1. Loan guarantee firm sets Bt500-bn target under its new five-year plan. THAI Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCGC)’s five-year plan for 2018-22 is to lift its outstanding loan guarantees to Bt500 billion, covering 450,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs)nationwide, according to senior executive vice president Wichet Warakul. (Bangkok Post, 19/3/18)
  2. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Reiterates Thailand in the Fast Lane Towards an Advanced Economy Driven by Mega Projects, EEC and Digital Development. Minister Somkid Jatusripitak led economic ministers in announcing the government’s commitment to transform Thailand’s economy into an engine of Southeast Asia’s economic growth through three strategies — investments in megaprojects, development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), and promotion of digital technological advances. ) PR Newswire, 19 / 3 / 18 (
  3. Tourism revenue hit Bt300bn, thanks to visa fee exemption for 21 countries for 6 months. The government lost revenue of Bt7.19bn. TAT says Thai tourism is going strong and it does not plan to cancel the visa promotion yet. (Thai Post, 21/3/18)
  4. Thai February exports rise 10.3 pct y/y, beat forecast. Thailand’s customs-cleared annual exports rose at a slower pace in February compared with the previous month, pulled down by lower demand during Lunar NewYear holidays, but growth was slightly above expectations. Exports, a key driver of Thailand’s growth, rose 10.3 percent in February from a year earlier after jumping 17.6 percent in January, commerce ministry data showed on Wednesday. That exceeded the median forecast of a 9.2 percent rise from economists polled by Reuters. (Reuters, 22/3/18)
  5. European Union and the UK agree to a Brexit transition period of 21 months. The U.K. will remain in the European Union until the end of 2020, but with restricted powers, officials announced Monday. The EU and the United Kingdom have agreed to a transition process of 21 months — from 29 March 2019 until the end of 2020 — before the country leaves the member bloc completely. (CNBC, 20/3/18)
  6. Fed hikes rates and raises GDP forecast again. Interest rates are going up again, thanks to a well telegraphed Federal Reserve move Wednesday. Central bankers, led by Jerome Powell in his first meeting as chairman, approved the widely expected quarter-point hike that puts the new benchmark funds rate at a target of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent. It was the sixth rate hike since the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee began raising rates off near-zero in December 2015. (CNBC, 22/3/18)
  7. Housing starts fall more than expected in February. U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in February as a plunge in the construction of multi-family housing units offset a second straight monthly increase in single-family projects. Housing starts declined 7.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.236 million units, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Data for January was revised up slightly to show groundbreaking increasing to a 1.329 million-unit pace instead of the previously reported 1.326 million units. (CNBC, 16/3/18)
  8. Industrial output rises on gains in manufacturing, mining. U.S. industrial production jumped 1.1 percent in February, the largest increase in four months, due to a weather-related rebound in construction and a rise in output from the nation’s oil and gas fields and mines. Manufacturing output rose 1.2 percent, the biggest gain since October, the Federal Reserve said in its monthly report. (CNBC, 19/3/18)
  9. U.S. expected to impose up to $60 billion in China tariffs by Friday: sources. The Trump administration is expected to unveil up to $60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports by Friday, targeting technology, telecommunications and intellectual property, two officials briefed on the matter said Monday. One business source, who has discussed the issue with the administration, said that the China tariffs may be subject to a public comment period, which would delay their effective date and allow industry groups and companies to lodge objections. (Reuters, 21/3/18)
  10. U.S. crude oil stockpiles fall in week as imports drop: EIA. U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell unexpectedly last week as imports dropped and refining rates jumped, while gasoline and distillate inventories also declined, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Crude inventories fell 2.6 million barrels in the week to March 16, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 2.6 million barrels. Stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose 905,000 barrels, EIA said. (Reuters, 22/3/18)

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