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Asian stock markets mostly rise on positive news

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“China announced it would resume trade talks with the US in Washington next month.”

Most Asian equities and currencies rallied today, building on the previous day’s advance as investors were cheered by a number of positive developments on trade, Hong Kong and Europe.

Markets were already on an upward trajectory after the leader of Hong Kong withdrew a controversial extradition bill that had sparked months of sometimes violent protests in the financial hub.

But the good news kept coming as the day wore on, with news that Italy had formed a new moderate, pro-European government, while British MPs moved closer to passing a law preventing a no-deal Brexit.

Then on Thursday morning, China announced it would resume trade talks with the US in Washington next month. The announcement provided a small sign of progress in the long-running row that has dragged on the global economy and stock markets.

Asian equities were broadly in positive territory, tracking a healthy lead from Wall Street, where the S&P 500 moved to within touching distance of a new record high.

Tokyo ended more than two percent higher and Shanghai jumped 1%, with Sydney 0.9% up.

Seoul gained 0.8%, Singapore 0.3%, and Taipei and Wellington 0.9% each. Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta were also well in positive territory.

However, Hong Kong ended with marginal losses. Having soared almost four percent on Wednesday on the back of Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s shock decision to withdraw the bill, profit-takers moved in, while there was also some concern the offer will not be enough to avert more unrest.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine

Maya Taylor

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Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Thai government is to compile a list of countries considered “low risk” for the Covid-19 virus, as it considers a reduction in the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals. Nation Thailand reports that, once finalised, the Public Health Ministry will submit its list to the Interior Ministry, who will use it to decide the criteria for reduced quarantine.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says there must be clear criteria for the admission of foreign visitors to the Kingdom. Currently, all those arriving must carry out 14 days’ quarantine, regardless of the Covid-19 situation in their country of origin.

It’s understood the government’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration is considering a proposal from the private sector to ease up on some entry restrictions for foreign investors and businesspeople, including a reduction in the quarantine period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Permanent residency, changes to quarantine period – Government mulls strategies to revive economy

Maya Taylor

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Permanent residency, changes to quarantine period – Government mulls strategies to revive economy | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pracha Hariraksapita / Shutterstock

“The government is considering offering permanent residency to those buying condos in the Kingdom.”

Energy minister and deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow has outlined a number of strategies the government hopes will help the Thai economy recover from the Covid-19 fallout. Permanent residency for some condo purchases, changes to the mandatory quarantine and incentives for foreign investment are all under discussion.

The Eastern Economic Corridor, the special economic zone covering the eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, continues to eye foreign investors with a number of large infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

One of those is a high-speed rail link between the 3 closest airports to Bangkok – U-Tapao, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports. Also in the works is a 290 billion baht project to develop U-Tapao Airport, with plans for a new, third terminal, and an aviation training centre, among other facilities. Last year Airbus pulled out of a multi billion baht joint project with Thai Airways to develop a maintenance hub for the region.

Supattanapong adds that the Board of Investment is considering a range of incentives to encourage foreign investors to purchase property in Thailand. The government is considering offering permanent residency to those buying condos in the Kingdom, provided they don’t mortgage, transfer, or sell the units within 5 years of purchase.

In relation to foreign arrivals, he says the government will clarify its plans on any further re-opening to tourists and investors, in addition to any potential reduction in quarantine. He adds that if the current 14 day quarantine period is to be reduced, this would only apply to those coming from countries considered “low risk” for Covid-19. It’s understood the Public Health Ministry is working on categorising countries into low, medium, and high risk, in order to determine the new mandatory quarantine period for international arrivals.

Officials are also considering how foreigners can be encouraged to up their spending from the current average of 50,000 baht per person to 100,000 baht. Since the closure of Thailand’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism sector, once welcoming around 40 million visitors a year and generating 3 trillion baht in revenue, has been decimated.

Meanwhile, the government continues to target domestic tourists and residents through a number of stimulus measures, including a recently announced co-payment scheme aimed at boosting spending.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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