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Economy

Thai household debt expected to keep rising- Kasikorn Research

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Despite rolling out Covid-19 vaccines, in which could see a faster return to pre-Covid times, Thailand’s household debt is expected to keep rising. Kasikorn Research analysts say it could, in fact, reach 89-91% by the end of the year.

In a recent survey, KResearch says 10.8% of respondents could be stuck in a financial crisis. Of those who may be stuck, they indicated a drop in income, an inability to reduce expenses, and a high debt service burden per month that is exceeding 50% of their monthly incomes. This group of survey respondents is also concerned that it may not be able to provide for its basic needs in the near future.

In the 3rd quarter of 2020 and the year end, the figures were lower, at 86.6%, and 89.2% respectively. The upward trend isn’t unique as loans have increased while the economy has slowed. Almost 20% of household debts now are receiving financial-aid measures from financial institutions. The Bank of Thailand says the end of 2020 say 2.79 trillion baht tied up in financial relief programmes, which is equivalent to the 20%.

Despite government handouts and stimulus measures, the third wave of the pandemic is expected to increase outstanding debt under financial-aid programmes through the end of this month, but analysts say they are likely to not be any higher than the 3rd quarter of 2020. The amount of borrowers who may need further assistance after the relief programmes end in June 2021, is expected to be high.

The Covid vaccination rollout may give more flexibility in ending lockdowns in Thailand, funneling future financial assistance to those who are in serious need. The rollout may signal a switch from the standardized measures that were previously in place for determining who qualifies for financial aid, to a more individualised debt handling policy by financial institutions.

When asked what types of assistance are needed, survey participants ranked liquidity support at the top, followed by job creation that could help them maintain a stable revenue stream. Extension of financial-aid measures ranked 3rd. The rankings, indeed, point towards respondents needing to stabilize their platform of revenue first, before needing financial help.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Well one good result might be, if they have to sell their cars and motorbikes it might bring down the death toll on the roads.
    Poverty! They don’t know what poverty is.
    I remember when our butler ran off with cook, we had to answer the door ourselves and live off takeaways!

  2. Avatar

    Ben

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 7:22 am

    The expansion of credit has enabled people to live beyond their means. That has built up to the point where disaster is around the corner. In the USA people declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are in the penalty box for a while before they can repeat the process again. I’m not sure what the rules are in Thailand but I don’t think they can get out of their debts as easily.

  3. Avatar

    James

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:29 am

    Just print more baht and bring down its value. Much of Thailand is becoming poor value.

  4. Avatar

    Amy Sukwan

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be paid

  5. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Later matters become worse.
    The chauffeur ran off with the maid. We had to make our own beds and catch the bus!!!

  6. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Exactly, @Ben. If only there was an easy solution that avoided people being hurt, but there isn’t.

  7. Avatar

    tony

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    worse still the bus never came because the driver was caught coming with the gardener

  8. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    @tony – and then the bus crashed and we had to walk ten miles in the pouring rain back to our Stately Home.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Economy

Lungtoo, A PM Prayut-themed Thai meme crypto, debuts

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PHOTO: Crypto based on PM Prayut's nickname is destined to be huge. *Please don't consider this investment advice. (via SiamBlockchain)

For those looking to get into the cryptocurrency craze in the shadiest way possible while also offending the Thai government, the perfect option now exists. Say hello to Lungtoo, the newest meme crypto be making its way through the Thai blockchain community. The name is pronounced like the Thai translation of Uncle Tuu, the affectionate nickname given to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha by his supporters. The cryptocurrency was launched on Monday, perhaps as a response to Elon Musk’s Saturday Night Live appearance during which Dogecoin, the crypto he has supported, plummeted.

The website for Lungtoo features artwork from anonymous political cartoonist Kai Maew who claimed he had no involvement and had not given permission for his art to be used. The site is targeting Thai youth that have been protesting Thailand’s current government and the digital currency claims to be donating profits to Siriraj and Phramongkutklao hospitals. The crypto was created completely anonymously and the website was offline today.

Much of the cryptocurrency and its website seems to have used the Binance Smart Chain service the launch a knockoff of another cryptocurrency, Dogemoon. The website and all associated information and press releases seem to be cobbled together from Dogemoon’s website and other crypto sources. The Lungtoo website was registered anonymously but it was confirmed to be set up in Victoria, Australia.

939 crypto investors had purchased the original Lungtoo coins before a red-flag-raising back-end switch changed the contract account where the coins originated. 40 people have purchased the new coins and the crypto creators announced later that people could exchange old coins for new coins. They claimed the accounts were switched because their original didn’t meet the regulations for some crypto exchange platforms.

Experts say this shady change, and other setup vulnerabilities, make the coin a humorous meme but a risky and easily exploited investment.

SOURCE: Coconuts

 

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Economy

Bangkok’s Union Mall will close until May 27, casualty of Covid-19

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PHOTO: Union Mall in Bangkok will be closing until at least May 27 due to Covid-19. (via Wikimedia)

In another sign of Thailand’s Covid-19 battered economy, the Union Mall in Bangkok has announced that it will close temporarily, purportedly for Covid-19 safety but likely because of a lack of customers during the pandemic. The mall, in Ladprao opposite the Central Ladprao shopping mall, took to Facebook this week to announce that they were closing.

Mall management made an exception for food vendors, announcing that restaurants and food service businesses inside could continue to operate. But in-person dining will not be allowed and the businesses could cook food only for pick-up takeaway or delivery service.

The mall made a statement announcing the mall will be closed from now until at least May 27, but the closure may be extended further in future announcements. They stated that the decision was made to close the mall to help prevent any outbreaks or spread of Covid-19. The move would give businesses renting stores inside the mall a rest from worrying about running a business during the pandemic and risking infection, and also give them a break on rental expenses for a bit.

But altruism aside, the Union Mall will also close because it just doesn’t have the patronage to sustain operation as the pandemic rages on. Before Covid-19, the mall was a popular hangout spot for young hip mallrats shopping for the latest fashions. But for the last year, shops and promenades have been mostly empty, a ghost town beaten down by the pandemic.

In the announcement to close, the mall management shared a letter from a frustrated shop-owner, lamenting the plight of businesses renting stores during an unrelenting pandemic. He complained that the economy began to look better a few times, but was repeatedly dashed by another Covid-19 wave. An end is still not in sight in an uncertain pandemic, and the business owner pointed out that people can start getting jabs, but there’s no vaccine to immunise small businesses that don’t have the savings to keep fighting as the customerless months drag on.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government says Covid treatment is free, but patients report hefty bills

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Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

Despite the Thai government repeatedly saying all Covid-19 patients will receive free treatment, hefty bills are being posted on social media. Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Health Service Support Department, insisted again that the treatment for Covid is free at any state or private hospital, but listed maximum amounts on coverage for individuals. The National Health Security Office says it will pay 7,200 baht in medicines for each patient, 1,500 baht per night in a hospital, field hospital or hospitel, and 3,800 baht for other items related to the virus treatment.

But the NHSO secretary-general cited bills as being much higher on average per person, insisting that even those bills will and have been paid.

“Patients don’t have to pay even when being treated in a private hospital because the NHSO will reimburse the cost. On average, we pay private hospitals about Bt100,000 per [Covid] patient with moderate symptoms, and have paid 800,000 baht to 1 million baht for severe cases.”

1 patient reported being hit with a bill of 937,979 baht for 16 days in a private hospital, which included 3 days in intensive care. Another reported a bill of 989,670 baht for 17 days in hospital, 13 of which were spent in ICU. Another person, Danai Rung, says he called the NHSO hotline, after being given a large bill, and said the hotline representative told him his hospital wasn’t covered under the NHSO.

“The claim that Covid-19 treatment is free at all hospitals is definitely untrue,” he said on Public Health Ministry’s Facebook page for Covid-19 updates. “I have had to pay 340,000 baht of the 480,000 baht bill. The insurance only covered about 140,000 baht.”

Even private hospitals are claiming that the difference in specialists’ fees and medical supplies make the cost of treatment higher compared to those getting treatment at public hospitals. The difference, unlike what the NHSO has stated, will be paid by the patient.

Thonburi Healthcare Group’s chairman, Boon Vanasin, said recently that when a patient is diagnosed with Covid-19 in a private hospital, they may either be admitted or transferred to another designated medical facility. In this case, the treatment will be free.

“But if the patient refuses the process prescribed by the government and chooses to be treated in their own hospital, then they will have to pay the difference between the medical cover provided by the government and fees charged by private hospitals.”

Patients are advised to call the NHSO 1330 hotline if they are asked to pay for Covid-19 care. So far, the Public Health Ministry says it has resolved 44 complaints involving 75 patients. All these patients have been refunded the money taken from them by private hospitals, who said the money was collected by mistake or taken as a guarantee.

The NHSO says operators of medical facilities who illegally charge for Covid care can face up to 2 years in jail or a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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