• Superboard orders SRT to cancel TOR proposals for 5 dual-track lines since the board has a better version than the SRT’s. Discussion will be held again on March 22. (IQ Biz, 21/3/17)
  • Cabinet backs credit boost for SMEs in Bt15 bn package. THE CABINET yesterday gave the nod to the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand to extend up to Bt15 billion in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. (The Nation, 22/3/17)
  • Land and buildings tax draft gets nod. The cabinet yesterday approved the draft bill for the long-awaited land and buildings tax, intended to narrow economic disparity, after a review by the Council of State. (Bangkok Post, 22/3/17)
  • Thai exports slide 2.76% in value on year in February. EXPORTS in February decreased in value year on year for the first time in four months, a decline attributed to the high value of gold and aerospace exports in February 2016, according to the Commerce Ministry. (The Nation, 23/3/17
  • G-20 Drops Anti-Protectionist Pledge as Price of U.S. Assent. Finance chiefs of the world’s largest economies set aside a pledge to avoid protectionism and signed up to a fudged statement on trade instead, in response to the Trump administration’s call to rethink the global order for commerce. Group of 20 nations said in a communique on Saturday that they are “working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies.” While the U.S. didn’t get all it wanted — such as a explicit pledge to ensure trade is fair — that’s a much pared-down formulation compared with the group’s statement last year, and omits a promise to “avoid all forms of protectionism.” (Bloomberg, 18/3/17)

  • Fed on track to raise U.S. rates twice more this year: Evans. The Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates twice more this year after a policy tightening last week, and it could be more or less aggressive depending on inflation and fiscal policies from the Trump administration, a Fed rate-setter said on Monday. The public comments from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans were among the first since the U.S. central bank lifted its policy rate a notch last week, as expected. It also forecast roughly two more moves in 2017 in a nod to low unemployment and some inflation pressures. (Reuters, 21/3/17)
  • Fed’s Dudley says Wells Fargo scandal shows poor incentives at work. A top U.S. Federal Reserve regulator on Tuesday cited Wells Fargo & Co’s accounts scandal as evidence that incentives to drive performance remain a problem on Wall Street, saying banks had “a long way to go” to reform their internal operating culture. William Dudley, president of the New York Fed branch that acts as the U.S. central bank’s eyes and ears on Wall Street, has complained about rotten bank culture for years. (Reuters, 22/3/17)
  • U.S. crude stockpiles at record high as imports surge: EIA. Crude inventories hit a record 533.1 million barrels after surging 5 million barrels in the week to March 17, nearly double expectations for a 2.8 million-barrel build, as imports soared 1.1 million barrels per day. (Reuters, 23/3/17)
  • Business confidence in Trump has not translated into much action, Fed’s Harker argues. Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker told CNBC on Monday that he won’t be able to judge the economic impact of President Donald Trump’s fiscal agenda until it’s fleshed out. “I don’t know what exactly those policies are yet,” Harker said on “Squawk on the Street,” referring to promises of broad tax cuts and $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. (CNBC, 21/3 /17)
  • Consumer sentiment hits 97.6 in March, vs. 97 estimate. A measure of consumers’ attitudes “remained quite favorable” in early March, the University of Michigan reported on Friday. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index hit 97.6 in March, up from 96.3 in the previous month, the University of Michigan said. Economists expected the index to hit 97 in March, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. (CNBC, 17/3/17)

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