1. French PM to detail Macron’s measures to appease ‘yellow vests’ The French government will Tuesday try to convince lawmakers and the public that President Emmanuel Macron’s speech met the demands of the “yellow vest” movement, even as many demonstrators said they were disappointed and vowed to press on with their protest. (AFP, 11/12/18)
  2. Beijing ‘offers to cut auto tariffs, buy soy’ China has agreed to cut tariffs on autos imported from the United States, and resume soybean purchases, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday, confirming the reports that delighted investors. (AFP, 13/12/18)
  3. PM May survives party confidence vote but Brexit deal still teetering. British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a confidence vote by the Conservative Party on Wednesday, but a mutiny by more than a third of her lawmakers indicated parliament was heading towards deadlock over Brexit. (Reuters, 12/12/18)
  4. US jobless claims near 49-year low. The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled to near 49-year lows last week, which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labor market and economy. (Reuters, 13/12/18)
  5. ECB finally ends QE, keeps reinvestments open-ended. The European Central Bank decided on Thursday to formally end its €2.6trn bond purchase scheme but said it would keep reinvesting cash from maturing bonds for a long time after its first interest rate hike. (Reuters, 13/12/18)
  6. Philippines hits pause on interest rate hikes. The Philippine central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for the first time in six meetings as inflation pressures eased and the peso strengthened. (Bloomberg, 13/12/18)
  7. Experts forecast car sales at 1m units this year and next. Thailand’s car market in 2019 will exceed 1mn units sold but with much lower growth than in 2018, say auto experts who view market sentiment as sustainable and healthy. Signs point to 2018 car sales reaching 1mn units for the first time in five years, up 15% from 2017’s 871,650, which was a 13.4% rise. (Bangkok Post, 11/12/18)
  8. Ban on political activities lifted. The National Council for Peace and Order on Tuesday lifted its prohibition on political gatherings and support for political activities, but this will have no effect on the prosecution of earlier violators of the ban. (Bangkok Post, 11/12/18)
  9. Welfare handout half depleted in 3 days. Half of the 5.66 billion baht distributed to 11.3 million recipients of the government’s welfare and subsidy scheme was disbursed within three days after the handout program started, says the Comptroller-General’s Department. (Bangkok Post, 12/12/18)
  10. ADB cuts Thai outlook on export deceleration. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has slashed its economic growth forecasts for Thailand to 4.3% this year and 4.1% next year as the global economy sputters. (Bangkok Post, 13/12/18)

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