What happened this week 03/03 – 07/03

Thailand

  • BoT warns of slump in GDP growth – Gross domestic product (GDP) growth could come in below last year’s 2.9% if the political stalemate persists throughout the year, says a senior Bank of Thailand official. (Bangkok Post, 01/03/14)
  • BAAC plans to issue its own bond in order to finance rice payment, but is uncertain it can raise the full amount needed. (Thai Post, 03/03/14)
  • February inflation hits 7-month high – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is likely to grow continuously in the following months because of the higher cost of raw materials and fresh foods amid rising concern over drought. The current figure stood at 1.96%. (The Nation, 04/03/14)
  • Thais face lowest ASEAN GDP growth – Thailand’s economy is likely to post the lowest growth among ASEAN countries this year if the months-long political unrest lingers until the second quarter, says the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC). (Bangkok Post, 05/03/14)
  • Esarn (Northeastern) SMEs worst hit by the political conflicts with sales dropping by 40-50% on slow rice payment and lack of tourists. (ASTV Manager, 05/03/14)
  • Ministry of Commerce has signed a G2G agreement to sell rice to China. Thailand will export 1mn tons of rice within one year. The exports will be split among government and private exporters with a share of 80% and 20% respectively. (Krungtep Thrurakit, 06/03/14)
  • TNSC stands by forecast of 5% export growth as world GDP rises – The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) is standing by its prediction of 5% growth in exports this year in the belief that the world’s economy will continue to improve and the baht will stay at 33-35 per US dollar. (The Nation, 06/03/14)
  • PDMO reports private debt rose to 45% of total debt in January. The amount of private debt increased by Bt1.62bn to reach Bt5.46trn while government debt increased by Bt1.13bn. (Thai Post, 06/03/14)
  • Confidence at 12-year low – Consumer confidence hit a 12-year low last month as concerns over political uncertainty weakened people’s spending and new investment by the private sector. (Bangkok Post, 07/03/14)
  • Japanese say sayonara, ASEAN rivals will gain if turmoil continues – Japanese investors will likely move their investments from Thailand to other ASEAN members if the political turmoil drags on for another 6-12 months, damaging the economy as a whole. (Bangkok Post, 07/03/14)
  • January saw SME business closures increase by 18%, while SME start up rate fell by 35%. Politics and consumption slowdown are behind this, according to the SME Promotion Office. (Kom Chad Leuk, 07/03/14)
  • Moody’s warns of threat to credit rating – Thailand’s credit fundamentals remain sound enough to withstand political unrest but extension of the political impasse into the second half of this year could trigger a negative ratings action, says Moody’s Investors Service. (Bangkok Post, 07/03/14)

Globally

  • U.S. consumer sentiment up slightly in February – U.S. consumer sentiment increased slightly in February despite the harsh winter weather. The final reading of the consumer sentiment index in February rose to 81.6 from 81.2 in January, according to the monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers. (Xinhua, 01/02/14)
  • U.S. cuts fourth-quarter growth estimate to 2.4% – The U.S. Commerce Department Friday cut its estimate for the fourth quarter growth to an annual rate of 2.4%, lower than the 3.2% rate initially reported. The downward revision mainly reflected changes in consumer spending and exports, which proved less robust than previously thought. (Xinhua, 01/03/14)
  • US: U.S. manufacturing picks up in February – Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector accelerated in February, reversing two months of slowing growth. The PMI, registered 53.2 percent, an increase of 1.9% from January’s reading, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in a report. (Xinhua, 03/03/14)
  • U.S. construction spending unexpectedly rises in January – Construction spending gained 0.1% to an annual rate of US$$943.1bn, the Commerce Department said on Monday. December’s construction spending growth was revised up to 1.5%. (Reuters, 03/02/14)
  • U.S. personal income increased 0.3% in January, while personal consumption expenditures rose 0.4%, the Commerce Department said in a separate report Monday. (Xinhua, 04/03/14)
  • U.S. consumer spending up in January on energy bills – US consumers spent more than expected in January, as harsh winter weather pushed up heating bills. Spending increased 0.4%, following a 0.1% increase in December. Expenditures on services, which mainly referred to heating and other utility use, spiked 0.9% after a modest 0.1% rise in December. (Xinhua, 03/03/14)
  • U.S. service sector eases in February – Economic activity in the non- manufacturing sector slowed in February, reflecting the severe weather conditions and cautiousness regarding economic outlook. The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) registered 51.6 percent in February, 2.4 percentage points lower than January’s reading, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in its monthly report. (Xinhua, 05/03/14)
  • U.S. private sector adds fewer jobs than expected in February – U.S. private-sector added 139, 000 jobs in February, lower than market expectation, as bad weather weighed on the job market. The job data was lower than expected, as average economist expectation was about 156,000. (Xinhua, 05/03/14)
  • U.S factory orders down 0.7% in January – New orders for manufactured goods in January, down three of the last four months, decreased by a smaller margin led by transportation orders. New orders for manufactured goods fell 0.7% to US$483bn. This followed a 2.0% December decrease. (Xinhua, 06/03/14)
  • U.S. initial jobless claims fall to three-month low – The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid last week fell to a three-month low, reflecting an improving job market. In the week ending March 1, the figure decreased by 26,000 to 323,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. (Xinhua, 06/03/14)
  • China’s manufacturing PMI drops to 50.2% in February – China’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dropped to 50.2% in February, down from 50.5% for January. February continued January’s decline with most sub-indices shrinking, according to a statement jointly released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). (Xinhua, 01/02/14)
  • China keeps 2014 growth target at 7.5% – China targeted economic growth of around 7.5% in 2014, unchanged from last year, according to a government work report to be delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the parliament’s annual session Wednesday. (Xinhua, 05/03/14)
  • China aims to keep inflation at 3.5% in 2014 – China aims to hold this year’s consumer price growth at around 3.5%, according to a government work report to be delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. (Xinhua, 05/03/14)
  • German machinery orders increase in January – Orders for German machines and tools increased by 6% in real terms in January, compared with the previous year, VDMA said. Domestic demands grew by 2%, while foreign orders were up by 7%, the German Engineering Association (VDMA) said on Tuesday. (Xinhua, 04/03/14)
  • British service sector in strong growth in February – British dominant service sector posed a continued robust growth in February, showed a survey report on Wednesday, pointing to a further strengthening of economic recovery. The report, jointly issued by Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), showed the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for the service sector was at 58.2 in February, showing little change from on January’s 58.3. (Xinhua, 05/03/14)
  • OECD annual inflation inches up to 1.7% in January – Consumer prices in the area of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rose by 1.7% in the year to January 2014, gaining 0.1 percentage points compared with that in the year to December 2013, said the OECD on Tuesday. (Xinhua, 05/03/14)
  • Eurozone Composite PMI climbs to 32-month high – According to data released by Markit Wednesday, the composite output index in the euro zone beat expectations to rise to 53.3 in February, up from 52.9 in January and an earlier flash reading of 52.7. (IBTimes, 05/03/014)
  • ECB keeps interest rates unchanged despite low inflation – The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday decided to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.25% at a regular rate-setting meeting. (Xinhua, 06/03/14)
  • Bank of England keeps interest rate unchanged at 0.5% – The Bank of England (BOE), the central bank of Britain, Thursday voted to keep its main interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, five years on after its decision to cut them to their current historical low. (Xinhua, 06/03/14)
  • German Jan industry orders post 1.2% rise – German industrial orders rose 1.2% in January, almost twice as much as forecast, as both domestic and export markets gave momentum, reinforcing hopes the German economy will shake off the weakness it suffered in 2013. (Reuters, 06/03/14)
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