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Currencies and stock exchanges flutter as the dust settles on the latest threats in the US-China trade spat

The Thaiger

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Currencies and stock exchanges flutter as the dust settles on the latest threats in the US-China trade spat | The Thaiger
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Central banks in India, Thailand and New Zealand cut interest rates this week in an attempt to fend off any harm from the spiralling US-China trade war.

The escalation of the trade war, sparked by fresh US tariff threats by US President Trump over the weekend, is seen as the reason for the policy shift.

On Monday, the People’s Bank of China claimed the slump in the yuan was driven by “unilateralism and trade protectionism measures and the imposition of tariff increases on China”. Aka. US-China trade war.

Worries that Australia may be the next to act led investors to send the Australian dollar to its lowest level against the US dollar in a decade. Australia’s central bank held its key policy rate at its current record low on Tuesday following two consecutive cuts, but suggests more easing measures might be needed amid the country’s slowing economy.

The unexpected moves by the three countries jolted global markets. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed flat after an early dive of 2%. Stock exchanges have been unsettled since Monday, when China let its currency weaken to the lowest point in more than a decade.

Yesterday, the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee made a surprise decision to cut the policy interest rate amid pressure to avert an economic slowdown and hedge the heightened trade war between the US and China. The MPC cut the interest rate by only 25 basis points to 1.5 %. Of the seven-member committee, five voted for the cut while two voted to maintain the rate at 1.75%.

The British pound was steady against the Thai baht yesterday following two weeks of dropping value against the strong Thai currency.

Currencies and stock exchanges flutter as the dust settles on the latest threats in the US-China trade spat | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government to decide which “red” businesses can reopen in next phase

Jack Burton

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Government to decide which “red” businesses can reopen in next phase | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Walking Street Pattaya

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration revealed today that the government is now considering which high-risk or “red” businesses will be allowed to reopen under Phase 4 of lockdown easing. CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin says that the virus could be with us for months or even years, so the government must carefully consider which “red” high-contagion-risk businesses can reopen. The CCSA has asked operators of “red” businesses for their Covid-19 preventive plans and measures so the agency can make a decision on whether they can reopen.

Here are the businesses and activities currently in the running to reopen in the fourth phase:

  • Educational institutes – for classes, training, and exams
  • Nurseries and centres for the elderly
  • Educational science attractions (hundreds of them!)
  • Meeting rooms holding more than 200 attendees
  • TV and film productions with crews of more than 100 people
  • National parks (restricted to certain areas)
  • Remaining unopened beaches
  • Amusement parks, playgrounds, and game centres
  • Gyms, fitness centres, and sports stadiums (that haven’t already been opened)
  • Convention halls larger than 20,000 square metres, for concerts, expos, and events
  • Entertainment venues, pubs, bars and karaoke outlets
  • Large massage shops

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

TAT will use domestic tourism as dress rehearsal for international returns

Jack Burton

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TAT will use domestic tourism as dress rehearsal for international returns | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Adventure In You

“…the tourism sector will continue to be stifled by disease control measures until a Covid-19 vaccine is developed.”

Due to the current ban on international arrivals, extended several times and now in effect until at least July, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has created a strategy to support domestic tourism and “learn from the experience”, as it eases into the inevitable challenge of luring back international tourists.

In a feature posted on its website earlier this week, the TAT said it had identified some basic truths; one of them being that the tourism sector will continue to be stifled by disease control measures until a Covid-19 vaccine is developed.

“This will affect and change all behaviour and patterns of traditional travel and tourism activities starting with the aviation experience.”

The agency predicts that only the strongest people will travel as tourists focus more than before on their health and safety. The so-called “new normal,” which is actually highly abnormal for Thai tourism, will concentrate on less travel, smaller gatherings and avoiding crowds. This is the opposite of what made Thai tourism the success it was before the pandemic… group tours, especially from China, festivals, large scale events, and a massive nightlife and entertainment industry (with all the related health risks), gave the country 39.8 million tourists last year. This year the kingdom will be lucky to attract a third of that number, and that’s supremely optimistic given the current risk-averse Thai government.

Both mainstream and niche markets will be evaluated for opportunities, but Thailand’s tourism industry is highly dependent on international arrivals, and it will ultimately be consumers who decide if and when they’re comfortable travelling overseas.

Visitors to Thailand, as of now, are required to obtain a fit-to-fly medical certificate and medical insurance cover, that includes Covid-19 treatment, valued at 100,000 US$ (3.1 million baht). Only people with current work permits or an ‘urgent’ need to return, are considered for possible re-entry at the moment.

Here are some more considerations that may be imposed, according to the TAT…

• The number of tourists will be limited to avoid congestion

• Once landed in Thailand, tourists will be required to undergo a Covid-19 rapid screening process for reconfirmation, and then depart to a sealed area resort location, most likely islands, without any stops

• The swab tests are not 100% reliable and require 6-12 hours for processing, which might not be practical for airports to manage

• Financial support will have to be extended to airlines and tour operators to use in public relations and tourism marketing campaigns

While in Thailand, tourists will have to install and use the Thai Chana tracking application on their smartphones when travelling in and out of sealed areas. Basically the focus will be on high-end international tourists who can afford the expensive medical insurance and are prepared to be transported to a “bubble” in a beach resort.

The TAT also floated the idea of a tax for outbound Thai tourists to support domestic tourism, while exempting visa application fees at Thai embassies and consulates in other countries, including visa-on-arrival fees. This move would require a compensation budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration Bureau’s lost revenue.

(Bottomline: If these measures are to be rolled out there are very few tourists who will be inclined to jump through the hoops and then be ‘imprisoned’ in a location for the duration of their stay. The TAT also foreshadows the idea of a ‘vaccine stamp’ where people without a Covid-19 vaccine wouldn’t be allowed to enter the country – The Thaiger)

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government says Cambodian workers should remain in Thailand during Covid-19

Maya Taylor

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Government says Cambodian workers should remain in Thailand during Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Asean Post/AFP

The director general of Thailand’s Employment Department, Suchart Phonchaiwisetkun, says Cambodian labourers should remain in Thailand while the fight against the Covid-19 goes on in the region. He was speaking following a meeting with the the Cambodian Ambassador, Ouk Sorphorn, where they discussed how Thailand would deal with its migrant workforce during the pandemic.

According to a report in Nation Thailand, Suchart claims Cambodian workers wish to remain in Thailand and continue working, rather than returning to their home country. He says having them travel across the border now would not only cost money but could increase the risk of virus transmission. He adds that having them remain in Thailand provides reassurance to Thai business owners that they won’t have to deal with a shortage of workers, adding that the Cambodians themselves are in agreement.

“The Cambodians agreed to the preliminary principles and want relevant agencies in Thailand and Cambodia to meet in a video conference later.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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