1. Provincial airports plan service charge hike. The Department of Airports plans to raise the passenger service charge (PSC) on departing travelers on international flights at its 22 airports by 50% to Bt600. The rate for domestic flights, now at 50 baht, remains the same, he said. The airports currently charge Bt400 per passenger for international flights and Bt50 for domestic flights, much lower than other airports, director-general Darun Saengchai said on Saturday. (Bangkok Post, 2/9/18)
  2. Rising inflation fuels pressure for interest rate hike. Rising food and energy costs boosted inflation to 1.6% in August, the highest in almost four years, adding to the case for the Bank of Thailand to deliver its first-rate hike since 2011. The policy rate of 1.5% is now below inflation, making the economy only the second one in Southeast Asia, alongside the Philippines, to have a negative real interest rate. (Bloomberg, 03/09/18)
  3. EC: Changes to constituency boundaries not drastic. The Election Commission (EC) says changes to constituency boundaries in the general election are inevitable but will not be drastic. EC deputy secretarygeneral Natt Laosisavakul said on Monday provincial EC offices had been told to use the population data on the Dec 31, 2017 census in defining the boundaries. (Bangkok Post, 03/09/18) EC ready for selection of 50 senators. The Election Commission (EC) is ready to proceed with the selection of senators, which is likely to be completed within 90 days of the process starting. EC secretarygeneral Jarungvith Phumma said the selection process will begin as soon as an organic bill governing the selection of senators is royally endorsed and published in the Royal Gazette. (Bangkok Post, 06/09/18)
  4. User-charges for UC get new push. A proposal that people earning more than 100,000 baht annually be subject to co-payments of 10-20% for health services covered by the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UC) scheme has come under fire as agencies distance themselves from the idea. National Health Security Office secretary-general Sakchai Kanjanawatana said Wednesday the co-payment proposal was an unofficial idea floated by the director-general of the Comptroller General’s Department to boost the rights of low-income earners. (Bangkok Post, 06/09/18)
  5. E-commerce predicted to capture 10% of Thai retail segment. The highly competitive e-commerce market in Thailand is expected to drive growth in online retail, representing a 10% share of the overall retail market in five years from only 3% today, say leading players. (Bangkok Post, 077/09/18)
  6. Turkish inflation surged to 15-year high in August. Inflation in Turkey rose again in August to nearly 18%, official statistics showed on Monday, a record since late 2003 and coming after the Turkish lira dramatically weakened against the US dollar last month. Consumer prices rose 17.9%YoY in August, up from 15.85%YoY in July, according to the Turkish statistics office (TUIK), increasing pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates. (AFP, 03/09/18)
  7. Argentina announces emergency austerity. Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri announced sweeping new austerity measures Monday including the elimination of government ministries and stiff taxes on exports to reduce budget deficits and try to stabilise the economy. The centre-right president admitted in a speech to the nation that Argentina was facing “an emergency,” after its currency, the peso, lost more than half its dollar value this year. (AFP, 04/09/18)
  8. US trade deficit jumps by the most in 3 years. The U.S. trade deficit increased to a five-month high in July. Exports of soybeans and civilian aircraft declined and imports hit a record high, suggesting that trade could be a drag on economic growth in the third quarter. The Commerce Department said the trade gap jumped 9.5 percent to $50.1 billion, widening for a second straight month. (Reuters, 05/09/18)
  9. President Trump hints to WSJ that trade fight with Japan could be next. During a phone call with President Donald Trump, WSJ columnist James Freeman noted that the president sounded “still very focused on eliminating trade deficits with America’s trading partners.” Trump “described his good relations with the Japanese leadership but then added: ‘Of course that will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay,” Freeman quotes the president saying. The president has already created significant waves with Canadian, Mexican, Chinese and European trading partners, slapping tariffs on imports and threatening to walk away from decades-old agreements. (CNBC, 07/09/18)
  10. China warns it will retaliate if US slaps on new tariffs. China will be forced to retaliate if the U.S. implements any new tariff measures, China’s commerce ministry warned on Thursday. The world’s two biggest economies remain locked in an intensifying trade war. Global markets were on edge after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened fresh tariffs on another US$200bn in Chinese imports. (Reuters, 07/09/18)

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