What happened this week 27/01 – 31/01

Thailand

  • Ministry starts loan auctions, Legitimacy of decision in doubt – The Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) will kick-start the bridging-loan auction today in hopes of mobilizing funds to repay rice farmers by the end of this month. (Bangkok Post, 29/01/14)
  • FTI: Manufacturing contribution to GDP to drop by 1% in 1Q14 — The Thai Federation of Industries (TFI) said that manufacturing contribution to GDP will drop by 1% in the first quarter, with the annual figure standing at a mere 2-3% growth. (Matichon, 29/01/14)
  • Chaos spook Japan industry – Japan’s financial and parts industries are concerned over Thailand’s prolonged political protests, which could drag down investment, said Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos. (The Nation, 29/01/14)
  • BoT confident it can cope with currency demand during the Chinese New Year. It currently has reserves of Bt200bn in notes, a reserve which should last three months, the BoT says. (ASTV Manager, 29/01/14)
  • New bid to bridge rice gap – The Finance Ministry s Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) plans to secure bridge loans in phases from banks before issuing BAAC with bonds to be guaranteed by the Finance Ministry to pay for the financing. (Bangkok Post, 28/01/14)
  • Research houses and banks cut GDP forecast for the coming year as protest is likely to drag on, eroding confidence and spending. (Krungtep Thurakit, 27/01/14)
  • Agricultural, tourism SMEs in trouble as the knock-on effect from delays in rice payments put farmers in debt. The state of emergency also pushing tourism SMEs to the brink. (ASTV Manager, 27/01/14)
  • Trade partners losing confidence in Thailand — The Commerce Department said that trade partners are starting to lose confidence in Thai businesses ability to deliver goods on time as a result of protests. The effect will start to show on company book in the second quarter. (Thai Post, 27/01/14)
  • BoT watching protests. Bangkok SMEs are being hurt the most, while those in the provinces are showing resilience. It said that commercial banks and creditors are being understanding of the situation, so most business will survive for now, but if the protest drags on it might be cause for concern. (Kom Chad Leuk, 19/01/14)
  • BoI cuts 2014 investment target to Bt900bn as protests continue. However, it remains optimistic for the Thai private sector as a whole. (Matichon, 28/01/14)
  • FTI predicts ominous year for SMEs – Some 70% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) expect their revenue to drop this year compared to 2013 due to the political unrest, reports a survey by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). (Bangkok Post, 28/01/14)
  • Baht ‘wont’ follow same fate as Argentina’s peso’ – The Bank of Thailand says it is confident that the baht will not follow the plunge of Argentina’s peso, given Thailand’s strong economic fundamentals. However, it concedes that the local political problem is a concern. (The Nation, 30/01/14)
  • Commerce still targets 5% export growth even though political conflict is talking its toll. Ministry of Primary Industries and Mining, on the other hand, is less optimistic, with food exports forecast to be less than Bt1trn. (Matichon, 30/01/14)
  • Unemployment worries — TDRI is worried that the protests will push unemployment rate up as investments slow and multinational corporates relocate. (Matichon, 31/01/14)
  • November public debt figure is at 45.34% of GDP or Bt5.39tn, a Bt20bn increase from previous month due to ever expanding government debt, according to Public Debt Management Office (PDMO). (Thai Post, 31/01/14)
  • Baht dips in line with regional peers – The Bank of Thailand said yesterday that the baht fell, following its regional peers, after the US Federal Reserve pressed on with monetary-stimulus cuts that have spurred investment to shift from stock markets to low-risk assets. The Thai currency fell to Bt32.96 against the dollar at the close yesterday. (The Nation, 31/01/14)

Globally

  • US: U.S. consumer confidence increases in Jan. – U.S. consumer confidence rose for the second straight month in January. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index stood at 80.7 in January, up from 77.5 in December. (Xinhua, 28/01/14)
  • U.S. home prices stage robust yearly gain in Nov. – U.S. house prices notched the first monthly drop in November 2013 in about a year, but still posted a strong gain on a yearly basis. The 10-City and 20-City Composites appreciated 13.8% and 13.7% in November year over year, respectively, bucking the trend in a traditionally weak winter season. (Xinhua, 28/01/14)
  • U.S. durable goods orders fall unexpectedly in December – New orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods unexpectedly decreased last month, casting a shadow on the economy’s outlook. The orders for durable goods in December dropped US$10.3bn, or 4.3%, to US$229.3bn, following a revised gain of 2.6% in November. (Xinhua, 28/01/14)
  • US: Fed announces further cut in monetary stimulus program – With the U.S. economy improving, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it will further reduce its bond purchases by US$10bn starting February. (Xinhua, 29/01/14)
  • U.S. crude supplies added 6.4mn barrels to 357.6 mn barrels for the week ended Jan. 24, topping market expectation, said the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Energy Department’s statistical arm. (Xinhua, 29/01/14)
  • US: U.S. economy grows 3.2% in Q4 -The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from the revised rate of 4.1% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. (Xinhua, 30/01/14)
  • U.S. initial jobless claims jump to six-week high – In the week ending Jan. 25, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 19,000 to 348, 000, the highest since mid-December. (Xinhua, 30/01/14)
  • U.S. pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 8.7% to 92.4 in December, the lowest level since October 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. The association said abnormal weather partly inhibited home shopping in much of the country. (Xinhua, 30/01/14)
  • US auto sales seen rising 1% in January – JD Power-LMC – Industry consultant and research firms JD Power and LMC Automotive said Friday, which equates to a seasonally adjusted annualized 15.9 million vehicles, from 15.2 million in January 2013, said that US auto sales will rise 1% in January from a year ago. (Automotive News, 25/01/14)
  • US: New home sales fall 7% in U.S. in December – Sales of single-family houses in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, down 7 percent from the revised November rate of 445,000. On a year-on-year basis, the reading was 4.5 percent higher. (Xinhua, 27/01/14)
  • China: China economic growth likely to fall to 7.4% in 2014: JP Morgan – China’s economic growth is expected to slow from 7.7% to 7.4% in 2014, as structural reforms and the maintenance of reasonable economic growth are top two tasks this year, said Zhu Haibin, chief economist with JP Morgan, in his latest report. (Xinhua, 28/01/14)
  • China’s manufacturing PMI falls to 6-month low – The HSBC/Markit China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for January dipped to 49.5 from 50.5 in December, the first deterioration of operating conditions in China’s manufacturing sector since July. The final reading was in line with the 49.6 reported in the preliminary version of the PMI released last week (Xinhua, 30/01/14)
  • Bank of England might fine tune policy on rapidly falling unemployment rate – The British central bank the Bank of England (BOE) looks set to modify one of its key elements around interest rate policy, economists said Friday. (Xinhua, 25/01/14)
  • Britain announces fund support to boost business, local economies – The British government announced Wednesday a £415mn (US$687mn) cash injection as part of the country’s long-term economic plan to support business, boost retail services in high streets, create jobs and help local economies growth. (Xinhua, 30/01/14)
  • Bundesbank point to stronger German growth – Bundesbank said it expected economic growth to pick up between January and March as the industrial sector gains traction. Economists predict gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by around 1.7% this year. (Reuters, 27/01/14)
  • Ifo business index rises for third month in Germany – The Ifo Business Climate Index for industry and trade in Germany rose to 110.6 in January. The assessment of the current business situation has risen to its highest level since June 2012. (Xinhua, 27/01/14)
  • IMF chief warns of risks to recovery – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde on Saturday said that the recovery of the world economy is a consolidation process and people should be aware of the risks. (Xinhua, 25/01/14)
  • India, Japan sigh 8 pacts of economic cooperation – India and Japan signed Saturday night eight pacts of economic cooperation on the first day of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to New Delhi. Half were connected with Japanese aid including soft loans and outright grants. Seventy percent of the Japanese loans will go for implementing phase-III of the Delhi Metro project. (Xinhua, 25/01/14)
  • Myanmar to get US$2bn World Bank development aid – The World Bank announced a US$2bn, multiyear development aid program for various projects in Myanmar including reforms, energy and healthcare. (UPI, 27/01/14)
  • Japan logs record trade deficit of ¥11.47trn in 2013 – Japan posted a record trade deficit of ¥11.47trn (US$112.07bn) in 2013, up 65.3% from the previous year. The value of imports jumped 15.0% to a record ¥81.26trn. The value of exports soared 9.5% to ¥69.79trn, up for the first time in three years on the back of the yen’s depreciation, but still failed to outweigh imports. (Kyodo, 27/01/14)
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