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Foreign investors and businesspeople seek clarity about the current “situation” in Thailand

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PHOTO: Are business groups still able to "meet"? - EU Business Avenues

With Thailand battling to come up with a safe and sustainable manner of re-opening its borders, and the footage of the street protests reaching out to a world audience, foreign investors are saying they need more details of what they can or cannot do in Thailand under the new State of Emergency.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce is calling for additional details and a long term “plan” about how Thailand is going to slowly re-open and how foreign businesses can continue to invest in the country under the current “restrictions”. The State of Emergency, announced hastily on Thursday morning at 4am and then endorsed by the Thai cabinet yesterday afternoon, sends mixed signals to business and the Thai Chamber of Commerce is seeking more clarification.

TCC chairman Kalin Sarasin says that foreign investors are enquiring whether they can go ahead with holding conferences and meetings in Thailand, after the decrees’ ban on gatherings of more than 5 people. People in a BTS Skytrain carriage, or even the meeting of the Thai cabinet yesterday are gatherings of more than 5 people, so the TCC want answers to what, specifically, is allowed and what is not.

The Nation reports that Chambers of commerce in Thailand’s provinces are also asking Kalin if they will be able to continue with planned activities.

“It would take a few days to judge whether emergency rule will hit foreign-investor confidence. The economy could escape damage from political turmoil if the anti-government protests end soon.”

Meanwhile, according to the Japan External Trade Organisation, Japanese “faith in Thailand remains high”, JETRO president Atsushi Taketani says that Japanese investors “were still confident in Thailand and remain committed to driving its economy regardless of current political situation”.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand says that Thailand’s core economic showpieces, including development of the Eastern Economic Corridor, won’t be affected by escalating political tensions.

And the deputy governor of the authority, Attapon Jirawatjanya, stated that… “ongoing anti-establishment protests would be a short-term problem”.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    The clarity is obvious.
    the country is heading for a recession.
    Corruption is rife.
    You cannot enter without a lot of expensive delaying regulations.
    There is a dictatorship in power, ruling with lies and corruption, who will not allow an election.
    Take your money elsewhere. You will lose it in Thailand.

    • Avatar

      Richard

      Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      Absolutely correct

  2. Avatar

    James Scott

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    I actually used to invest in several Thai companies, as I lived in Thailand for many years, but pulled my money out of the country in April soon after the borders were shut as I could see where this entire mess under this corrupt government was heading.

    I eventually shifted most of that money to companies in Sweden and Taiwan, as these are the countries not panicking about covid and whose economies, and thus companies, will be well ahead of much of the rest of the world when this panic and idiocy ends.

    So far, my investments have seen quite decent returns. So much so, I’ll be buying more shares before the end of the year, whereas Thailand is just about the last country I would invest in right now.

    Most other international investors seem to be thinking the same thing, primarily because it is looking very likely Thai banks will start having major problems by the end of the year as hundreds of thousands of Thais default on loans. That will kick off a massive economic catastrophe in Thailand nobody investing money would want to experience.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 1:41 am

      Sweden and Taiwan?

      Based on their reaction to Covid-19?

      That’s odd … the last time I checked, one minute ago, Sweden had closed its borders to all outside the EU and UK, and Taiwan had closed its borders to all tourists.

  3. Avatar

    PJ

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    If the borders remain closed for years. Expect economic catastrophe. The underground economy is all about tourism. The government has no idea the money made off the books from international travel.

  4. Avatar

    Crispy

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 12:05 am

    The major problem is the paperwork and expenses of getting into Thailand to manage one’s investments. Now with the government resisting change it is looking more and more boxed in.

  5. Avatar

    West Tiger

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 1:23 am

    No business’s or business people are going to invest in Thailand at the moment with the way things are, and properly wont until the junta is replaced.
    These are very dark days for Thailand

  6. Avatar

    Noneya Bidnizz

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 1:48 am

    Spot On Gentlemen , NO ONE in Their Right mind would invest in Thailand Now Due to All That You`ve mentioned !

    STEP DOWN NOW PRAYUT , TAKE YOUR ILL-GOTTEN MONEY AND LEAVE BEFORE YOU ( FURTHER) DESTROY THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND HER PEOPLE !!!!!

    And take your “muppets“ with you !!!

    May the Students and common sense prevail !!!

  7. Avatar

    Jimmy Giggle

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    This is way beyond finance and money now. It is about human decency and I am astounded as to why heads of countries are not doing anything about dictators. Poor efforts all round. Humans 0. Disaster 1.

  8. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Monday, October 19, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Even if you invest in Thailand or buy property – you do not get any permanent residentship – then you can be locked out of your property. Why invest then?

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 1:26 am

    You mean like most other countries, as fewer are “selling” residency?

    If they do they’re accused of corruption and greed, if they don’t they’re accused of not supporting the economy … hmm …

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Business

Government will not re-capitalise struggling Thai Airways

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikimedia

The State Enterprise Policy Office says the government will not back a billion-baht cash injection for Thai Airways. The national airline is currently been dragged through bankruptcy proceedings.

Pantip Sripimol from the SEPO says the Thai Finance Ministry will not re-capitalise the carrier, although it remains its largest shareholder. The Bangkok Post reports that there are concerns Thai Airways could become a state enterprise once more if the ministry were to assume a majority stake once more.

Last September, the Finance Ministry reduced its stake in the national airline to less than 50%, in an effort to facilitate the debt-rehabilitation process. As a result, the carrier is no longer a state-owned enterprise and it’s understood a number of cabinet ministers are concerned that, should the airline regain its status as a state enterprise, the government would have to guarantee a billion-baht loan to ensure its survival.

The Bangkok Post reports that both the Finance Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, and Deputy PM, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, both support re-establishing the airline as a state enterprise. They argue that doing so would improve its financial situation and provide more leverage for negotiating with creditors. Such a move would mean the Finance Ministry becoming a majority shareholder once again.

As it is, the airline’s bankruptcy proceedings have been taken up with renegotiating with creditors – mostly aircraft lessees. The majority of Thai Airways’ fleet remains grounded and gathering dust, parked at Suvarnabhumi airport.

However, Pantip says the ministry will not re-capitalise the airline and is prepared to reduce its shareholding if other investors purchased additional shares. The ministry currently has a 49.9% stake in Thai Airways, with Pantip saying it would be difficult to justify a further cash injection to shareholders.

With the airline now operating as a private business, the government is no longer obliged to prop it up monetarily, nor is the Finance Ministry obliged to offer financial help to a private company, despite being its largest shareholder.

On Wednesday, creditors will meet to discuss the airline’s debt restructuring plan and decide if they are to accept it.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Business

Thailand jumps on the electric bandwagon, aims to become EV production hub

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr / JCT 600

The Thai government has ambitious plans to turn the Kingdom into a Southeast Asian hub for the manufacture of electric vehicles. Nikkei Asia reports that big companies in Thailand are preparing to invest substantially in the greener mode of transport, after the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee suggested a new manufacturing target could mean half of Thailand’s auto-production is made up of electric vehicles by 2030.

The message to car manufacturers and energy suppliers is to grab this opportunity to invest in the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicles, as the number of drivers using such cars is expected to rise significantly. The Thailand Board of Investment says that between 2017 and 2019, investment in EV production and its infrastructure reached 79 billion baht. That figure is expected to rise at a much quicker rate over the next 3 years.

According to the Nikkei Asia report, Toyota was the first car manufacturer to make EVs in the Kingdom, with Chinese manufacturers becoming more competitive in recent years. The latest Chinese firm to join the EV revolution is Great Wall Motor, which plans to launch electric vehicles this year. The number of EV manufacturers in Thailand is also growing, but Surapong Phaisitpattanapong from the Federation of Thai Industries’ Automotive Industry Club says they still need to overcome serious supply chain challenges. He says manufacturers of the traditional internal combustion engine now find themselves trying to supply parts for electric vehicles, including batteries, motors and converters.

“It’s all about the economy of scale. If the number of EV users goes up substantially, it would be worth investing, and everyone, including auto parts makers, would be ready to switch to producing EV parts, and that would create supply chains that are ready for the development of EVs, but it will take time.”

Surapong points out that the government hasn’t provided enough subsidies to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, saying there needs to be more of an incentive to deliver the sales boost needed.

“We think there should be a more direct subsidy for EV buyers to promote EVs, but we haven’t seen the government issue any kind of subsidies like that yet.”

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pfizer sees 45% increase in net income and revenue, as critics point to disparity in global vaccine availability

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Stock photo via Flickr

After seeing a 45% increase in net income from last year, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, is largely increasing its projected profits for this year. And, the increase is undoubtedly due to the high amount of Covid-19 vaccine sales, in which the company says is shaping up to provide a “durable” revenue stream.

The company says this year’s first quarter profits featured almost 1/4 of sales coming from the Covid vaccines. As it is teaming with German partner BioNTech, the company is set to increase its vaccine production, putting it on track to see US$26 billion in revenues from the vaccine this year. The new number-crunching is an increase from the US$15 million that was projected in February of this year.

But the profits are triggering criticism as governments are feeling pressured to ensure vaccines are available in poorer countries. Chief Executive Albert Bourla, says the company is holding dialogues with “basically all governments of the world,” and it is awaiting approval from the US for 12 to 15 year olds to be able to receive the jab.

The company is also studying the efficacy of giving inoculations, or boosters, every 6 or more months after the second dose- in a move that signals even more profits on the horizon. Bourla says this scenario would allow the company to be both a leader and a financial beneficiary.

“It is our hope that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will continue to have a global impact by helping to get the devastating pandemic under control and helping economies around the world not only open, but stay open.”

But last month, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, cited a “shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines” and emphasised that the WHO’s Covax programmes must be fortified soon to allow poorer nations to gain access to the inoculations.

Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at progressive Public Citizen advocacy group, says Pfizer’s increase in profits show the need for governments to take action to save lives.

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Pfizer has defended its vaccine pricing policy, saying it has moderated the cost to encourage broad access through the pandemic phase that could continue into the year 2022. But with a net income increasing by 45%, at US$4.9 billion over the past year and revenues jumping the same percentage to US$14.6 billion, critics point towards the continued disparity of vaccine availability between poor and rich countries. Pfizer’s shares have also increased by .3% to US$39.95.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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