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Economy

Asian markets stumble over trade concerns, Brexit sentiment sinks pound

The Thaiger

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Asian markets stumble over trade concerns, Brexit sentiment sinks pound | The Thaiger

Asian markets fell after hefty losses in New York yesterday, owing to growing China-US tensions in the next round of trade talks, while the British pound continues to be beaten down by fears the UK is on the verge of crashing out of the EU.

The downbeat mood comes as investors fret over signs the global economy is slowing down. The International Monetary Fund is forecasting the weakest growth in a decade owing to long-running tariff disputes.

Days before high-level negotiations were due to resume, the US announced restrictions on 28 Chinese entities over human rights violations in Xinjiang province and imposed visa restrictions on some officials. Then Bloomberg News reported unnamed Trump administration officials had said the White House was mulling new measures to curtail US investment in the country.

For its part, Beijing has hit out at the decisions and moved to take steps against the National Basketball Association in a brewing row over a team manager’s remarks on Hong Kong’s protest movement.

A report this week had already said China had narrowed the issues it was willing to discuss at the talks, with observers saying Chinese leaders felt in a stronger position as Donald Trump faces an impeachment inquiry at home and a weakening economy.

Andrew Balls, at Pacific Investment Management, told Bloomberg News… “It will be interesting to see how it plays out this week between the US and China.”

“The flare-up comes at a time when we already see growth pretty weak in the first half of next year and you have at least some evidence of weakness in manufacturing spilling into services”.

While economic data has been increasingly weak in recent months, hopes for this week’s talks have been providing some much-needed support. But the latest developments were a reminder that progress would likely be rocky.

On currency markets, the pound struggled to recover from Tuesday’s losses as Brexit talks between Britain and the EU teetered on the brink, with both sides blaming the other with just three weeks until the October 31 deadline.

British PM Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were unable to reach an agreement over the Northern Ireland issue during a telephone conversation. A Downing Street official quoted Merkel as saying the Brexit talks were “close to breaking down”.

With many economists warning a no-deal Brexit could be calamitous for the British economy, the pound tumbled against the dollar and euro and there were warnings it will fall even further.

Key figures this morning…

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6% at 21,456.38 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7% at 25,702.95

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4% at 2,924.86 (close)

London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,144.02

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2204 from $1.2213 at 2040 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 89.81 pence from 89.69 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0960 from $1.0955

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.12 yen from 107.07 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 19 cents at $52.44 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 17 cents at $58.07 per barrel

New York – Dow: DOWN 1.2% at 26,164.04 (close)

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Economy

Strong baht and divisive politics threatening Thailand’s economy

May Taylor

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Strong baht and divisive politics threatening Thailand’s economy | The Thaiger

The director of the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University, says that if the US Federal Reserve cuts the policy rate by another 25 basis points this month, the baht could reach 29 baht to the US dollar.

Anusorn Tamajai says such a cut would put pressure on Thailand’s currency, which has been seen as a safe haven. The surging baht continues to create problems for policymakers, as exporters complain about the exchange rate making their products more expensive as they struggle to remain competitive.

While the Bank of Thailand is preparing a range of new measures to address the soaring baht, it continues to edge closer to 30 baht to the dollar, hitting a six-year high last week.

Insecurity in the global economy continues, and although it’s expected that the US will agree a partial trade deal with China, President Trump still plans to raise tariffs on another batch of Chinese goods worth $160 billion to 15% come December. The ongoing uncertainty is expected to have a severe impact on China’s economy, Anusorn says.

The US has also announced a boycott of Chinese tech companies, accusing them of human rights abuses among the country’s minority Muslim population, and President Trump has also warned China that any acts of violence against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong would negatively impact a US-China trade deal.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, there is ongoing disagreement over amending the junta-sponsored Constitution, with opposition politicians, academics, and civil groups in favour, while the Army Chief remains opposed.

Anusorn fears the ongoing schism in the country’s political landscape may have a detrimental effect on consumer and investor confidence.

“Hate speech could deepen political conflicts and adversely affect confidence. There is a need for political reconciliation by all sides and a determined move towards democracy and raising the standard of living of the people.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Economy

“Eat, Shop, Spend” drive reaches registration target

Greeley Pulitzer

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“Eat, Shop, Spend” drive reaches registration target | The Thaiger

Ten million people signed up for the first Eat, Shop, Spend stimulus campaign since its launch on September 23. The organisers have expressed thanks to all who have participated.

The first phase of the campaign aimed to boost domestic spending by offering 10 million people a 1,000 baht voucher via the G-Wallet mobile application to spend in specific shops, outside their province, before November 30.

The Minister of Finance says the campaign will be extended into Phase 2 but with the criteria and regulations adjusted to attract more people with purchasing power to spend their own money, without the 1,000 baht per person give-away seen in Phase 1. The second phase will take place in November and December.

SOURCES: The Thaiger | The Nation | National News Bureau of Thailand

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