What happened this week 30/09 – 04/10

A summary of the week’s major headlines both in Thailand and abroad

Thai Economy

  • MoC cuts export target — The MoC has reduced its export target to 4% growth in 2013, a decrease of US$15bn in export value. It forecasts export growth of 5-7% in 2014. Exports to Japan were cut to 0% from 5%. (Krungthep Turakij, 30/09/13)
  • OIE predicts upturn in exports in fourth quarter- Exports are expected to improve for the rest of the year, but the key electronics sector will still show a year-on-year decline, says the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE). (Bangkok Post, 28/09/13)
  • BoT may revise GDP growth forecast downward again: director – The Bank of Thailand may cut its forecast for national economic growth for 2013 in October, despite economic figures in August showing the economy had begun to stabilize. (The Nation, 01/10/13)
  • Exports heading for weak finish, says shippers’ group – Exporters have further downgraded their outlook this year despite an upturn in August, saying shipments of electronics and agricultural products are expected to dip in the fourth quarter. The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC), which represents nearly 3,000 exporters and shippers, has cut its full year export growth estimate from 4%to 2.5%, said chairman Nopporn Thepsithar. (Bangkok Post, 01/10/13)
  • CPI up 1.42% YoY — Commerce Ministry figures showed inflation based on 450 consumer items hit a 46-month low in September. The rate slowed for a ninth straight month, registering 1.42% YoY against 1.59% in August. (Bangkok Post, 02/10/13)
  • State cuts inflation target on strong baht – The government has cut its inflation target this year to between 2.1-2.6% from an earlier projection of 2.8-3.2% due to easing crude oil prices and the strong baht. (Bangkok Post, 02/10/13)
  • Free bus rides extended — The government is extending the free buses and trains to help with the rising cost of travel, now scheduled to end on March 31, 2014. (Krungthep Turakij, 02/10/13)
  • Household debt rocketing — Thai 2Q13 household debt surged by Bt1.2tn (15.7%), with ‘credit card’ debt growth being the driving force in the meteoric rise. The Bank of Thailand warned of defaults in several customer groups. (Krungthep Turakij, 02/10/13)
  • 130,000 car buyers still to claim tax refunds —Buyers of about 130,000 cars who filed for tax refunds under the government’s first-time car buyer scheme have not yet exercised their rights, while another 20,000 prospective buyers have decided to forgo rights. (Bangkok Post, 02/10/13)
  • ADB lowers Thai forecast — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered Thailand’s 2013 economic growth forecast to 3.8% from 4.9% and next year’s outlook to 4.9% from 5%. (Bangkok Post, 03/10/13)
  • Consumer jitters up in September – Thai consumer confidence hit a one-year low in September on worries about the ongoing floods, political instability and fragile economic prospects. The monthly survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) found the consumer confidence index dipping for a sixth straight month in September to 77.9 points. (Bangkok Post, 04/10/13)

Global Economy

  • US: U.S. consumer spending and personal income rose at a faster pace in August, the Commerce Department said Friday. Data showed personal income increased 0.4% in August after a 0.2% growth in July, while personal consumption expenditure rose 0.3%, up from a 0.2% gain in July.
  • Meantime, U.S. consumer sentiment slipped to 77.5 in September from 82.1 in August, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on the index, missing market expectations. (Xinhua, 28/09/13)
  • US: the Chicago Business Barometer rose 2.7 points to 55.7 in September from 53.0 in August, supported by production, new orders and supplier deliveries, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago said Monday. Meanwhile, Texas factory activity expanded in September at a slightly faster pace than in August, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 7.3 to 11.5. (Xinhua, 01/10/13)
  • US: U.S. economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the fourth straight month, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a private research organization. The index registered 56.2, up from August’s reading of 55.7 and beating market expectation. U.S. construction spending in August, which should have been released in the morning by the Census Bureau, was delayed as a result of the federal government shutdown. (Xinhua, 02/10/13)
  • September US Markit manufacturing PMI final was 52.8 vs. 53.8 prior, this shows that even though the economy is growing, it is doing so at a slower pace. (fxstreet, 01/10/13)
  • US: The U.S. private sector employment increased by 166,000 jobs in September, according to the Automatic Data Processing Inc (ADP), a private payrolls processor, missing the market consensus of 180,000. (Xinhua, 03/10/13)
  • US: The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week rose 1,000 to 308,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday, less than the market consensus. The four-week moving average, a smoother measure, fell 3,750 to 305,000, the lowest level since May 2007, it added.
  • Meanwhile, U.S. economic activity index in the non- manufacturing sector registered 54.4 in September, lower than August’s reading of 58.6%, said the Institute for Supply Management. The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week rose 1,000 to 308,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday, less than the market consensus. The four-week moving average, a smoother measure, fell 3,750 to 305,000, the lowest level since May 2007, it added.
  • Europe: Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said the unemployment rate was 12% in August, unchanged from the previous month and down modestly from the 12.1% peak recorded in the summer. In total, the number of unemployed dipped by 5,000 to 19.18mn. (CTV, 01/10/13)
  • Europe: The Governing Council meeting in Paris left the main refinancing rate at 0.5% for a fifth month after cutting it by a quarter point in May as the euro area recovers from its longest-ever recession. (Bloomberg, 02/10/13)
  • Europe: Portugal gets €5.5bn more aid from troika – Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas said on Thursday that the international lenders have agreed to grant another batch of aid totaling €5.5bn (US$7.4bn) for the bailed-out country after their two-week assessment of the bailout program. (Xinhua, 04/10/13)
  • UK: Research by Capital Economics said that the UK is expected to grow at its fastest rate in six years. Third quarter the economy is predicted to grow by 1.3% vs. 0.7% in the previous quarter. (IQ Biz, 03/10/13)
  • Italy: Italian gov’t strengthened by Berlusconi’s diminishing power- Italy’s troubled left-right government gained a new lease of life on Wednesday, when former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to an astonishing U-turn by revolts in his party and gave his confidence vote to the left-right coalition. (Xinhua, 03/10/13)
  • Japan: Japan’s Housing starts increased 8.8% in August from a year earlier, the 12th consecutive month of gains, as consumers generally became more optimistic about the economic outlook, expecting higher prices ahead. Construction orders jumped 21.4% in August from a year earlier as demand for retail and logistics facilities increases. (WSJ, 30/09/13)
  • Japan: Japan’s VAT will rise to 8% from 5% now, the first increase since 1997. To cushion the blow, the prime minister unveiled a package to be compiled in early December, which a Cabinet Office statement showed includes public works spending and tax breaks encouraging companies to boost capital spending and wages. (Bloomberg, 01/10/13)
  • Japan: Japanese consumer confidence worsened from three months ago for the first time in three quarters as more people reported their income shrank from a year earlier, according to the results of the Bank of Japan’s quarterly survey released on Wednesday(MNI, 02/10/13)
  • China: Policies to boost Shanghai FTZ capital market – The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), the country’s top securities regulator, has issued a package of policies to support the capital market in the Shanghai pilot free trade zone (FTZ), officials said on Sunday. Qualified individuals and units, including financial institutes and companies, in the FTZ will be allowed to invest in both domestic and foreign fund markets, said Dai Haibo, deputy director of the zone’s administrative committee, citing a CSRC statement. (Xinhua, 29/09/13)
  • China: A free-trade zone in Shanghai, China’s economic hub, has been launched as the world’s second-biggest economy prepares to test long-awaited economic reforms. (BBC, 30/09/13)
  • The final reading for the China PMI stood at 50.2 in September, slightly higher than the 50.1 recorded in August, said HSBC on Monday. (Xinhua, 30/09/13)
  •  Philippines: The governor of the Philippines’ central bank said the Philippines’ economy will grow by more than 7% this year even if the Fed cuts back on its QE program. (IQ Biz, 03/10/13)
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