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Economy

Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand is on the watch list for possible currency manipulation.

Thailand remains on the United States Treasury’s “Monitoring List” of countries whose currency trade practices need to be watched, though Thai officials say they are not worried. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen releases a foreign exchange report twice a year including labelling alleged currency manipulators and flagging suspect trading partner countries to be monitored.

The Bank of Thailand said remaining on the US currency watch list poses no threat to Thai businesses or the government’s ability to enact policies to promote financial stability. They stress that Thailand has never manipulated currency, using the exchange rate to get a competitive edge or an unfair trade advantage over other countries.

This most recent report tags 11 countries as warranting a closer watch: China, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Mexico and Ireland were the 2 new inclusions, not on the previous report in December 2020. Also in the report, the US Treasury Department toed the line of accusing Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam of manipulating currency.

They stated yesterday that the 3 countries had crossed the line of 2015 US trade laws, but didn’t officially brand them as currency manipulators. The thresholds of that 2015 rule include either global current account surplus or foreign currency intervention over 2% of GDP, and having a trade surplus with the US over US $20 billion trade.

The flagging of Taiwan, Vietnam and Switzerland falls short of applying the manipulator label due to a 1988 law requiring evidence of manipulation to stop balance of payment adjustments or to gain a trade advantage. The US is already engaged in talks with Vietnam and Switzerland and will enter into “enhanced engagement” with Taiwan as well. Not being upgraded to the manipulator title relieves pressure from Switzerland and Vietnam, who both received the label in the last report issued by the Trump administration.

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance and Live Mint

 

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    How can Germany, Ireland and Italy manipulate their currency when they don’t have one as they’re in the Euro?

    This is obviously just US sour grapes as they’ve got a trade surplus with the US.

  2. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Of course they manipulate currency. They charge 50 percent for foreign imported western processed food, and export to the west food at sometimes 3 percent import tax.
    Result a massive trade surplus in Thailand’s favour, which puts the Thai baht sky high.
    Why is a packet of tea bags two times the price they are in the west. This is the reason.
    The import tax.
    That is not the only high import taxes for western imports.
    Anything into Thailand – massive import taxes, while they enjoy low reasonable taxes exporting elsewhere.
    Realise what these people are are. They would fake water if they could.

  3. Avatar

    Simon Peterson

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    It’s odd that they are not concerned about the currency manipulation in “Vientman”. Surely the fact that this country doesn’t exist should raise multiple red flags.

  4. Avatar

    Rolin'-in-Dough.

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:49 am

    I hope America includes itself on this watch list. It is surly the biggest offender.

  5. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 9:30 am

    “Why is a packet of tea bags two times the price they are in the west.”

    That’s not how I recalled it, @toby andrews, so I checked the price of mine on line – a 100 x 2g box of Lipton’s Yellow Label.

    Best price at Amazon UK and E-Bay UK was 4.40 GBP (189 baht) which seemed expensive, but I found a box for 3.00 GBP (129 baht) discounted at Tesco.

    200 baht at Tops, but 142 baht on Lazada and only 119 on Shopee.

    $11.03 to $19.99 (344 to 624 baht) in the USA.

    So for an identical 100 x 2g box of Lipton’s Yellow Label:

    119 baht in Thailand,
    129 baht in the UK,
    344 baht in the USA.

    To balance that I checked the price of a 5kg bag of Thai Royal Umbrella Jasmine Rice – the top grade red bag, gold award, not the cheaper blue, orange, green or purple ones.

    Best price on line in Thailand was 229 baht, up to 550.

    In UK it was between 19.99 and 28.99 GBP (860 to 1,248 baht).

    In the USA the best price was $33.87 (1,056 baht).

    So for an identical 5kg red and gold bag of Royal Umbrella Jasmine Rice from Thailand:

    229 baht in Thailand,
    860 baht in the UK,
    1,056 baht in the USA.

    Recollections may vary, @toby andrews …..

  6. Avatar

    Slugger

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Hypocrisy. Pay no attention to the Colonial noise makers. They need to sort themselves out first.

    America are on China’s currency manipulation list, ok?

  7. Avatar

    Ted

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    You can call it for ‘currency manipulation or what ever you want, but the import taxation is the reason to why my[business attire] wardrobe is getting warned out.

    Same reason to this as to why my mrs and I are still driving around in an old vehicle she had for years, I refuse buying something for x100% the price from back home or any other developed country.

    I guess, thank you C19 for forcing my to adopt to Thailand! 😉

  8. Avatar

    Frank

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Lol let me guess USA is on place 1 the crooks

  9. Avatar

    Ian

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    No they not worried they think they indestructible but the farangs should worry your money and property is not a safe place in thailand but thats only mine and millio s of opinions so do as you wish a fool and his money as they say

  10. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    No “import tax” on vehicles made here, @Ted – and plenty of other countries are happy to buy them.

  11. Avatar

    Ted

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 9:00 am

    @Simon that a Toyota, manufactured here, cost what a BMW cost in Europe (not necessarily in Germany, where the cars is built) should tell you that something is really wrong.

  12. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Wrong, taxes can be as high as 300 percent. Read: driving-in-thailand.com
    Officially they write it is possible. And they also write no car is worth the hassle.
    Read it Small Simon.
    It is the Thai way: yes you can do it, but when you try, you cannot without paying a lot of money.
    Bribes probably.

  13. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 11:57 am

    This report on Tea bags Small Simon is incomplete. WHAT are the quantities. You do not state except for one. And these are online prices.
    Are they 25 bags; 100 bags or what? How can they be compared without quantities?
    Plus online prices where you quoted quantities. Is post added? Is tax added? Have you checked?
    This is what I found. In-store prices.
    Twinnings English breakfast tea, Thailand Tesco Lotus. 25 bags – B225. £5.23
    In the UK Twinnings English breakfast tea bags. ONE Hundred tea bags £5 – B215.
    As for the price of rice.
    Your point is defective. The prices you quote are retail prices! What price the retailer charges is irrelevant.
    Have a lie down Small Simon and return with a more sensible post.
    However seven out of ten for effort . . .

  14. Avatar

    Harry1

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    the government unintentionally have already devalued the baht against all major currencies and it will get weaker, due to this very slow vaccine roll out,will delay opening up,prolonging a economy recovery

  15. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    “@Simon that a Toyota, manufactured here, cost what a BMW cost in Europe (not necessarily in Germany, where the cars is built) should tell you that something is really wrong”

    All it tells me is that some Toyotas are more than some BMWs. That’s the same anywhere!

  16. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    “WHAT are the quantities. You do not state except for one…..
    Are they 25 bags; 100 bags or what? How can they be compared without quantities?”

    ?????

    Ummm … 100 bags, @andrew tobys. That’s why I said “a 100 x 2g box”. Twice. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    “And these are online prices.”

    Very astute of you, @andrew. I thought I made that clear when I said “so I checked the price of mine on line”!

    “Is post added? Is tax added? Have you checked?”

    Ummm … yes, I did “check”, andrew, that’s why I said “I checked”.

    … and no, I didn’t include “post” as that’s more expensive in the UK so I thought it would have been unfair, and all tax is included otherwise there wouldn’t have been much point since that’s what you’re fantasising about.

    “This is what I found. In-store prices.

    NO YOU DIDN’T. You claim to be in Cambodia and to have been there for a year, so you’re in no position to check “in-store prices” yourself.

    The prices I gave are on-line, so easily verifiable, and they’re for an average teabag which is reasonably popular in both the UK and Thailand, showing clearly that any price differential isn’t due to “massive import taxes” as you claimed.

    The prices you give are supposedly “in-store” so they’re not verifiable, and they’re for a teabag for which there is minimal demand in Thailand (easily verifiable by checking on-line availability) which is why the retail price is so much higher.

    Nothing to do with “massive import taxes” at all, as the Liptons Yellow Label example proves – just minimal demand for a niche item.

    “As for the price of rice.
    Your point is defective. The prices you quote are retail prices! What price the retailer charges is irrelevant.”

    ?????

    Of course they’re “retail prices”. Just like the prices for teabags, including your prices.
    If “retail prices” are “irrelevant” then your entire comment is “irrelevant”.

    0ne out of ten for making a comment and then calling it “irrelevant” – even though it was.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Economy

Thailand increases durian exports to China by 14% this year

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Thailand has exported 14% more durian to China in this year’s first quarter over the same period last year. The Trade Negotiations Department Director General says Thai durian auctions in the first quarter secured 186 million, making up 88% of the total amount of Thai durian exports to world markets.

Last year, Thailand exported US1.5 billion worth of durian to China, a 78% increase from 2019. China’s share accounted for 73% of total Thai durian exports to world markets. 18 countries have free trade agreements for fruit with Thailand. Thailand is actively exporting fresh fruit with its top buyers being Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The most popular fruits are the national delicacy of durian, along with mango, mangosteen and longan.

Despite the increases in durian exports, farmers have been worried about Covid-19′s effect on the industry. Earlier in 2021 health authorities in China circulated a press release stating that imported cherries from Chile had been tested and found to have Covid-19 contamination. This statement prompted a huge drop in Chilean cherry prices. Thai growers are worried the same might happen to durian imports. As the seriousness of the Coronavirus in Thailand reaches new widespread levels, one instance of a durian container being linked to Covid-19 could spur a total ban on importing fruit from Thailand.

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SOURCE: MENAFN

 

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Economy

GDP forecast dropped to 1-2% with best, middle and worst case scenarios

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Economic predictions continue to fall with Covid-19 spread and slow vaccination.

Mass vaccination will be the key stop the slump in economic growth after the Bank of Thailand revised their 2021 GDP forecast to between 1 – 2%. They had previously estimated a 3% growth in the gross domestic product but are now creating tiered predictions of a base level, worse situation, and a worst-case scenario, according to the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The base GDP forecast, which you could call a best-case scenario, expects a 2% growth predicated on some rosy numbers like foreign tourism growing to 1.2 million people and unemployment staying around 2.7 million. It also operates on the assumption that Thailand reaches 100 million vaccines distributed by the end of the year which would allow herd immunity by the beginning of 2022.

The middle ground prediction is a 1.5% GDP growth if 64.6 million vaccines are administered, delaying herd immunity to the third quarter of 2022. It also allows for unemployment to grow by another 100,000 people, and tourism to reach only 1 million foreign visitors. If we don’t get this tourism growth and unemployment and underemployment expands to 2.9 million or above, and we distribute less than 64.4 million jabs, the worst-case scenario would be only a 1% GDP growth and herd immunity not being possible until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

The worst-case scenario would be a 5.7% drop in the GDP this year, a loss of 890 billion baht. The middle ground forecast would cost about 460 billion Baht, about a 3% drop in Thailand GDP.

The BOT had originally forecast stronger GDP growth but reduced from 3.2% to 3% before dropping their predictions to the 1% to 2% figure. With the devastating effect of the third wave of Covid-19 being much more far-reaching than originally expected, this new prediction was released now instead of when it was scheduled in June. They did state that government economic stimulus packages could still have a positive effect and allow the economy to grow 3 to 5.7%, assuming mass vaccination goes into effect quickly.

The tourism sector and small-to-medium-sized enterprises would be the most affected by the delays in vaccination. The Monetary Policy Committee stressed that the economy hinges on the speedy importing and administering of vaccines. Faster vaccination will prevent mutations, new strains, and new outbreaks, as well as allowing international borders to fully reopen more quickly and more successfully. They stress that government efforts to support the economy must continue as the government has recently announced they will extend cash stimulus programs and allot money to more low-income assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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