1. Fed’s Kaplan backs view for two more rate hikes this year. Robert Kaplan, the president of the Dallas Fed, said he wasn’t worried about the strength of the economy or the outlook for inflation and said he expected the U.S. central bank to raise short-term interest rates twice more this year. With growth registering only 0.7% annual rate in the first quarter and back-to-back soft consumer price index readings in March and April, some Fed watchers are starting to doubt the Fed’s expectations of two more interest rate hikes this year. The Fed next meets June 13-14. ( Market Watch, 23/5/17)
  2. OPEC deal to cut crude oil output: Here’s what needs to happen for it to work this time. OPEC will roll over production cuts on Thursday, an admission that an initial six months of output reductions were not enough to balance the market. The policy has failed to shrink global crude oil stockpiles to OPEC’s target level, despite high compliance with a landmark deal with 11 nonOPEC members to remove about 1.8 million barrels a day from the market. The effort has been undermined by resurgent U.S. production, weak fuel demand and robust OPEC exports. (CNBC, 26/5/17)
  3. Trump’s $4.1tr budget takes hatchet to safety net. The White House has unveiled a $4.1tr (£3.1tr) budget that would take the axe to the social safety net for the poor. The plan would sharply slash food stamps, healthcare for low-income patients and disability benefits, and eliminate student loan subsidies. (BBC, 24/5/17)
  4. ECB’s Draghi sees no need to deviate from policy path. The side-effects of the European Central Bank’s unconventional policy tools have remained “contained”, so there is no reason to deviate from the policy path already laid down by the ECB, President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday . (Reuters, 24/5/17)
  5. Somkid says SOE disbursement will boost the economy. He said he does not expect a weakening in Thailand’s 2Q17 GDP. In April, budget disbursements by SOEs are up by 32%, which is a good sign. Earnings of the listed companies in 1Q17 totaled Bt285bn, expanding by +21%, largely aided by growth in the oil and petrochemical businesses. (Thairath, 22/5/17
  6. Thai April exports rise 8.5 pct y/y, below forecast. Exports rose 8.5 percent in April from a year earlier after March’s 9.2 percent jump, commerce ministry data showed on Monday. A Reuters poll expected an annual rise of 11.3 percent in April. In January-April, exports rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier, the highest annual growth rate in six year, Pimchanok Vonkhorporn, an official at the Commerce Ministry, said at a briefing. (Reuters, 23/5/17)
  7. More than 30 contractors bought bidding documents for the Bt7.3bn dual-track project (Hua Hin – Prachuap Khiri Khan). Those buying the documents included smaller contractors as well the giants (UNIQ, ITD, CK, STEC, NWR and PLE). The e-auction is expected to be held on July 27. (Kao Hoon, 23/05/17)
  8. Section 44 to fire up EEC development. The government agreed yesterday to invoke the powerful Section 44 of the interim charter to speed up investment in the much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), unlocking limits and streamlining procedures regarding environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and the public-private partnership (PPP) model. (BBC, 24/5/17)
  9. MPC keeps rate steady, frets over bad SME loans. The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) kept the policy rate unchanged yesterday at 1.5% as widely expected while voicing concerns over the debt-servicing ability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). (Bangkok Post, 25/5/17)
  10. Bt358bn for four mass transit lines to start construction this year. The Minister of Transport expects to start construction on four mass transit lines worth Bt358bn. It will propose the Orange Line and extension of the Purple Line to the cabinet in June. (NNT, 26/5/17)

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