• Ministry of Finance to open free trade for gold and jewelry – The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) will study this. The idea is to position Thailand as a jewelry hub. (Thai Post, 7/3/16)
  • More help on way for farm sector — The government will introduce a new stimulus package aimed at spurring the grassroots economy and cushioning the impact of the drought on the farm sector. (Bangkok Post, 8/3/2016)
  • Automakers urged on Thai hub for ‘cars of the future’ — According to Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, the chief executive officers of Toyota, Isuzu, Nissan and Honda assured Prayut yesterday of their continued investment in Thailand. They also said they planned to continue investing in the cars of future – hybrids and vehicles powered by electricity or hydrogen – in this country. (The Nation, 8/3/2016)
  • Payrolls in U.S. Surge While Wages Drop in Mixed Jobs Report – The 242,000 gain followed a 172,000 rise in January that was larger than previously estimated, a Labor Department report showed Friday. The jobless rate held at 4.9 percent as people entered the labor force and found work. Average hourly earnings dropped by 0.1 percent from the prior month, the first decline since December 2014, the Labor Department’s figures showed. (Bloomberg, 4/3/16)

  • U.S. trade deficit widens as exports hit five-and-a-half-year low – The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap increased 2.2 percent to $45.7 billion. December’s trade deficit was revised up to $44.7 billion from the previously reported $43.4 billion. Exports have declined for four straight months. Exports of non-petroleum products were the weakest since February 2011. Exports to the United States’ main trading partners fell broadly in January. Imports of goods fell 1.6 percent to $180.6 billion, the lowest level since February 2011. Import growth is being constrained by ongoing efforts by businesses to reduce a stockpile of unsold merchandise. (Reuters, 4/3/16)
  • China Eases Fiscal Stance to Meet Slower 2016 Growth Target – Premier Li Keqiang announced a 6.5 percent to 7 percent expansion goal Saturday, down from an objective of about 7 percent last year and the first range the government has offered since 1995. The government also abandoned its trade target, underscoring the degree of uncertainty about prospects for global growth. The details were given in Li’s work report at the annual meeting of the ceremonial legislature in Beijing. (Bloomberg, 4/3/16)
  • Shanghai Property Market Is `Overheated,’ Top City Official Says – Shanghai’s most-senior official said the city’s property market has “overheated” and should be more tightly controlled after a recent surge in residential housing prices. (Bloomberg, 6/3/16)
  • No Consolation for Abe in Revised GDP Confirming Contraction — The gross domestic product shrank an annualized 1.1 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, better than the 1.4 percent contraction reported last month, according to revised data from the Cabinet Office released Tuesday. The median forecast of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 1.5 percent contraction. (Bloomberg, 8/3/2016)
  • IMF urges action as risks to the world economy rise — Collective action is needed to boost the global economy, with volatile financial markets and low commodity prices creating fresh concerns about its health, the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. (CNBC, 9/3/16)
  • ECB pulls out all the stops, cuts rates and expands QE — The European Central Bank (ECB) delivered a surprise package of measures to kick start Europe’s economy on Thursday, cutting its main interest rates and expanding its massive bond-buying program. In light of cuts to the growth and inflation outlook, the ECB announced on Thursday that it had cut its main refinancing rate to 0.0 percent and its deposit rate to minus-0.4 percent. The bank also extended its monthly asset purchases to 80 billion euros ($87 billion), to take effect in April. In addition, the ECB will add corporate bonds to the assets it can buy. Plus, the bank will launch a new series of four targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) with maturities of four years, starting in June. (CNBC, 11/3/16)

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