1. FPO raises GDP growth projection. The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) upgraded its economic growth forecast for this year to 4.2% from 3.8% and raised its estimate for exports. (Bangkok Post, 30/1/18)
  2. Cabinet affirms wage hike, relief measures. The cabinet yesterday endorsed the daily minimum wage hike nationwide from April 1, an increase of 5-22 baht as approved by the tripartite national wage committee on Jan 17. (Bangkok Post, 31/1/18)
  3. 168 projects in EEC get green light. Applications to BoI expected to flood in. The government has approved 168 infrastructure development projects worth a combined 989 billion baht for its flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme. (Bangkok Post, 2/2/18)
  4. January headline CPI rises 0.68% y-o-y, below forecast. Thailand’s annual headline inflation rate eased in January, missing forecasts and below the central bank’s target range, giving policymakers room to keep interest rates low. The headline consumer price index rose 0.68% in January from a year earlier, after December’s 0.78% rise, Commerce Ministry data showed on Thursday.  A Reuters poll projected an increase of 0.80% in January. The Bank of Thailand (BoT) forecasts 2018 headline inflation of 1.1%, but it expects consumer prices to return to its target range of 1-4% in the first half of the year. (Bangkok Post, 2/2/18)
  5. Europe’s economy grew faster than the U.S. last year. Sure, the United States is growing at a nice clip. But Europe’s economy is expanding at an even faster rate. Economic growth in the 19 countries that use the euro currency was 2.5% in 2017, according to official data published Tuesday. Growth in the 28-member European Union also reached 2.5% last year. It’s the best period of growth for both groupings since 2007, putting Europe just ahead of the 2.3% expansion posted by the U.S. in 2017. (CNN Money, 31/1/18)
  6. Fed leaves rates unchanged but gives more aggressive inflation expectations. In Janet Yellen’s final meeting as Fed chair, the central bank decided Wednesday against increasing its benchmark interest rate but indicated it expects inflation pressures to heat up as the year moves on. The policymaking Federal Open Market Committee said current conditions indicate that the overnight funds rate should remain anchored at 1.25 to 1.5 percent. The decision, which came at the end of a two-day meeting, was widely expected. (CNBC, 1/2/18)
  7. U.S. crude stocks rise as gasoline falls: EIA. “Strong demand in the major refined products categories is supporting the entire petroleum complex after the data release,” said David Thompson, executive vice-president at Powerhouse, an energy-specialized commodities broker in Washington. Demand for gasoline and diesel remains stronger than year-ago levels, he said. Crude inventories rose by 6.8 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 126,000 barrels. The increase followed 10 weeks of declines. (Reuters, 1/2/18)
  8. Chinese manufacturing weaker than expected in January. China reported on Wednesday that factory activity expanded less than expected in January, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 51.3. The Chinese manufacturing PMI was forecast to dip to 51.5 in January from 51.6 in December, according to a poll of economists by Reuters. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction. (CNBC, 1/2/18)
  9. US jobless claims unexpectedly fall as job market strengthens. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended Jan. 27, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 fewer claims received than previously reported. (CNBC, 2/2/18)
  10. U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Close to Quickest Pace Since 2004. U.S. factories expanded more than forecast in J

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