What happened this week 04/11 – 08/11

Thailand

  • MoF warns: protests may slow GDP growth — The MoF warns that anti-government protests might lead to a slowdown in 4Q13 GDP, as Thailand may miss capitalizing on the traditional high season for tourism by tarnishing its public image of the country. (Khao Sod, 05/11/13)
  • Rice deal concluded says spokesman — The government spokesman says the barter transaction between Thailand and China over rice and the high-speed train has been concluded. The deal will see 1mn tons of Thai rice going to China annually in exchange for China investing in the high-speed train (less than 50% of total cost). (Khao Sod, 05/11/13)
  • Thai, New Zealand (NZ) free-trade agreement talks continue — Thailand is hoping to obtain more from the deal, focusing on agriculture products. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key plans to visit Thailand. (ASTV Manager, 05/11/13)
  • Inflation increases slightly in October- Inflation inched up in October on increases in food and non-alcoholic drink prices after September’s rate slowed for a ninth straight month. According to Commerce Ministry figures, prices for 450 consumer items rose by 1.46% year-on-year last month against 1.42% in September, 1.59% in August, 2% in July, 2.25% in June, 2.3% in May and 2.4% in April. The reading is down from 3.6% last December, when the rate was its highest since November 2011. On a MoM basis, prices rose by 0.17%. (Bangkok Post, 04/11/13)
  • Worries on CA balance — Citing the crisis of 2005 as a case study, economists fear the current account balance, as they see it affecting investors’ confidence. This will lead to fund outflows and an increase in policy rates will be the likely response of the BoT. (BangkokBisNews, 04/11/13)
  • Deductible to be doubled – The Revenue Department plans to double the deductible for individual taxpayers to Bt120,000 to ease their tax burden. (Bangkok Post, 04/11/13)
  • Food prices expected to fall in 2014 – Most consumer goods and foods will be cheaper next year following a drop in the prices of crops and raw materials in the world market, according to the Internal Trade Department. (The Nation, 04/11/13)
  • Japan sees protests as having short-term impact — The Japan Chamber of Commerce (JCC) says it believes the protests will cause only short term impact in Thailand. Japanese investors will still invest, but wait until the protests disperse. The current protests are not yet delaying investment but this may be due to the fact that Japanese investors already factor in political risks when considering investment in Thailand. (Khao Sod, 07/11/13)
  • Sorry no rice money today — Rice farmers who pledged 1.2mn tonnes of rice under the government’s scheme for the main crop starting from October face late payments as the government lacks funding, says the chief of a state-owned bank. Dwindling government liquidity for the controversial scheme is thanks to the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) running out of borrowing authority for the pledging, with its planned Bt140bn loan using a Finance Ministry guarantee to fund the current harvest’s Bt270bn budget to be put in the Public Debt Management Office’s borrowing plan next January. A delay in the Commerce Ministry’s rice stock pile sales has also been blamed for the funding liquidity crunch. (Bangkok Post, 07/11/13)
  • Political protests to take a toll on GDP growth: UTCC — The Thai economy could expand only 3.3-3.4%, short of the forecast of 3.5%, if the political tensions smolder till the end of the year, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said. “The government needs to solve the problem soon, as the political conflict is a key factor in destroying consumer confidence, tourism growth and investment. And it would hit the economy severely,” Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the university’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said yesterday. (The Nation, 08/11/13)
  • Consumer confidence down for 7th month — Consumer confidence in October plunged to its lowest level in 19 months, amid concern over demonstrations against the blanket amnesty bill. The Consumer Confidence Index drifted down for the seventh month from 77.9 points in September to 76.6 last month. Other confidence indices and spending power also fell to their lowest in almost two years. (The Nation, 08/11/13)
  • FM says Thai 2014 GDP at 5% — Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, says Thailand’s GDP in 2014 will grow at 5%, with 2013 estimates achievable. He admitted that political problems are eroding confidence of both overseas and local investors. (Khao Sod,8/11/13)
  • Loan for rubber owners — The MoC says it will back the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative’s rubber processing and development project with a loan of Bt5bn, through BAAC. This fund will be used to lend to rubber estate owners to lower their costs and help build processing plants. (Matichon, 08/11/13) 

Global

  • US: New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.7% or US$8.1bn in September, following a 0.1% decrease in August, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Monday. (Xinhua, 05/11/13)
  • U.S. manufacturing growth picks up pace in October- The U.S. Institute of Supply Management (ISM) said the manufacturing index, also known as the purchasing managers index (PMI), edged up from 56.2% in September to 56.4% in October. (Xinhua, 04/11/13)
  • Europe: The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index in the eurozone rose to 51.3 in October from September’s 51.1, in line with the market forecast, London-based Markit Economics reported Monday. (Xinhua, 05/11/13)
  • China: GAC Honda Oct. auto sales up 160% YoY at 39,027 units – Guangqi Honda Automobile (GAC Honda, China) posted auto sales of 39,027 units last month, a surge of 160% YoY. In the first ten months of 2013, the automaker’s sales totaled 321,507 units, up 23% from the corresponding period of last year.(Xinhua, 04/11/13)
  • US: The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in October for the fifth consecutive month, and the growth picked up pace from the previous month, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management reported on Friday. The manufacturing index for October edged up to 56.4 from 56.2 in September. (Xinhua, 02/11/13)
  • China: China’s non-manufacturing PMI rises in October – PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector stood at 56.3% in October, up from 55.4% for September, according to official data released on Sunday. (Xinhua, 03/11/13)
  • Spain: Fitch revises Spain’s outlook to stable – Fitch Ratings, a London-based credit rating company, Friday revised Spain’s sovereign credit rating Outlook to Stable from Negative and affirmed its investment grade rating at BBB.(Xinhua, 02/11/13)
  • Japan: Tokyo-listed firms’ combined April-Sept. net profit quadruples – The combined net profit of 504 companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s First Section roughly quadrupled in the April-September term from a year earlier thanks to a weaker yen and a pickup in consumption, a tally by SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. showed Friday. (Kyodo News, 01/11/13)
  • Europe: Eurostat reports a decrease in eurozone retail sales of 0.6% MoM in September. Sales of food and non-food declined due to sluggish economic recovery and high unemployment at 12.2% that led consumers to curtail expenditures. (IQ BIZ, 6/11/13)
  • Markit’s flash purchasing managers’ index (PMI) revealed that the euro zone’s composite reading fell from 52.2 in September – a two-year high – to 51.5 in October. (CNBC, 6/11/13)
  • Japan: The Japanese government has proposed to the LDP party to cancel rice production controls in FY2018, aiming to increase rice industry competitiveness before the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement allows cheap rice imports from other countries. (IQ BIZ, 6/11/13)
  • China: The Investor Sentiment Index for Chinese investors continued rising in the third quarter, according to a survey jointly released by Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Manulife Teda Fund Management Co. Ltd. The index rose to 17 in the third quarter, higher than the 14 posted in the second quarter and the 13 recorded in the first quarter. The index was also higher than the average reading of 15 for the Asian region. (Xinhua, 6/11/13)
  • US: U.S. economy grows 2.8 percent in third quarter — The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 2.8% in the third quarter before the 16% partial government shutdown, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. This is a welcome acceleration from the 2.5% growth rate in the second quarter. In the first quarter, U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) gained 1.1%. (Xinhua, 7/11/13)
  • U.S. initial jobless claims fall for 4 straight weeks – The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid fell for a fourth consecutive week, but remained well above the pre-shutdown level, the Labor Department reported Thursday. In the week ending Nov. 2, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits edged down by 9,000 to 336,000from the previous week’s revised figure of 345,000. (Xinhua, 7/11/13)
  • Europe: ECB cuts interest rates to record low – The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday announced a surprise cut of its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.25%, signaling that it is ready to do more to help boost the euro zone economy. (Xinhua, 07/11/13)
  • Eurozone’s CPI down to 4-year low – The consumer price index (CPI) in the eurozone is expected to decline to 0.7% in October from 1.1% in September, European Union (EU) statistics office Eurostat said. The single currency area’s CPI dropped to the lowest level since November 2011. (Xinhua, 7/11/13)
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