1. Pheu Thai beats PPRP: Decline in PM’s popularity seen as hurting govt party. The ruling Palang Pracharath Party was defeated by the main opposition Pheu Thai Party in yesterday’s by-election for Constituency 9 in Bangkok, with scholars saying the outcome has reflected a decline in the ruling party’s popularity and that of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Bangkok Post
  2. BoT paper eyes rejig of the financial sector: Banks may obtain more than 1 licence. The Bank of Thailand plans to allow commercial banks to obtain more than one banking business licence, including a planned virtual bank licence, to pave the way for the country’s digital economy. Bangkok Post
  3. Agency restricts options to biodiesel B5: Move intended to ease burden on state. Global oil prices are expected to remain high and fluctuate throughout this year. MONTRI RAWANCHAIKUL Chief executive, PTT Exploration and Production. The Energy Policy Administration Committee (Epac) has decided to sell only diesel blended with 5% palm oilderived methyl ester at petrol stations from this Saturday, instead of the 7% formula, as it is struggling to deal with soaring global oil prices. Bangkok Post
  4. Arkhom unveils B60bn budget for low-income aid: Reductions to Social Security Fund contributions will help to alleviate employees’ hardships amid the ongoing pandemic. RACHADA DHNADIREK Deputy government spokeswoman. The government has set aside a budget of 60 billion baht for this year’s state welfare card scheme to cover 17 million registrants, according to Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. Bangkok Post
  5. EV promotional package is expected to be proposed to Cabinet in February, including Bt150K discount for cars and Bt18K for motobikes, cut excise tax to 0-2% for 4 years, allowing 1 imported for every 1.5 locally produced.
  6. Commerce Minister reported FY21 cross border trades topped Bt1.7 trln, +30% yoy, expects 7% growth this year from improved connectivity thru Laos-China railway, reopens of 12 check points.
  7. Border trade projected to increase 7%: The government expects cross-border trade to grow by 5-7% to 1.08-1.1 trillion baht this year, driven by the global recovery, economic and demand growth in neighbouring countries, as well as the baht’s weakness. The Laos-China high-speed train project, which opened on Dec 3, 2021, and the Commerce Ministry’s acceleration of reopening border checkpoints should also help improve overall cross-border trade activities this year, according to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit. Bangkok Post
  8. Stimulus scheme tipped to pump in B396bn: The four phases of the government’s “Khon La Khrueng” co-payment subsidy scheme are expected to inject almost 400 billion baht into the economy, according to Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) director-general Pornchai Thiraveja. Bangkok Post
  9. BoI applications see 59% rise in 2021: The combined value of foreign and local applications for investment promotion in 2021 tallied 643 billion baht, an increase of 59% from a year before, led by an uptick in foreign direct investment (FDI) in tech sectors and more projects in the bio-, circular and green (BCG) industries, as well as a continued push in the power generation sector. Bangkok Post
  10. Hoping for a return to normalcy: While the WHO urges caution, the public health sector is eager to turn the page, but politics is clouding the outlook. The first local transmission of Omicron confirmed in Thailand on Dec 20 last year prompted the government to abruptly suspend new registrations for quarantine-free entry into the country and raise the Covid-19 alert to level 4 amid fears over the highly contagious variant. Bangkok Post

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