1. Mutual fund assets up 2.58% to B5.28tn: Investment landscape remains volatile. Thailand’s mutual fund industry registered a net asset value of 5.28 trillion baht in the first quarter, up 2.58% or 133 billion baht from the end of 2023, backed by strong growth of fixed income funds and foreign investment funds (FIFs). According to the Association of Investment Management Companies (AIMC), fixed income funds had a net asset value of 2.45 trillion baht, up 3.85% or 91 billion baht from the end of 2023, while FIFs tallied 1.11 trillion baht, a gain of 6% or 62.9 billion baht over the same period.
  2. State Railway of TH approved 2nd phase of TH-China high-speed train project worth Bt341.4b, will forward to Cabinet. Bidding of 13 contracts may take place in 2025 and commercial operation by 2031.
  3. Stimulus expected to spur developer confidence in Q2: Sentiment among housing developers is expected to significantly improve in the second quarter following the implementation of property stimulus measures approved earlier this month.
  4. Drought muted Thai sugar supply in the 2023-24 crop year, raising concerns about global prices.: Board worried about effect on prices. Drought again caused lower sugar cane output in Thailand. Thailand’s sugar cane output declined in the 2023-24 crop year, resulting from severe drought, which may affect sugar supply in the global market, says the Office of the Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB). The country is the world’s second largest sugar exporter after Brazil, meaning a drop in production could pressure the global market.
  5. Cabinet approves 60-days visa free for Russian tourists til end of Jul, after 90 days visa free expires end of April.
  6. Digital ad spending on the increase: Online rivalry pushes up advertising value. Intense competition between local and niche brands against larger players on e-commerce and the rise of affiliate marketing are driving ad spending on digital channels, says Media Intelligence Group. The company estimates spending on advertising and marketing communications this year will expand 3.3% to 87 billion baht. The total was 20.4 billion baht in the first quarter of this year, up 7.4% year-on-year.
  7. Transport Minister ordered expressway authority (EXAT) & Office of Transport & Traffic Policy & Planning to conduct feasibility study on expressway concession extension for BEM in exchange for lower fare to ease living costs, mulls starting with 2nd stage expressway system (Ngamwongwan-Rama 9) 17 km as pilot project.
  8. Government won’t raise the minimum daily wage to Bt400 on Labour Day as previously announced. Instead, it will wait for the results of a tripartite committee on May 14.
  9. Banks agree to reduce loan rates: Effort meant to help vulnerable clients. Thai banks are set to cut the minimum retail rate (MRR) by 25 basis points for a period of six months, aiming to alleviate the debt burden for vulnerable customers in response to the prime minister asking lenders to lower interest rates for vulnerable groups and small businesses.
  10. Power plan set to be ready by Q3: Strategy to guide electricity policy. The loss of load expectation method will be used to manage power supply, allaying concerns over surplus power generation capacity in reserve, which is blamed for driving up power bills. A new version of the national power development plan (PDP), which sets a direction for Thailand’s electricity generation and management through 2037, is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year, says the Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo). Plans for oil, gas, alternative energy and energy efficiency will also be finalised in the same period, according to Eppo.

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