What happened this week 10/03 – 14/03


  • Thai drought’s wide-ranging effects – Severe drought will probably weaken Thai agriculture for another year, and the phenomenon could derail growth of the country’s farm economy. (Bangkok Post, 10/03/14)
  • Government proposing to borrow from disaster fund — According to several sources from Ministry of Finance, the government has submitted a loan proposal to borrow up to Bt20bn under the law where government can advance any loan amount needed in an event of emergency from disaster. The government lawyer will debate whether the rice payment crisis could be interpreted as emergency from disaster. (Post Today, 10/03/14)
  • BoI applications down — The BoI reveal that the first two month of the year the total propose project to BOI was at Bt70bn, down by Bt100bn from the same period last year. It advice that if the political situation does not improve investors should split the investment into phase smaller than bt200mn to improve chance of approval. (Matichon, 10/03/14) 
  • Corruption in public sector worse: poll – Public sector corruption was a major problem last year, with the “Corruption Situation Index” (CSI) in December showing that 75% of those polled saying it had got worse. That was up 12 percentage points from 2012. This trend needs to be rectified immediately through pressure from the whole community, social and business groups said. (The Nation, 11/03/14)
  • No sign yet of credit rating downgrade, Agencies concerned about long-term effects of populist policies – Global credit-rating agencies are maintaining their outlook on Thailand despite the political unrest, but are keeping a close watch on populist projects that could continue to drive government expenditure for the long term, according to the Finance Ministry’s Public Debt Management Office. (The Nation, 11/03/14)
  • Vietnam will cut its rice price for the second time in one month in an attempt to relieve inventory pressure. Private rice mills in Thailand have been complaining that the government has been competing to sell rice, causing price to drop further. (Krungtep Thrurakit, 11/03/14)
  • Mega projects “go” even without bill —Caretaker Transport Minister says he will push the mega infrastructure projects ahead even without the Bt2trn loan bill. (Krungtep Thurakit, 12/03/14)
  • Oil Fund sees further woes – With oil prices spiraling up, authorities warned that the state-owned Oil Fund, the key pillar of local oil price subsidy, faces further liquidity problems. (Bangkok Post, 12/03/14)
  • Commerce to press ahead with FTA talks and AEC goal despite political situation – The Commerce Ministry yesterday insisted that moves towards achieving new free-trade agreements (FTAs) would continue as scheduled, despite the ongoing political uncertainty. (The Nation, 12/03/14)
  • Fitch warns Thailand on risk factors – Fitch Ratings has maintained Thailand’s sovereign credit rating but warns that the dysfunctional government, protracted political uncertainty and rapid, sustained rises in public debt risk a negative action at some point. (Bangkok Post, 12/03/14)
  • MPC cuts rate by narrow vote – The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut its policy rate by 25 basis points yesterday for the first time this year, although some economists say the reduction is probably not big enough to help the country’s economic growth. (Bangkok Post, 13/03/14)
  • Bt2-tn loan bill rejected — The government’s Bt2trn borrowing bill for infrastructure projects, including high-speed railway, was yesterday unanimously ruled unconstitutional by the charter court in a much-awaited verdict. The Constitutional Court voted 9-0 to rule the content of the bill unconstitutional, while there was a 6-2 vote with one judge abstaining over the bill being passed in procedural violation of the charter following coalition MPs voting with others’ identity cards. The court ruled the entire bill unconstitutional, saying the main content violated Article 154 (3) of the charter. (The Nation, 13/03/2014)
  • Budget deficit to double — The national budget deficit is projected to hit Bt500bn in FY2015, double this year’s level, the Budget Bureau will propose to the next government, after the charter court ruled the current administration’s Bt2trn loan bill as unconstitutional. A deficit equivalent of 4% of GDP will likely be designed to accommodate the government’s investment plan more flexibly. However, an increase in the deficit would defer the plan to balance the budget by 2017. (The Nation, 14/03/2014)
  • FPO head urges the next government to carry on with the Bt2trn mega projects — He suggested several way to finance the deal. However the next government will have to prioritize projects, with dual track tracks and motorways top of the list and the high speed train down at the bottom. (Post Today, 14/03/14)
  • FPO head questions MPC decision to cut rate — He argues that a single cut of 0.50% in a better economic climate would be more effective than a two-step 0.25% cut. (Post Today, 14/03/14)


  • U.S. job growth beats expectation in February – U.S. employment situation improved in February, as the newly-added jobs beat expectation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown. U.S. non-farm payroll increased by 175,000 in February, following a revised 129,000 in January. (Xinhua, 07/03/14)
  • U.S. trade deficit steady in January as exports bounce back – The U.S. trade deficit was little changed in January as a rebound in exports matched an increase in imports. The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap was at US$39.1bn from December’s revised shortfall of US$$39.0bn. December’s trade gap was previously reported as being US$38.7bn. (Xinhua, 07/03/14)
  • U.S. Conference Board: Employment Trends Index Rises in February – The Conference Board said its February employment trends index increased to 116.39 from a revised 115.99 in January, first reported as 116.61.The latest index is up 4.4% from a year ago. (NASDAQ, 10/03/14)
  • U.S. wholesale inventories up 0.6% in January – U.S. wholesale inventories rose more than expected in January with a sharp fall in sales, a mixed sign for the economic growth, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. Inventories at the wholesale level rose 0.6% in January. (Xinhua, 11/03/14)
  • U.S. business inventories up 0.4% in January – U.S. business inventories continued to rise in January, but sales posted their largest decline in 10 months. Inventories rose 0.4% to US$1.72trn in January, following a 0.5% gain in December. The figure also represented a 3.9% increase year on year. (Xinhua, 13/03/14)
  • U.S. initial jobless claims drop to three-month low – The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid dropped to a three-month low in the first week of March. In the week ending March 8, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits edged down by 9,000 to 315,000, the lowest level since late November. (Xinhua, 13/03/14)
  • U.S. retail sales up 0.3% in February – U.S. retail and food services sales rebounded in February after two straight months of declines. The department said the combined retail and food services sales in February increased 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted US$427.2bn. It followed a revised 0.6% decline in January. (Xinhua, 13/03/14)
  • China’s inflation up 2% in February – China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, increased 2% YoY in February, down from 2.5% in January, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) unveiled on Sunday. (Xinhua, 09/03/14)
  • China sees first trade deficit in 11 months – China reported a large trade deficit in February mainly due to lunar new year distortions, marking the first deficit since April 2013. Last month, the trade deficit stood at US$22.98bn, compared with a surplus of US$14.8bn last February and US$31.86bn this January, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said in a statement. (Xinhua, 08/03/14)
  • China auto sales down from record high – China’s automobile sales fell in February from a record high in January, with sales of home-brand passenger cars dropping sharply. Sales amounted to 1.6 million units last month, down 26% from January, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement. (Xinhua, 10/03/14)
  • China Feb. crude oil imports at 23.05mn tons, GAC – China’s crude oil imports stood at 23.05 million tonnes in February. The country imported 51.2 million tonnes of crude oil in the first two months of this year, up 11.5% year on year, said the General Administration of Customs (GAC). (Xinhua, 10/03/14)
  • Japan’s Oct.-Dec. GDP growth downgraded to annual 0.7% – Japan’s economic growth was slower than initially estimated in 4Q13. It expanded by an annualized 0.7% in the three months through December, downgraded from an initial estimate of a 1.0% rise due to weaker growth in capital spending and private consumption, the Cabinet Office said. (Kyodo, 10/03/14)
  • Feb. bankruptcies in Japan hit 23-year low – The number of corporate bankruptcies in Japan in February declined 14.6% from a year earlier to 916, the lowest for the month in 23 years. The number posted a year-on-year fall for the 16th straight month as the government’s monitoring of banks’ lending to small businesses and banks’ acceptance of small borrowers’ loan rescheduling requests continued to reduce bankruptcies, Tokyo Shoko Research said. (Kyodo, 10/03/14)
  • French central bank sees Q1 growth at 0.2% – French growth would stand at 0.2% during the first three months of the year, France’s central bank, la Banque de France (BdF) said on Monday, confirming a previous estimate. (Xinhua, 10/03/14)
  • ECB to probe €3.7trn of eurozone bank assets – The European Central Bank (ECB) published its manual on the methodology for Phase 2 of the asset quality review (AQR) on Tuesday, saying the total amount of the portfolios selected for review will be €3.72trn. (Xinhua, 11/03/14)
  • German exports and imports surge hailed as good news for Europe – The latest trade figures show Germany – Europe’s largest economy -started the year on a strong footing and is on track to robust growth. Imports jumped by a very strong 4.1%, bouncing back from December’s 1.4%. Exports rose 2.2% after a 0.9% decline in December. (Euronews, 11/03/14)
  • British industrial output edges up in January – Britain’s total production output increased by 0.1% in January over the previous month, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). (Xinhua, 11/03/14)
  • BOJ maintains ultraeasy monetary policy – The Bank of Japan decided Tuesday to maintain its ultraeasy monetary policy and left unchanged its assessment that the domestic economy is continuing to recover, with Governor Haruhiko Kuroda remaining confident about overcoming deflation despite a slowdown in exports. (Kyodo, 11/03/14)
  • Philippine jobless rate rises to 7.5% in Jan. – Unemployment rate in the Philippines went up to 7.5% in January from 7.1% recorded a year ago, according to preliminary estimates released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday. (Xinhua, 11/03/14)
  • Eurozone industrial production down 0.2% in January – Eurozone seasonally adjusted industrial production declined by 0.2% on a monthly basis in January, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU) said Wednesday. (Xinhua, 12/03/14)
  • Minimum wage in Britain rises to US$10.80 per hour – The British government on Wednesday announced a rise in the national minimum wage to £6.5 (US$10.80) per hour later this year. More than one million people are expected to benefit from this new policy. (Xinhua, 12/03/14)
  • Australia consumer confidence falls to 10-month low in March – Australian consumer sentiment fell for a fourth successive month in March as households worried about the economic outlook and their job security, with pessimists now outnumbering optimists. The index fell 0.7% in March from February, when it had fallen by 3.0%. (Reuters, 12/03/14)
  • Japan’s Feb. consumer confidence down to lowest level in over 2 yrs – Japan’s consumer confidence worsened in February to its lowest level since September 2011, the government said Wednesday, amid growing concern that a planned consumption tax hike next month may deal a heavy blow to the country’s economic recovery. The index fell 2.2 points from the previous month to 38.3, down for the third straight month. (Kyodo, 12/03/14)
  • S. Korea central bank holds rates for 10th month – South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates steady for a 10th straight month on Thursday, as expected, as it eyes offshore risks and a slow domestic economic recovery amid low inflationary pressures. (Reuters, 03/02/14)
  • Japan’s core machinery orders surge 13.4% in January – Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders gained a seasonally adjusted 13.4% from the previous month to ¥843.5bn (US$8.21bn), suggesting the recent economic recovery has stimulated companies’ investment. (Xinhua, 13/03/14)
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