What happened this week 17/03 – 21/03

Thailand

  • Private sector hit by slowing domestic consumption — Businesses in the private sector believes that if no government can be formed in 1H14, Thai GDP growth will only be in the range of 1-2%. (ASTV Manager, 18/03/14)
  • Exports beacon of hope for GDP growth – Despite lifting the emergency decree and adopting a looser monetary policy, exports are deemed the main beacon of hope for economic growth this year amid the prolonged political stalemate, according to economists. (Bangkok Post. 20/03/14)
  • GDP forecast may be trimmed again, NIDA ‘baseline scenario’ sees economy expanding by less than 3% – The Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office is likely to cut its 2014 economic-growth forecast for a second time – this time to below 3.1% – after witnessing an 18% MoM contraction in tourist arrivals in February. (The Bangkok Post, 20/03/14)
  • Alcoholic beverage sales down as a result of consumption slowdown. Foreign alcoholic imports are likely to suffer the most from the slowdown. (Kom Chad Leuk, 20/03/14)
  • Rice prices set to fall further – Rice prices are expected to keep falling further due to frequent rice sales held by the government and its hasty attempts to dispose of huge stocks of the grain. (Bangkok Post, 20/03/14)
  • Fiscal Policy Office says political unrest has pressured tourism. In Jan-Feb in 2014, passengers decreased 4.1% YoY to 4.5mn. It aims at 2014 growth of 4.8% YoY to 28mn passengers, down from 16.5% YoY or 31.1mn passengers. (Khao Sod, 21/3/14)
  • BOT will adjust 2014 GDP growth today, now expecting Thai GDP will grow less than expected, pressured by slow investment and government expenditure. Fitch Ratings has warned of a possible lowering in Thailand’s credit rating. (BangkokBiz, 21/3/14)
  • OIE says 86% of companies suffering — The Office of Industrial Economics says a survey covering 300 companies in nine industries – 100 large and 200 SMEs – reveals that 86% of those surveyed have felt the impact from the political unrest. (Post Today, 21/3/14)
  • UTCC lowers GDP forecast — The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has reduced its 2014 GDP growth to 2.5% YoY and says that if a government cannot be formed, the economy will 1% this year. It reports a Bt430bn revenue loss from the debacle. The BoT says that household debt at 80.1% will lower debt repayment ability. (Matichon, 21/3/14)
Globally
  • US: The U.S. Producer Price Index for final demand unexpectedly fell 0.1% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said Friday. The decline followed advances of 0.2% in January and 0.1% in December, showing a lack of inflationary pressure in the United States. Meanwhile, the preliminary reading of the U.S. consumer sentiment slipped to 79.9 in March from 81.6 the prior month, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s survey released Friday, trailing market expectations. (Xinhua, 15/03/14)
  • US: Manufacturing activity in the New York region continued to improve in March, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The general business conditions index registered 5.61 in March, slightly higher than 4.48 in the prior month. Xinhua, (18/03/14)
  • U.S. industrial production increased 0.6% in February after having declined 0.2% in January, said the U.S. Federal Reserve Monday, beating market expectations. Xinhua, (18/03/14)
  • U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly- built, single-family homes edged up one point to 47 in March, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released Monday. (Xinhua, 18/03/14)
  • U.S. VP to visit Poland, Lithuania amid Ukraine crisis – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Poland and Lithuania next week to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, the White House said on Friday. (Xinhua, 18/03/14)
  • Obama invites G7, EU leaders for meeting next week on Ukraine – US. President Barack Obama invited leaders of the G7 and European Union to meet on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in The Hague next week to discuss the escalating crisis in Ukraine, the White House said on Tuesday. (Xinhua, 18/03/14)
  • US: The U.S. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers nudged up 0.1% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, mainly due to rising food prices, said the Labor Department Tuesday. Despite the increase, inflation in the United States remained subdued. U.S. privately-owned housing starts fell slightly by 0.2% in February, whereas building permits jumped 7.7%, said the Commerce Department, a sign that construction work is expected to ramp up as weather turns warm. (Xinhua, 19/03/14)
  • US: Fed to further taper asset purchases in April – The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to slow the pace of its stimulus spending by another US$10bn to US$55bn starting in April, citing improvement in labor market conditions. (Kyodo, 19/03/14)
  • US: The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the United States rose 0.5% in February to 99.8. (Xinhua, 21/03/14) 
  • Manufacturing activity rebounded in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region in March, with the reading rising from minus 6.3 in February to 9.0, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said Thursday. (Xinhua, 21/03/14) 
  • U.S. existing-home sales declined 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60mn in February from the previous month, the lowest since July 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors, citing rising prices and severe winter weather as reasons for the sales slip. The index was still consistent with market consensus. (Xinhua, 21/03/14) 
  • The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week rose 5,000 to 320,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, said the Labor Department Thursday, but still slightly below analysts’ forecast. (Xinhua, 21/03/14) 
  • China is preparing to launch construction projects and other measures supporting the economy after industrial production and investment slow down, higher risk that it will miss growth target in 2014. (Xinhua, 21/3/14)
  • Japan Jan. industrial output revised downward to 3.8% rise – Japan’s industrial output in January grew a seasonally adjusted 3.8% from the previous month, revised downward from the initially reported 4.0% increase, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday. (Kyodo, 14/05/14)
  • Japan’s economy on track to achieve 2% inflation: BOJ Kuroda – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda expressed confidence Wednesday that the central bank’s monetary easing policy is progressing well one year after he took office, saying the domestic economy is following a path toward achieving the 2% inflation target. (Kyodo, 19/03/14)
  • Number of foreign travelers to Japan hits Feb. record of 880,000 – The number of foreign passenger arrivals in Japan soared 20.6% in February from a year before to 880,000, a record high for the month, a government estimate showed Wednesday. (Kyodo, 19/03/14)
  • Eurozone annual inflation down to 0.7% in Feb. – The euro area annual inflation was 0.7% in February 2014, down from 0.8% in January, said the Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU), on Monday. (Xinhua, 17/03/14)
  • German investor confidence falls due to Crimea crisis – The Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim said its index for investor confidence in German economic outlook fell by 9.1 points to 46.6 points in March. (Xinhua, 18/03/14)
  • Europe new car sales rise for sixth month: ACEA – Registrations of new passenger vehicles advanced 8% on an annual basis in February to 861,058 units, which the ACEA said was the second lowest unit figure to date for a month of February since it began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU. In January, sales grew 5.5%. (RTT. 18/03/14)
  • British economic growth forecast for 2014 revised up to 2.7% – British economic growth forecast for 2014 has been revised up to 2.7% from the previous 2.4%, Finance Minister George Osborne said on Wednesday. (Xinhua, 19/03/14)
  • Spanish economy to grow by 1% in 2014: central bank chief – Bank of Spain Governor Luis Maria Linde forecast an economic growth of around 1% for this year, local media reported Thursday. (Xinhua, 14/03/14)
  • World Bank sees Philippine economic growth breaching 6.5% – In its latest report, the Washington-based lender projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2014 and 2015 to hit 6.6% and 6.9%, respectively. The government has targeted an increase of 6.5-7.5% this year. (Xinhua, 17/03/14)
  • Malaysia: Bank Negara Malaysia has projected the economy to grow by between 4.5% and 5.5% this year and expects inflation to inch up to 4%, a development that it feels does not warrant a hike in interest rates. (The Star, 19/03/14)
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