What happened this week 01.04.13 to 05.04.13


  • MPC edgy but maintains rate — The Monetary Policy Committee yesterday voiced stronger concern over the brisk trade in property and equities and the surge in bank credit but till kept its policy interest rate unchanged at 2.75%. With one member absent, the MPC voted 5:1 to hold the rate and vowed to keep a close watch on baht and foreign capital movements. (Bangkok Post, 04/04/13)
  • Export growth target maintained at 8-9% — The government is maintaining its export growth target of 8-9% this year despite lingering risks such as the world economic slowdown, mounting trade barriers, natural disasters and the baht’s appreciation. Thai exports fell by 5.8% to US$17.9bn in February but in baht terms they plunged 11.3% to Bt530bn. (Bangkok Post, 04/04/13)
  • Consumer confidence reaches new seven-year high in March — Consumer confidence rose for a sixth straight month in March, hitting a seven-year high, as consumers believe in the country’s economic prospects, the global economic recovery, growing tourism and the government’s long-term Bt2trn infrastructure plan. The consumer confidence index climbed to 84.8 points last month from 84 in February and 81.7 in January. (Bangkok Post, 05/04/13)
  • BoT urged to curb foreign capital inflows — The private sector has repeated its calls for the BoT to step up measures to tighten controls on foreign capital inflows. The call was made by Pongsak Assakul, outgoing chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Pongsak said the baht is now the strongest currency in Southeast Asia, where other central banks have already put in place measures to control foreign capital inflows. He suggests the government raise withholding tax for the bond market, now at 15%, and introduce capital gains tax for the stock market, particularly for foreign investors. (Bangkok Post, 05/04/13)
  • Inflation downshifts in March — Inflation slowed for a third straight month in March, as government subsidies held down prices and people’s consumption dropped thanks to school holidays. Commerce Ministry figures show annual headline inflation rows by 2.69% YoY from 3.23% in February, 3.39% in January and 3.63% in December. (Bangkok Post, 02/04/13)
  • Government’s Bt2trn spending bill slated for August — The Finance Ministry expects a bill empowering the government to borrow Bt2trn over the next seven years for infrastructure projects will take effect by August, barring delays for judicial challenges. (Bangkok Post, 02/04/13)

Global Economy

  • US: The Institute of Supply Management reported a lower-than-expected manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the United States. The PMI for March registered at 51.3, falling from February’s reading of 54.2, indicating a slowdown in expansion of the manufacturing sector. Separately, US construction spending in February increased 1.2% from the prior month, beating market expectation, according to the Commerce Department Monday. (Xinhua, 02/04/13)
  • US: The U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in March on a seasonally-adjusted basis, down from the revised figure of 237,000 a month earlier, according to a report produced by the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics. The figure fell far short of analysts’ consensus. (Xinhua, 04/04/13)
  • The non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for the United States was lower than expected, registering 54.4 in March, lower than February’s reading of 56, the Institute of Supply Management reported Wednesday. The data indicated a slightly slower growth in the services sector. Among other economic data, mortgage applications decreased 4.0% for the week ending March 29 from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday. (Xinhua, 04/04/13)
  • The US private sector continued to add jobs in March, but posted the smallest gain in the past five months, mainly because the construction sector held off on hiring. The Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported U.S. private companies added 158,000 jobs in March, lower than the previous month and market expectation. (Xinhua, 04/04/13)
  • US: The number of Americans applying for initial jobless claims in the week ending March 30 was 385,000, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 357,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The figure was much higher than analysts estimated. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, a smoother indicator, was 354,250, an increase of 11,250 from the previous week’s unrevised reading of 343,000. (Xinhua, 05/04/13)
  • US: New orders for US manufactured goods in February increased 3.0%, following a dip of 1.0% in the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. (Xinhua, 03/04/13)
  • Europe: In Europe, unemployment rate in eurozone hit a record 12% in February, official data showed Tuesday. The Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Index dropped to 46.8 in March, well short of the already weak 47.9 in February. The weak European economic data boosted expectations that the European Central Bank would provide hints about a possible rate cut at Thursday’s monetary policy meeting. (Xinhua, 03/04/13)
  • Europe: The European Central Bank held its benchmark interest rates unchanged. The Bank of England, central bank of Britain, maintained bank rate at 0.5%, deciding not to further expand its quantitative easing program. (Xinhua, 05/04/13)
  • Europe: Eurozone inflation eases to 1.7% in March — Euro-area inflation slowed less than economists forecast in March as steeper price increases for services offset an easing in energy costs. Annual price growth in the 17-nation economy was 1.7% last month, down from 1.8% in February, the European Union’s statistics office said yesterday. That compares with the 1.6% median of 44 economists estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. (Bloomberg, 04/04/13)
  • Japan: The BOJ promised to continue monetary easing until it achieves the 2% inflation goal, according to a statement released Thursday after the central bank’s two-day monetary policy meeting. The decision was made at the first policy meeting chaired by the new BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. The central bank also said it would conduct money-market operations so that the monetary base will increase at an annual pace of about US$645-755bn. The scale of the easing plan was more aggressive than market expectations and dragged down the yen by the biggest rate in 17 months on Thursday. (Xinhua, 05/04/13)
  • Japan: The Bank of Japan will hold monetary policy meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, and this would be the first policy meeting for the new governor Haruhiko Kuroda. He has repeatedly said that he would do whatever it takes to reach the 2% inflation target in two years. (Xinhua, 03/04/13)
  • China PMI rebounds on domestic demand — China’s official purchasing manufacturers’ index hit 50.9 in March, its highest since April 2012 when the figure stood at 53.3, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. HSBC Holdings, whose survey focuses more on smaller enterprises than the official data, said its final PMI stood at 51.6 in March, up from 50.4 in February, when the reading dipped to its lowest since October. (AFP, quoted in Bangkok Post, 02/04/1


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