• Working on human trafficking. The vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce reports that government and private entities have been working to resolve the problem of foreign workers and human trafficking. This is to avoid the impact on Thailand exports. He expects Thailand’s rating will be upgraded. (Post Today, 13/3/15)
  • Pridiyathorn: MPC rate cut good for exports, currency – The new lower policy rate will be good for exports since it will help to curb the baht’s rise, making exports more competitive, says Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula. (Bangkok Post, 13/3/15)
  • Cabinet to mull borrowing in foreign funds for projects – A 57-billion-baht borrowing plan to finance roads and water management will go to the cabinet next week for approval. The plan is part of a slate of projects worth 77 billion baht, said Theeraj Athanavanich, deputy director general of the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO). The borrowing is expected to proceed by May and will be lent in foreign-denominated currency under Section 22 of the Public Debt Management Act, Mr Theeraj said without elaborating. Mr Theeraj estimates that the public
    debt ratio will rise to 49% of GDP by the end of this fiscal year from 46.5% at the end of January.Public debt amounted to 5.66 trillion baht at the end of January, of which 93.8% was domestic liabilities and the remainder was foreign debt. (Bangkok Post, 13/3/15)

  • BoT trims policy rate by 25 bps , Surprise move in bid to spur economy – The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) unexpectedly lowered its policy rate for the first time in a year. The cut of 25 basis points is seen as an attempt to gain economic traction amid weakening growth prospects. The committee voted four to three to lower the benchmark interest rate to 1.75% from 2% on grounds that easing monetary policy should lend greater support to bolstering lackluster economic conditions and sustaining both consumer and private sector confidence. The rate cut came after the MPC estimated this year’s growth would not reach its 4% forecast. (Bangkok Post, 12/3/15)
  • Further tax exemptions proposed – The Finance Ministry is likely to raise the exemption for the land and buildings tax for residences in Greater Bangkok to no more than 2.5 million baht from the 1.5 million recently proposed. The fresh round of loosening is aimed at easing the tax burden of low-income earners, as the prices of land and houses in and around Bangkok are higher than those in other provinces, Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said. (Bangkok Post, 12/3/15)
  • China rice deal on the cards – Thailand hopes to finalise a government-to-government (G-toG) deal to sell 2 million tonnes of rice and 200,000 tonnes of rubber to China when authorities meet with their Chinese counterparts in early May. The MoU was signed last December for 1 million tonnes each of old and new grains along with the 200,000 tonnes of rubber. Deliveries of rice and rubber would be set for this year and next. The contract will be made through the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, the giant state enterprise that oversees rice imports, to ensure transparency. (Bangkok Post, 12/3/15
  • Lottery help on the way – PM Prayuth Chan-ocha says the cabinet has approved the Government Lottery Office Act to resolve the problem of overcharging for lottery tickets. It will take another six months for the Office of the Council of State to review details of the law. This act will include new lottery formats, such as online, 6-digit, lotteries for charity and lottery sales via post offices. (Kao Hoon, 11/03/15)
  • FTI urges rate cut – FTI chairman Suphan Mongkholsuthee urges the MPC to consider lowering the policy rate at least by 0.25% in order to control the fund inflow after the ECB started its QE program on Mar 9. (Daily News, 11/3/15)
  • Govt reduces land tax rates – The government has relaxed a new law on land and building tax in order to push for prompt implementation of a new tax structure that previous administrations failed to bring in. The Finance Ministry has raised the maximum value of land and buildings exempt from tax from Bt1 million to Bt1.5 million as part of the proposed Land and Building Tax Act. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has signalled that the decision to raise the value-added tax (VAT) late this year may not happen. “There may be no need to increase the VAT rate from 7 per cent currently if we can collect taxes from land and buildings,” the PM said. (The Nation, 10/3/15)
  • Overseas trade reps to meet next week to brainstorm export strategies – In response to sluggish export growth, the Commerce Ministry has called an urgent meeting in Bangkok next Monday with Thai trade officers in overseas posts to brainstorm for strategies. A senior source in the ministry said Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya would discuss with Thai trade representatives export obstacles and solutions suitable to each market. As the priority agenda for the upcoming meeting, Chatchai will maintain the Kingdoms export-growth target at 4 per cent for this year, despite many agencies and private-sector organisations now forecasting between 1.4 and 2.5 per cent. (The Nation, 10/3/15)
  • VAT hike may be delayed – Prime Minister indicated that the government would delay the VAT hike from 7% to 10% but it is likely to impose the land and house tax soon. However, the government has raised the house value subject to this tax from Bt1mn to Bt1.5mn. (Bangkok Post, 10/03/15)
  • Lottery law up for change – The Minister of Finance is proposing amendments to the lottery law to the cabinet today. The amendment is to prevent overcharging for lottery tickets in the long term (Kao Hoon, 10/03/15).


  • U.S. initial jobless claims lower than forecast – The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid last week turned out to be smaller than the market expectation, a new sign of an improving job market. In the week ending March 7, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits fell to 289,000, 36,000 less than the revised level of the previous week, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. The figure was better than the average market expectation of 305,000 last week. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, edged down by 3,750 to 302,250 last week. (Xinhua, 12/3/15)
  • U.S. business inventories flat, inventory-to-sales ratio highest since 2009 – U.S. business inventories were unchanged in January and further declines in sales pushed the number of months it would take to clear shelves to the highest since July 2009, which suggests a stock drawdown in the months ahead. The Commerce Department said on Thursday business inventories were also unchanged in December after previously being reported to have increased 0.1 percent. (Reuters, 13/3/15)
  • U.S. retail sales continue falling in February – Retail sales in the United States continued declining in February for a third month in a row despite improved labor market and lower energy prices. The Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales in February fell 0.6 percent from the previous month after a 0.8 percent fall in January. Excluding volatile autos category, retail sales were down 0.1 percent in the month, following a decline of 1.1 percent in January.(Xinhua, 12/3/15)
  • Euro zone industrial production falls slightly in Jan: Eurostat – Seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.1 percent in the euro zone in January 2015, compared with that of December 2014, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU. (Xinhua, 12/3/15)
  • British trade deficit narrows sharply in Jan. as oil imports drop – British deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been 600 million pounds (or 9 million U.S. dollars) in January 2015, substantially narrowed from the five-year high of 2.1 billion pounds recorded a month earlier, said Office for National Statistics (ONS) Thursday. Britain registered a 8.4 billion pounds deficit on goods trade, and an estimated surplus of 7.8 billion pounds on services in January, data showed. Between December 2014 and January 2015, exports of goods fell by 1.0 billion pounds to 24.1 billion pounds, while imports of goods fell by 2.5 billion pounds, of which oil fuels imports decreased by 1.3 billion pounds over the same period, figures showed. It was the largest monthly decrease of imports since July 2006. (Xinhua, 12/3/15)
  • S.Korea cuts policy rate to all-time low of 1.75 pct – South Korea’s central bank on Thursday cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 1.75 percent. It was the first time that the country’s policy rate fell below2 percent. Bank of Korea (BOK) lowered the seven-day repurchase rate by 25 basis points each in August and October last year to a record low of 2 percent. (Xinhua, 12/3/15)
  • IMF approves new loan for Ukraine – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a new loan program worth of 17.5 billion U.S. dollars for Ukraine, in a bid to help the eastern European country stabilize its economy, announced IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Berlin on Wednesday. (Xinhua, 11/3/15)
  • U.K. manufacturing production drops 0.5% in January – Manufacturing production in the U.K. declined unexpectedly in January, while industrial output also fell, official data showed on Wednesday. In a report, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said that manufacturing production decreased by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in January, disappointing expectations for an increase of 0.2% and following a 0.1% gain in December. (Nasdaq, 11/3/15)
  • BOJ Helps Tokyo Stocks to Soar – The Bank of Japan’s aggressive purchasing of stock funds has helped Japanese shares climb to multiyear highs in recent months. But some within the central bank are growing uncomfortable about the fast-paced rally and the bank’s own role in fueling it.(WSJ, 11/3/15)
  • China Jan-Feb property investment growth eases to 10.4 pct YoY – Growth in China’s real estate investment slowed slightly to 10.4 percent in the first two months of 2015 from a year earlier amid a glut of housing supply, underscoring the risks to the government’s new 7 percent economic growth target. Property sales dropped 15.8 percent from the year-earlier period. The rise in investment, reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday, compared with an increase of 10.5 percent for the full year 2014. (Reuters, 11/3/15)
  • U.S. small business confidence up in February – U.S. small business confidence rose in February as job market kept moving forward, a leading industry association said Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said its Small-Business Optimism Index rose 0.1 point to 98 in February a solid result despite some unfavorable conditions. (Xinhua, 11/3/15)
  • U.S. wholesale inventories rise; labor market tightening – U.S. wholesale inventories unexpectedly rose in January as sales recorded their biggest decline since 2009, lifting the number of months it would take to clear warehouses to its highest level in more than 5-1/2 years. While that would normally suggest a wholesale inventory overhang that could weigh on economic growth as firms draw down rather than build stocks, economists were little worried and blamed the jump in the inventory-to-sales ratio on the plunge in crude oil prices. (Reuters, 10/3/15)
  • U.S. fiscal deficit forecast revised up to 486 bln dollars in 2015 – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday revised upwardly its forecast for U.S. federal budget deficit in 2015 fiscal year, but the forecast for long-term deficits was lowered, compared with its January forecasts. (Reuters, 10/3/15)
  • Germany’s Merkel narrowly avoided bigger revolt on Greece – German Chancellor Angela Merkel narrowly averted a far bigger rebellion last month on Greece’s bailout extension among her conservatives, many more of whom would have voted ‘Nein’ but for her finance minister’s powers of persuasion, lawmakers said. Germany’s parliament voted on Feb.27 to extend Greece’s bailout by four months, but a record number of conservative dissenters were not convinced that Athens would deliver the economic reforms it has promised. (Reuters, 10/3/15)
  • ECB initiates quantitative easing program to stimulate economy – European Yields Fall as Bond Purchases Begin – The European Central Bank waded into debt markets Monday, sending yields across the eurozone close to record lows and heaping pressure on investors to scour further afield in search of returns. The start of the €1 trillion ($1.084 trillion) bond-buying effort was widely anticipated. It was confirmed by the ECB in a tweet that signaled the central bank, in conjunction with national central banks, had launched its long-anticipated program of so-called quantitative easing, or QE. (WSJ, 9/3/15)
  • Greece to start technical talks with creditors on Wednesday: Eurogroup president – Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said late on Monday that “discussions between the Greek authorities and the institutions must and will start as from Wednesday.” He made the remarks at the press conference after the Eurogroup meeting. Dijsselbloem also said that as needed, technical teams from the institutions, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, would be sent to Athens to support this process jointly and together also as of Wednesday. (Xinhua, 10/3/15)
  • French central bank revises down Q1 growth rate to 0.3 pct – The French Central Bank said Monday it had lowered the growth rate forecast for the first quarter by one percentage point to 0.3 percent. In its second quarterly estimate, Banque de France (BdF) noted a slight rise in industrial activity in February on the back of a vibrant automobile industry. The capacity utilization rate lost 0.3 percent to 76.5 percent, while orders were satisfactory, the bank’s report said. (Xinhua, 9/3/15)
    • Biggest bank by assets, lowest growth, more focused on expanding business across ASEAN in preparation for this year’s integration.

      Will be 240-250 baht easily this time next year mate! Myanmar’s growth story will only boost its profits as it’s the first Thai bank to get in there.

        • I suspect fund flow plus combined with the fact that loan growth numbers aren’t going to be fantastic this year.

          ASEAN wise – It’s just to service their existing corporate customer base, won’t have any impact on earnings for a long time.

          But yes it’s the cheapest big bank out there today.

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