What happened this week 03/02 – 07/02

Thailand

  • Private businesses see a new government within 6 months, while both Federation of Thai Industry and University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said that they will revise their forecasts to reflect the new information. (Krungtep Thrurakit, 03/02/14)
  • Exporters seriously damage by the turmoil as distribution chains get interrupted, causing their cash conversion cycle to worsen. SME survey shows a drop in sales during the protest. (Matichon, 03/02/14)
  • MoF warns re: 2014 growth — The Ministry of Finance warns that if a government cannot be formed for another 4-6 months, GDP growth in 2014 will be only 1-2%, and the prolongation of the State of Emergency could see Thailand’s credit rating cut. (Thai Post, 03/02/14)
  • Exports tipped to rebound strongly – The weak baht and the global economic recovery are factors that will drive Thai export growth to 5% this year, says the Commerce Ministry. It will be a strong rebound after shipments last year experienced a contraction of 0.31% from 2012, the first in four years since the US Hamburger Crisis slashed Thai exports by 14.26% in 2009. Commerce permanent secretary Srirat Rastapana said the baht is expected to move within a range of 29-34 to the US dollar, and this positive exchange rate will help to drive export growth by 5%. (Bangkok Post, 01/02/14)
  • Prasarn: Turmoil will take toll – Economic growth will likely expand by less than 3% this year amid the stuttering economy and political setbacks, says Bank of Thailand governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul. (Bangkok Post, 01/02/14)
  • Inflation in Jan hits 6-month high, driven by food, fuel prices, Commerce sets annual rate at 2-2.8% amid weakening consumption – Inflation edged up last month by only 1.93% YoY, but still hit a six-month high due to rising food and fuel prices. (The Nation, 04/02/14)
  • Impasse hits 2014 growth – The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking predicts one or two percentage points will be shaved off economic growth if the political turmoil lasts for several more months. (Bangkok Post, 04/02/14)
  • Container shipments up — The Port Authority said that in 1QFY14 (Oct-Dec 2013) the amount of container shipments increased 4.01%, from 1.8mn teu to 1.97 teu. (Thai Post, 04/02/14)
  • Fewer new factories being built — The Department of Industrial Works said that new factories built in January fell to 254 from 331 in December. (Post Today, 04/02/14)
  • Moody’s slashes Thai forecast – Moody’s analytics, a research arm of rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, has slashed its 2014 economic growth forecast for Thailand to 3.2% from 5.2% on the enduring political uncertainty. (The Nation, 05/02/14)
  • Exports: Shippers’ council sticks to 5% growth for this year – The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) yesterday said the current political uncertainty had not affected exports or the shipping industry, and that it was maintaining its prediction of 5% export growth for this year. (The Nation, 06/02/14)
  • Rice exporters expects 2014 annual rice exports to hit 7.5mn tons. They also have a positive view on the market as a whole even with the problems with the government pledging scheme. (Kom Chad Leuk, 06/02/14)
  • Jan CCI hits 26-month low — Consumer confidence hit a 26-month low last month, according to a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. The UTCC’s consumer confidence index for January stood at 71.5 points, down from 75 points in December. The UTCC may revise down the country’s economic growth forecast this year from 3-4% to below 2% in the second quarter after finding out that 63.8% of SMEs have been affected by the political crisis, with 20.9% citing the plunge in tourism business in the current quarter. Domestic consumption and confidence have also declined. (The Nation, 07/02/2014)
  • Sell rice stocks now – Either the release of the state rice stockpiles or the resignation of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could pave the way for a new government to pay farmers for pledged paddy, but the idea of approaching banks to buy farmers’ pledged invoices at a discount could be stuck in legal limbo, say two former finance ministers. (Bangkok Post, 07/02/14)
  • Ministry turns to rice millers for help – The Commerce Ministry yesterday turned to rice millers for assistance, asking them to pay about half of the rice-pledging amount owed to farmers. The ministry came up with the proposal after thousands of farmers rallied in front of the ministry’s compound in Nonthaburi. The caretaker government has failed to secure funds to pay the rice farmers taking part in the pledging scheme. However, protesting farmers rejected the proposal and demanded the government pay them within three days. (Bangkok Post, 07/02/14)

Globally

  • US: U.S. consumer sentiment dips in January – U.S. consumer sentiment dropped in January after jumping to a five-month high in December, as Americans felt less optimistic about long term economic prospects. The final reading of the consumer sentiment index in January dipped to 81.2 from 82.5 in December. (Xinhua, 01/02/14)
  • U.S. consumer spending moderately strong in December – U.S. consumers spent more in December although their income barely increased, contributing to the recent consumption-driven economic recovery. Personal spending rose 0.4% after a 0.6% increase in November. (Xinhua, 01/02/14)
  • US: U.S. construction spending barely rises in December – Total construction spending rose by a moderate 0.1% from the revised November data to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about US$930.5bn in December. It was 5.3% higher than the year-ago estimate. (Xinhua, 03/02/14)
  • U.S. manufacturing growth slows further in January – The U.S. manufacturing sector has expanded for eight consecutive months, but the pace of growth has continued to slow. The manufacturing index (PMI), slowed by 5.2 percentage points from December’s 56.5% to 51.3% in January, the U.S. Institute of Supply Management (ISM) said. (Xinhua, 03/02/14)
  • US: Markit PMI unrevised at 53.7 in January – The Markit manufacturing PMI dropped to 53.7 in January versus 55.0 the previous month, matching the preliminary estimation. Readings above 50.0 signal expansion in the sector. (FxStreet, 03/02/14)
  • US: Transportation drives down U.S. factory orders in December – New orders for manufactured goods fell 1.5 percent, the biggest in five months, to US$489.2bn in December, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The decrease was led by orders of transportation equipment. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • US: U.S. service sector gains momentum in January – The U.S. non-manufacturing sector expanded at faster pace in January after two months of slowdown, reflecting growth for the 48th consecutive month. The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) sped up to 54%, 1 percentage point higher than the reading for December, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in its monthly survey. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • U.S. private sector adds fewer jobs than expected in January – U.S. private sector added 175,000 jobs in January, the smallest increase since August as bad weather weighed on the job market, according to the National Employment Report released by Automatic Data Processing (ADP). The figure was slightly below average market expectation of 180,000 jobs and lower than December’s downwardly-revised reading of 227,000. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • U.S. mortgage applications increased 0.4% for the week ending Jan. 31 from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. (Xinhua, 06/02/14)
  • U.S. The Labor Department said that initial claims of U.S. unemployment benefits dropped by 20,000 to 331,000 in the week ending Feb. 1. This is the first decline in three weeks and less than the market consensus of 335,000.
  • Eurozone inflation fell significantly below market forecasts in January – Overall inflation across the 18-country single currency area slowed to 0.7% in January from 0.8% the previous month. This was much lower than the 0.9% market forecast from a Reuters poll. (FT, 01/02/14)
  • Britain — London housing market under price bubbles risk, warns Ernst and Young – The housing market in London is beginning to show signs of bubble-like conditions, said a research report issued by Ernst and Young Item Club (EY ITEM Club) on Monday, while asking the government to monitor the trend closely and be prepared to intervene. (Xinhua, 03/02/14)
  • British construction PMI surges to 64.6 in January – The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the British construction sector rose to 64.6 (above 50 is growth) in January, up from 62.1 in December. This was the sharpest expansion since August 2007. And the construction sector has shown increased growth from a 40-month low of 46.8 seen back in February 2013. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • German manufacturing grows in January at fastest rate since May 2011: PMI – The final reading was the highest since May 2011 and slightly higher than the preliminary estimate of 56.3. (Reuters, 03/02/14)
  • Final eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 54.0 in January, the strongest rate of expansion since May 2011, according to data released Monday by the research organization Markit. (Xinhua, 03/02/14)
  • Eurozone retail trade down by 1.6% in December – The seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade in eurozone’s 17 nations in December 2013 fell by 1.6% compared to November, European Union (EU) statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • Britain: Economists say services sector data points to continued growth in British economy – Another strong set of PMI figures for the services sector released Wednesday indicates that the British economy looks set to grow robustly in the first quarter of 2014. Economic activity appears to have slowed slightly, and the services sector, which accounts for 77% of the British economy, recorded a PMI of 58.3, down from 58.8 in December and a consensus forecast of 59. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • German industrial orders drop unexpectedly in December – Germany’s industrial orders declined out of economists’ expectation in December 2013, mainly due to a drop in domestic demand, according to official data issued on Thursday. Compared with the previous month, orders in December dropped by 0.5%, falling short of economists’ expectation of a 0.2% increase, following a upwardly-revised increase of 2.4% in November, the German Economic Ministry said. (Xinhua, 06/02/14)
  • ECB keeps interest rates unchanged – The Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.25%, 0.75% and 0.00% respectively, said a statement by the ECB. (Xinhua, 06/02/14)
  • BoE maintains interest rate at 0.5% – The Bank of England (BoE), the central bank of Britain, Thursday voted to maintain interest rate at 0.5% and the scale of quantitative easing policy at £375bn (or US$610bn), said a BoE statement. (Xinhua, 06/02/14)
  • China: China’s manufacturing PMI drops to 50.5% in January – China’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dropped to a five-month low of 50.5% in January, according to official data released on Saturday. (Xinhua, 01/02/14)
  • S.Korea’s exports reduce in Jan. on fewer working days – South Korea’s exports last month fell 0.2% from a year earlier to US$45.58bn in January. Exports reduced last month due to fewer working days caused by the Lunar New Year holidays that fall in late January. (Xinhua, 01/02/14)
  • Indonesia’s annual inflation rate above 8% in January – The consumer price index rose 8.22% in January from a year earlier, versus an 8.38% increase projected in a Reuters poll of economists. The pace in January was well above Bank Indonesia’s target of 3.5-5.5% for full-year inflation in 2014. (Business Times, 03/02/14)
  • Indonesia’s economy grows 5.78% in 2013, slowest pace since 2009 – The Indonesian economy in 2013 expanded at its slowest pace in four years with growth of 5.78%. The Central Bureau of Statistics attributed the figure to sluggish exports and higher interest rates that dragged on consumption as the central bank has raised its benchmark rate by 1.75 percentage points since June. (Xinhua, 05/02/14)
  • Philippines keeps rates on hold, inflation manageable – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) kept the overnight borrowing rate at a record low of 3.5%, for a 10th straight meeting. It lowered its inflation estimate for the year to 4.3% from a previous estimate of 4.5%, but slightly raised estimates for 2015. (Reuters, 06/02/14)
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