1. The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIP) concerns on baht deprecation will affect competitiveness of Thai businesses. It says Thai Baht has appreciated by 4% in January and it forecasts the baht at 32 per US dollar on average for 2018. It also says BOT should be stringent on currency speculation and should support private sector to invest in overseas and make a deposit in foreign countries. The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) said export growth could be lower the its estimate of 5.5% by 1.5-2% to 3.5-4% due to stronger baht and increase in minimum wage. (Bangkokbiznews, 7/2/18)
  2. Panel: Economy firing on all cylinders. Somkid, other officials sing praises at forum. The Thai economy is proceeding at full throttle this year, propelled by four active engines: state investment, private investment, exports and household consumption, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. ( Bangkok Post, 8/2/18
  3. EEC act will be proposed to NLA today. It will soon be announced as law in order to boost investment confidence. (Naewna, 8/2/18)
  4. The Ministry of Finance to propose a PPP act to cabinet soon. This is to attract investments from Thai and foreign investors. The Thailand Future Fund (TFF) will be initially underwritten within this July. (Bangkok Biz, 9/2/18)
  5. NLA passes legislation to develop Eastern Economic Corridor. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) yesterday approved the bill on development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which is expected to attract a new generation of foreign investors. The EEC development will cover Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces. The NLA yesterday spent eight hours debating the bill and passed the third reading with 170 votes for and 10 abstentions. (The Nation, 9/2/18)
  6. Job growth up 200,000 in January, better than expectations, and wages up. Nonfarm payrolls grew by 200,000 in January and the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, while wages saw their biggest jump since the end of the Great Recession, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a closely watched report Friday. Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting jobs growth of 180,000 and an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. A broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons edged higher to 8.2 percent, the highest level since September. (CNBC, 5/2/18)
  7. Janet Yellen says prices ‘high’ for stocks, commercial real estate. Outgoing Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said US stocks and commercial real estate prices are elevated but stopped short of saying those markets are in a bubble. “Well, I don’t want to say too high. But I do want to say high,” Yellen said on CBS’s Sunday Morning in an interview recorded on Friday as she prepared to leave the central bank. “Price-earnings ratios are near the high end of their historical ranges.” (Livemint, 5/2/18) Fed’s Evans says no rate hikes needed before mid-2018. Sluggish price increases in the United States give the Federal Reserve room to hold off on interest rate increases until at least mid-2018, Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said on Wednesday. “If we get to that point and have more confidence that inflation is moving up sustainably, then further rate increases would be warranted,” Evans, who does not have a vote on rates this year but participates in the central bank’s policy debates, said in a speech at a banking conference. (Reuters, 8/2/18) Fed’s Harker Says If Data Supports It, March Rate Rise Is Possible. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said Thursday that while he foresees slightly fewer rate rises this year than many of his colleagues, a case may exist to raise rates at the next central bank policy meeting. (WSJ, 9/2/18)
  8. U.S services sector activity jumps to 12-1/2-year high. The ISM said its non-manufacturing activity index jumped 3.9 points to 59.9, the highest reading since August 2005. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. (Reuters, 5/2/18)
  9. U.S Trade Deficit Is Wider Than Any Month or Year Since 2008. The U.S. trade deficit widened to the biggest monthly and annual levels since the last recession, underscoring the inherent friction in President Donald Trump’s goal of narrowing the gap while enjoying faster economic growth. The deficit increased 5.3 percent in December to a larger-than- expected $53.1 billion, the widest since October 2008, as imports outpaced exports, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday. For all of 2017, the goods-and-services gap grew 12 percent to $566 billion, the biggest since 2008. (Bloomberg, 7/2/18)
  10. U.S. crude stocks rise on record output, fuel supply up too: EIA. U.S. crude stocks rose last week even though refineries hiked output, which also boosted gasoline and distillate inventories, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Refinery crude runs rose by 784,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 4.4 percentage points. That boosted inventories of gasoline and diesel fuel heading into the less busy season, feeding concerns about supply. Oil production appeared to reach a new U.S. record, pending confirmation by monthly figures due in several weeks. (Reuters, 8/2/18)

Note: Yes I’m deliberately cheeky on point 7 by including 3 events/comments, but only because I found it amusing to see 3 different comments from the Fed officials

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