1. BOT tipped to hold rate at 1.75% throughout year amid low inflation. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) will hold the policy interest rate at 1.75 per cent throughout 2019, Tada Phutthitada, president of the Thai Bond Market Association (ThaiBMA), predicted last week. Short-term government bond yield is also expected to be stable in tandem with the BOT’s policy rate, while long-term government bond yield could be more volatile, said Ariya Tiranaprakij, senior executive vice president of ThaiBMA. (The Nation, 21/01/19)
  2. Finance Ministry will announce regulations for cash-for-car loans this month. The Bank of Thailand will provide details to non-bank companies on Jan 25. The president of the MTC said MTC has already prepared for the regulatory oversight. The company claims that it has not provided Pico finance, just personal loans, with a limited credit line of Bt50,000. (Kao Hoon, 21/1/19)
  3. December exports unexpectedly fall 1.72%YoY. Thailand’s customs-cleared exports dropped for a second straight month in December, down 1.72% from a year earlier, as against analysts’ forecast for a small rise, dropping the full-year performance for 2018 to 6.7% growth and missing the 8% target set by the government, the Commerce Ministry said on Monday. (Reuters, 21/01/19)
  4. Bt106.8bn budget allocated as Cabinet nods to SEC. The cabinet yesterday gave the green light for the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC), allocating a budget of Bt106.8bn for the development of 116 projects from 2019-2022. The SEC is expected to spur 5% annual gross domestic product growth for 10 consecutive years. (The Nation, 22/01/19)
  5. Cabinet approves price control at hospitals. Prices of drugs, medical supplies and medical services will soon be overseen by a joint panel after the cabinet approved adding them to the price control list on Tuesday. Unlike other goods, the addition of these products to the list does not mean their prices would be capped, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said after the cabinet meeting. (Bangkok Post, 22/1/19)
  6. The general election will be held on March 24, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday afternoon. EC chairman Itthiporn Boonprakong said commissioners had met and agreed on the date after a royal decree calling for the election of a new House of Representatives was published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday morning. (Bangkok Post, 23/01/19)
  7. Power plant developers prepare to get good news from an improvement in the Power Development Plan (PDP). The National Energy Policy Council will hold meetings on improvement of the PDP today, including the consideration of IPP and SPP lifetime extension. (Thun Hoon, 24/1/19)
  8. World economy forecast to slow in 2019. The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for world economic growth this year, citing heightened trade tensions and rising US interest rates. The IMF said Monday that it expects global growth this year of 3.5%, down from 3.7% in 2018 and from the 3.7% it had forecast for 2019 back in October. (Reuters, 21/01/19)
  9. World’s 26 richest own same as poorest half of humanity. The world’s 26 richest people own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity, Oxfam said Monday, urging governments to hike taxes on the wealthy to fight soaring inequality. Oxfam found that asking the richest to pay just 0.5% extra tax on their wealth “could raise more money than it would cost to educate all 262 million children out of school” (AFP, 21/01/19)
  10. ECB chief warns of growing economic risks. European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Thursday warned that risks to the eurozone economy were now tilted “to the downside”, acknowledging for the first time that waning global momentum was weighing on the region’s outlook. (AFP, 24/01/19)

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