts the BOT will respond to liquidity demand from SMEs by adjusting soft loan criteria and promoting asset warehousing to reduce risks of fire sales in the real estate and hotel business.:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • The week ending March 19th, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.37 baht to every 1 US dollar.

          • Thai Govt aims for 4% growth this year driven by recovery in Q4

          The goverment is aiming to achieve economic growth of 4% this year, with a recovery expected in the fourth quarter of the year, amid expectations that easing coronavirus restrictions will bring in tourism income, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday.

          The tourism-reliant economy contracted 6.1% last year, its deepest decline in over two decades, with tourism devastated by the impact of the pandemic.

          The economy is improving but when it fully recovers will largely depend on external factors, Mr Arkhom told a business seminar.

          "Exports have not grown that much and tourism is missing," he said.

          Foreign tourists are expected to return late this year as Thailand prepares to relax entry restrictions, Arkhom said.

          "We believe from the fourth quarter tourism revenue will come in," he said.

          Thailand plans from next month to cut its mandatory quarantine from 14 to seven days for foreign arrivals vaccinated against the coronavirus. The quarantine could be waived in October, officials say.

          Last year, foreign visitor numbers plunged 83% from nearly 40 million in 2019. The state planning agency predicts 3.2 million arrivals this year.

          The government is hoping for economic growth of 4% this year, also helped by domestic demand, a recovery in exports and increased public investment, Mr Arkhom said.

          "The 4% growth target this year is quite ambitious, but the government still hopes to achieve that," Mr Arkhom said.

          The Finance Ministry has officially forecast 2.8% growth this year, while the International Monetary Fund projects 2.6%.

          The government is considering extending a co-payment subsidy scheme to boost consumption, he said.

          Southeast Asia's second-largest economy will take about two years to return to pre-pandemic levels, so monetary policy will need to work alongside fiscal policy until the recovery is secure, Mr Arkhom said.

          Thailand has no plans to cut its 20% corporate tax ceiling as tax revenue is the main source of income and the level is low compared with neighbouring countries, apart from Singapore, Mr Arkhom said.:
          • BoT paves path for legal stablecoin

          The Bank of Thailand is open to legal digital currencies and plans to issue a consultation paper on stablecoins within the first half of this year.

          Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, assistant governor of payment systems policy and financial technology at the central bank, said the bank has only approved baht-backed stablecoin businesses, meaning those classified with electronic money (e-money) licences.

          "There are many operators applying for the central bank's approval to issue baht-backed stablecoins under several business models. Some want to expand from existing e-money businesses, while others want to develop new innovative financial services," she said.

          The Bank of Thailand has already set out appropriate guidelines for the regulation of financial services involving stablecoins, focusing only on legal baht-backed stablecoins, said Ms Siritida.

          These are cryptocurrencies designed to minimise price volatility by being pegged to the baht and are intended to be used as a means of payment. Such stablecoins may be classified as e-money under the Payment Systems Act of 2017.

          The regulator oversees risks associated with e-money, such as settlements, money laundering, cybersecurity and consumer protection risks. Operators who intend to provide services involving baht-backed stablecoins are required to consult with the central bank before beginning any operations. This policy is in line with the regulatory guidelines in many countries, such as Britain, Singapore and Japan, she said.

          Other forms of stablecoins (including foreign currency-backed stablecoins, asset-backed stablecoins and algorithmic stablecoins) are not illegal, said Ms Siritida. The central bank is open to receiving comments and feedback before enacting the appropriate regulatory guidelines, she said.

          The central bank's move to clarify the stablecoin business in Thailand comes after it warned people to refrain from participating in any activities involving Thai Baht Digital (THT), as there are no legal assurances or protections and users could be at risk of cybertheft or money laundering.

          Any activities involving the new stablecoin THT (created abroad on the Terra platform) are considered illegal. The creation, issuance, usage or circulation of any material or token for money is a violation of Section 9 of the Currency Act 1958, the central bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

          Ms Siritida said the Bank of Thailand sees the benefits of financial technology and is ready to embrace new innovations to improve financial services. In this regard, the central bank is in the process of developing a Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (Retail CBDC) to meet the needs of the general public, improve service efficiency in the business sector and increase access to financial services.

          The central bank is scheduled to issue a direction paper on Retail CBDC next month and hold a public hearing process. The development of both Retail CBDC and the existing Wholesale CBDC will proceed hand-in-hand, she said.

          "The central bank will continue to closely monitor the developments of new technologies, taking into account the benefits and related risks in an effort to adopt policies supportive of promoting economic development while maintaining financial system stability," said Ms Siritida.

          The central bank's assistant governor Pruettipong Srimachand insisted yesterday THT is considered illegal and that it intends to replace the baht because one unit of THT is denominated in and valued at one baht.

          "Given the offshore platform of Terra, the Bank of Thailand's regulations do not cover THT," said Mr Pruettipong.

          "We would ask for collaboration with regulatory bodies overseas to manage the risk."

          Apart from the baht, nine other currencies worldwide are credited on the Terra platform.

          THT has logged around 1,000 transactions accounting for tens of thousands of baht.

          In the event of fraud using an illegal stablecoin currency, investors must deal with the risks themselves, he said.:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • The week ending March 26th, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.64 baht to every 1 US dollar.

            • Bank of Thailand keeps key rate at record low, cuts 2021 GDP outlook

            The Bank of Thailand (BoT) left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low on Wednesday, as widely expected, but slightly lowered its 2021 GDP growth forecast after a second wave of coronavirus infections hit economic activity.

            The economy continues to rebound but the risks remain high, the central bank said in a statement, adding the economy still needs support from low borrowing rates and that monetary policy would remain accommodative.

            The BoT's monetary policy committee voted unanimously to keep the one-day repurchase rate steady at a record low of 0.50% for a seventh straight meeting.

            All 14 economists in a Reuters poll had expected the BoT to remain on hold this week, after delivering three rate cuts in 2020 to soften the blow from the pandemic.

            The BoT trimmed its 2021 growth forecast as it cut its projected tourist figures for this year, and as a second wave of coronavirus infections in December hampered economic activity.

            While Thailand has since largely contained the outbreak and has eased restrictions, its all-important tourism sector, hit by global travel curbs, continues to suffer. But the country is preparing to gradually reopen to foreign visitors.

            The central bank expects the economy to expand 3.0% this year, after suffering its biggest fall in over two decades last year, but the projection is slightly more modest than the 3.2% forecast in December.

            The BoT raised its export growth view to 10% this year, up from a previous forecast for a 5.7% increase.

            The central bank reiterated that limited policy room should be preserved to be used at the most effective time, and that the government should continue fiscal measures to help the economy.:
            • World Bank cuts Thai GDP growth outlook to 3.4% this year

            Thailand's economy is expected to grow 3.4% this year, down from the 4% projected earlier, and the recovery would be gradual amid high uncertainties and weak tourism, the World Bank said on Friday.

            Thailand's tourism-reliant economy shrank 6.1% last year, its deepest slump in over two decades, with tourism battered by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

            The government still has room to support the economy, which is expected to return to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2022, Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, senior country economist for Thailand, told a briefing.

            "Fiscal policy remains key to shore up the economy this year and next," noting the country's public debt was not too high.

            On Friday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters the government aimed to achieve GDP growth of 4% this year and in 2022 by accelerating investment and spending as planned.

            He asked the private sector and the public to spend and invest more to help the recovery.

            The GDP growth projections compared with 2.6% forecast by the International Monetary Fund and 3% by the Bank of Thailand.

            While the country has largely contained its latest coronavirus outbreak and has eased restrictions, its all-important tourism sector, hit by global travel curbs, continues to suffer. However, the country is preparing to gradually reopen to foreign visitors.

            In February, the number of foreign tourists plunged 99.7% year-on-year to 5,741, after a 99.8% slump in January.

            The central bank has forecast 3 million foreign tourists this year after 6.7 million last year and nearly 40 million in 2019 who spent 1.91 trillion baht.:

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • still not close to 33 baht to 1 US dollar and the PM is still here

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • The week ending April 2nd, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.79 baht to every 1 US dollar.

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Expect the Baht to go through the roof by August, when a greater percentage of the Thai population are fully immunized -


                  • F Off Jeff
                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • The week ending April 9th, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.93 baht to every 1 US dollar.

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • The week ending April 16th, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.79 baht to every 1 US dollar.

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • almost two years now…….

                          The PM is still here
                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • ^ and his coalition
                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • coalition and the same Thai PM and the baht isn't anywhere close to 33/34 baht to 1 US dollar after almost two years
                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                                • The week ending April 23rd, 2021 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.94 baht to every 1 US dollar.

                                • Bank of Thailand plots new support measures amid virus surge

                                The Bank of Thailand said on Monday the current Covid-19 outbreak was highly uncertain and it was ready to introduce necessary assistance measures in addition to recent support schemes.

                                The tourism-reliant nation is grappling with a third coronavirus wave that includes a highly contagious variant, which have caused over 14,700 infections in less than three weeks, dealing a blow to its already slow economic recovery.

                                The Bank of Thailand is closely monitoring the situation and discussing with relevant agencies help for retail debtors through support measures and debt mediation, Deputy Governor Ronadol Numnonda said in a statement.

                                Last month, the government approved financial measures worth 350 billion baht to help business cope with the outbreak impact.

                                Monetary policy will ensure that financial conditions are no obstacles to the economic recovery, BoT Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput was quoted by local newspaper Prachachat as saying.

                                Overall liquidity remains sufficient but there is a problem with liquidity distribution to needed areas, he said.

                                The BoT has kept its policy rate at a record low of 0.50% since mid-2020 and will next review policy on May 5.

                                Earlier this month, the central bank said Southeast Asia's second-largest economy could grow less than its forecast of 3.0% this year after the new outbreak.

                                The new outbreak, which accounts for a third of Thailand's cases so far, comes as the country takes tentative steps to reopen to foreign visitors after a year of tightened border controls.:
                                • Thailand’s GDP growth forecast to drop this year from 2.8% to 1.6% due to COVID-19

                                Thailand’s economic growth rate projection for this year is expected to shrink from to 1.6%, from 2.8%, due to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest forecast by the Economic and Business Forecast Centre of the Thai Chamber of Commerce University.

                                The report says that many more people have been infected by coronavirus during the third wave, which started on April 1st,prompting the government to impose several preventive measures and restrictions.

                                It said that the number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand this year is expected to fall to about 2.8 million, from an earlier projection of 4 million, because of the new wave of infections.

                                The forecast is based on the assumption that the government can contain the pandemic within two months, said the report, noting that the 1.2% decrease in the growth projection translates into a 200 billion baht economic loss per month.

                                The TCCU’s think tank, however, said that the weakening of the Thai baht, averaging 30.80 baht per US dollar for the whole year, will help boost Thai exports, which are forecast to expand by 4.7% for the whole year, instead of 3.5% as previously projected.:
                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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