What happened this week 15/07 – 19/07


  • Two asked to nominate next BoT chairman – The Bank of Thailand board is asking the central bank’s governor and the permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry to nominate candidates for a new chairman of the board by July 29, on expectations of selecting a name by mid-August before forwarding the choice to the finance minister for approval. The term of the current chairman, Virabongsa Ramangkura, will end on August 1 when he turns 70 years old, as required by the Bank of Thailand Act B.E. 2551. (The Nation, 19/07/13)
  • BoI urges firms to think global — More than 80 Thai companies have decided to invest abroad to offset rising domestic costs and the expiry of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) privileges. (Bangkok Post, 18/07/13)
  • Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce push for Bt2trn projects — The Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce – two of the leading private-sector organisations – yesterday called on the government urgently to conduct clearer feasibility studies and public hearings so that the Bt2trn infrastructure development projects can proceed. (The Nation, 17/07/13)
  • Economists believe 4% growth out of reach, reject stimulus – Economists suggest the government should accept the reality that 4% economic growth is an ambitious target, while they disagree with business leaders’ calls for a stimulus package. (Bangkok Post, 17/07/13).
  • Stimulus in the works after all as slowdown looms — The Finance Ministry and the BoT have been told to study new measures to stimulate the economy for the rest of the year, with investment and consumption expected to slow down in the second half, says the government’s planning unit. The recommendations made Friday seem to run counter to remarks by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt on Thursday that the government would not launch any short-term stimulus measures this year despite the global economic slowdown. (Bangkok Post, 13/07/13)
  • Revenues in first nine months to beat target: FM — The Minister of Finance said it expects to rake in Bt1.61trn in revenues for the first nine months of this year, which is higher than its target of Bt81.9bn, supported by higher tax collections from personal income tax, automobiles and petroleum. (Thai Post, 16/07/13)
  • No further signs of bank bad debt rising — The BoT says it has not found further signs of increasing bad debt in the banking system, despite households’ lower debt servicing ability and swelling household debt. (Thai Post, 16/07/13)
  • Franchises follow trend of investing overseas – Already 16 Thai franchises are conducting business in 28 countries, mostly in ASEAN, the Middle East and Europe. (The Nation, 16/07/13)


  • US: The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims decreased 24,000 to 334,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 358,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday. Moreover, the U.S. manufacturing activity index in the mid-Atlantic region rose from 12.5 in June to 19.8 in July, its highest reading since March 2011, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported Thursday. The better-than-expected index indicated regional manufacturing conditions improved in this month. The U.S. Leading Economic Index came out unchanged in June, but still hovered around a five-year high, according the Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research association. (Xinhua, 19/07/13)
  • US: U.S. builder confidence for newly-built, single-family homes edged up to the highest level in more than seven years in July, a leading industry report said on Tuesday. The builder sentiment index gained 6 points to 57 this month, the highest level since January of 2006, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. (Xinhua, 16/07/13)
  • U.S. industrial output, an indicator of mines, factories and utilities production, rose 0.3% in June, the biggest gain since February, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday. (Xinhua, 16/07/13)
  • The U.S. consumer price index for June jumped 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis, mainly due to a sharp rise in gasoline prices, the biggest increase in four months, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday. (Xinhua, 17/07/13)
  • Bernanke says recent financial tightening “unwelcome” – U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday that recent financial tightening which is associated with the rise in interest rates is “unwelcome.” In his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke said there are three main reasons for the rise in longer-term interest rates, which he thought was relatively low. (Xinhua, 19/07/13)
  • US Housing Starts Fall by 9.9% In June – Construction of new homes fell sharply in June, highlighting risks to the sector’s recovery from rising mortgage rates and supply constraints. Housing starts declined 9.9% in June from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 836,000 units, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Building permits, a key measure of future construction activity, fell by 7.5%. The readings were much worse than expected, with most economists forecasting modest gains in both categories. (The Wall Street Journal, 17/07/13)
  • US: U.S. manufacturing and trading companies’ inventories edged up 0.1% in May on a monthly basis, following a revised 0.2% gain in the prior month, the Department of Commerce said on Monday. (Bloomberg, 15/07/13)
  • U.S. retail and food services sales rose 0.4% in June, another sign of the ongoing economic recovery, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Monday. (Xinhua, 15/07/13)
  • No preset timeline for Fed bond purchase: Bernanke – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday the timetable for trimming the bond purchases is not on a preset course and the Fed would base its adjustment of the US$85bn monthly program on how the economy performs. In a congress testimony on the monetary policy, Bernanke repeated the plan he outlined in June that the central bank would begin to scale back its massive bond purchase program later this year if the incoming data were to be broadly consistent with projections. (Xinhua, 17/07/13)
  • US: Wholesale prices jumped in June on rising gasoline prices. The Producer Price Index for finished goods increased 0.8% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. Meanwhile, the core wholesale prices, which exclude volatile food and energy sectors moved up 0.2% in June. (Xinhua, 13/07/13)
  • U.S. consumer confidence slightly edged down in July but remained close to a six-year high reached in May, according to a consumer sentiment index released on Friday. The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment declined to 83.9 in July from 84.1 in June, the monthly Thomson Reuters/ University of Michigan index showed. (Xinhua, 13/07/13)
  • Eurozone: The euro area registered a trade surplus of €15.2bn (US$19.9bn) in May, up from a surplus of €6.6bn in May last year, the European Union (EU) statistics office Eurostat said Tuesday. (Xinhua, 16/07/13)
  • Consumer price inflation (CPI) in the eurozone increased to 1.6% in June from 1.4% in May, European Union (EU) statistics office Eurostat said Tuesday. This is the second month in a row that CPI has risen in the single currency area which is suffering economic recession and at the risk of deflation, according to figures released by Eurostat. (Xinhua, 16/07/13)
  • Spain: Debt of Spanish banks to ECB falls by 25.5% in June – The total debt of Spanish banks to the European Central Bank (ECB) fell by 25.8% from June 2012 to the same month of 2013 according to latest data published on Friday by the Bank of Spain. The Bank of Spain reported Spanish banks owed a total of €250.052bn (US$326.409bn) to the ECB in June, 1.93% down on May’s figure and a fall of €87.154bn since June 2011. (Xinhua, 13/07/13)
  • China: China’s GDP grew at an annual rate of 7.5% in the second quarter, slowing down from 7.7% in the first quarter, official data showed Monday. However, the figure was inconsistent with market consensus. (Xinhua, 16/07/13)
  • J.P. Morgan lowers China GDP growth forecast – J.P. Morgan has revised down its estimate on China’s 2013 year-on-year economic growth rate from 7.6% to 7.4%, lower than the government’s official target of 7.5%. (Xinhua, 15/07/13)
  • China: Tourism revenues up 10.7% in first half – China’s tourism industry raked in 1.4 trillion yuan (US$228bn) in revenues in the first six months of the year, up 10.7% year on year, according to official statistics. The domestic travel and outbound travel markets both expanded during the period, although the inbound travel market shrank slightly due to weak global economic recovery, the National Tourism Administration said. (Xinhua, 13/07/13)
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