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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit

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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit | The Thaiger

The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit from next Friday and give UK PM Theresa May time to get her deal approved in Parliament.

The PM had hoped to persuade the EU to delay the March 29 Brexit date, set in law, to June 30. But the EU country leaders have offered her two dates…

  1. A delay until May 22 if MPs approve her withdrawal deal in next week’s vote.
  2. 2. A shorter delay until April 12 if they reject it. But the UK will have to set out its next steps – another extension or leaving without a deal.

But the EU says a further extension beyond April 12 is only possible if the UK agrees to hold EU elections on May 23.

As to how British lawmakers can sort things out in a few weeks after two years of debate remains to be seen.

But economists are warning Thailand to brace for some fallout from the UK exit from the EU because it is more likely to happen than not, just a matter of when.

First of all, no-deal Brexit means the UK will no longer be a part of the EU bloc and will have to revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. Made-in-UK goods will be subject to EU tariffs, like that of other non-EU nations. Meanwhile, the price of the EU-made merchandises in the UK may become more expensive as they will have to bear the cost of imported tariffs as well.

According to SCB Economic Intelligence Centre, a no-deal Brexit will impact the UK economy and, consequently, affect British purchasing power overseas. British demand for Thai exports, namely automobiles and parts, and processed chicken meat may reduce.

British expats will also have to face a worsening rate of exchange with the Thai baht, lessening the power of the British pound they bring into the Kingdom for living, retirement or holidays.

Nonetheless, the overall impact on Thai exports should not be significant because the Thai outbound shipment to the UK represents only 1.5 percent of total Thai exports, according to the the think tank of Siam Commercial Bank.

Brexit may also prompt Thailand and the EU to renegotiate some trade deals such as import quota to the EU. Thailand may have to renegotiate the export quota with the EU on processed chicken, as an example. And Thailand may also have to negotiate another chicken export deal with the UK separately after the UK separation from the EU.

Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of Department of Trade Negotiations, said Brexit could complicate the process of Thai-EU free trade negotiation, which is scheduled to resume in the second half of this year.

“At any rate, after the Thai general election, Thailand is set to continue to negotiate with the EU on the Thai-EU free trade deal regardless of the UK decision.”

On the bright side, Brexit may prompt the UK investors to pay more attention to potential markets beyond the EU border. At present, direct investment from the UK to Thailand is small, accounting for only 3.5 percent of the total foreign direct investment, according to SCB.

Kasikorn Research Centre note that in addition to Brexit, Thai investors should take into account the consequences of the EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force last month.

The EPA could affect the exports of Thai automobile which is part of the Japanese’ supply chains. The EPA will end tariffs of auto and parts between Japan and EU by 2026.

Kasikorn Bank’s think tank says, in light of Brexit, some Japanese automakers will likely relocate some of their car production from the UK to other EU countries to maintain the EU trade privileges. Nissan and Honda have already flagged this probability.

Thus, the destinations for Thai exported automobiles and parts, which are part of the supply chains of Japanese automakers, may also change in accordance with Japanese automakers’ revised business strategy.

While the actual impacts on trade and investment remain to be seen, Brexit has been chiefly attributed to the volatility of the British pound since the referendum in 2016.

The SCB Economic Intelligence Centre say the weaker British pound could dampen the sentiment of British arrivals. They note that UK holidaymakers are among the high spenders in Thailand with 77,600 baht per trip.

“At any rate, since the receipts from British travelers represent only 2.1 percent of the total, the impact on the Thai tourism industry will be insignificant.”



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Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists

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Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | The Thaiger

by Thanchanok Phobut | Senior Coordinator, Thailand

CBRE, international property consultants, believe that the Thai tourism market is still as resilient as ever.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced they are expecting more than 40 million tourists to visit Thailand this year, up from the record-breaking 38.3 million last year. According to the latest figures, the first two months of 2019 showed a 2.5% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals at 7.3 million, compared to 7.1 million the previous year.

In the first two months of 2019, the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals decreased slightly by 2.2% – 2.17 million in 2018 to 2.12 million this year. Chinese tourist arrivals in February, the month in which the Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, decreased by 12.3% year-on-year.

Other key feeder markets like Malaysia, India, Korea, and Japan showed double-digit growth in the first two months of 2019, with India having the highest growth at 20.1% year-on-year. Even though the combined number of tourists from these four feeder markets was smaller than that of the Chinese market alone, this positive trend could replace any loss of Chinese tourists. The challenge remains for Thailand to win back this biggest feeder market now that the most significant holiday for Chinese people has passed.

Bangkok still attracts tourists from around the world. The number of international tourist arrivals to Bangkok in the first two months of 2019 was 4.68 million, a 3% year-on-year growth. The development of a third runway in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, approved by the government on April 17, will strengthen Bangkok’s capacity to handle larger numbers of tourists in the future.

“In the first quarter of 2019, Rosewood Bangkok, a 159 key luxury hotel next to Phloen Chit BTS station, opened its doors to the public. This was one of Bangkok’s most highly-anticipated luxury hotel openings together with Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, both of which will open later this year, underpinning renewed interest in the riverside area and capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” comments Mr. Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Markets – CBRE Hotels in Thailand.

CBRE believes that Bangkok will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world with new luxury hotel openings, improving infrastructure, and attractions that appeal to a wide range of tourists.

Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | News by The Thaiger

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World Bank downgrades Thailand’s 2019 GDP growth to 3.8%

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World Bank downgrades Thailand’s 2019 GDP growth to 3.8% | The Thaiger

The World Bank is downgrading Thailand’s growth projections to 3.8% from 3.9% for 2019. This compares to last year’s 4.1% GDP. The Bank says that export growth has shrunk to 5.7% from last year’s 5.9%.

The World Bank’s senior economist for Thailand, Mr. Kiatpong Ariyapratya, says that the Word Bank also projects that Thailand’s growth rate for next year would remain at 3.8%. He was citing the East Asia and Pacific Update report,

“Thailand’s export growth projection for this year was adjusted down because of a global economic slowdown as a result of the simmering trade war between the US and China. Growth in tourist arrivals to Thailand this year is also projected to drop slightly.”

Thai PBS reports that, although Thailand’s growth projection is lower than the average 4%-5% rate for the rest of ASEAN, Mr. Kiatpong said that Thailand’s economic growth trend was improving compared to the situation 2-3 years ago, especially investment in the government and private sectors and the private sector’s consumption is picking up, constituting the main engines of economic expansion, expected to grow 4.6% and 4.3% respectively.

He warned that investments by the government sector for the year 2021, as well as government procurement projects and private sector investments, might be affected if formation of the new government is further delayed.

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Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht

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Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht | The Thaiger

The long running issue of Bangkok’s ‘stonehenge’ has been resolved after the Supreme Administrative Court handed down its findings today over the disputed contract of the 60 kilometre link from central Bangkok to Don Mueang Airport.

The Thai Ministry of Transport and the State Railway of Thailand have been dealt a costly blow after the Supreme Administrative Court today overturned the Administrative Court’s verdict and ordered the two state agencies pay almost 11.9 billion baht in compensation to the Hong Kong-based Hopewell Holdings Company for the termination of the Hopewell project – a 60 kilometre elevated highway and rail line from central Bangkok to Don Meuang international airport back in the 90s.

Thai PBS reports that the compensation, plus another 500 million baht in bank guarantees put up by Hopewell Holdings Company, must be paid within 180 days of the verdict from the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Thai court’s verdict will put an end to the long-running legal battle, between the Transport Ministry and the SRT on one side and HK’s Hopewell Holdings on the other.

Hopewell Holding was granted the 30 year concession in 1990 to manage the project, given the nickname of the Thai “Stonehenge”.  The project was riddled with difficulties and widely criticised, resulting in construction being suspended in 1992 and the eventual termination of the contract in 1998, with less than 20% of the work completed.

The dispute over compensation went through an arbitration process under the auspices of the Thai Arbitration Institute which in 2008 ruled in favour of Hopewell Holdings, with both the Transport Ministry and the SRT ordered to pay Hopewell about 12 billion baht in compensation for wrongful termination of the concession.

The two state agencies challenged the arbitration tribunal’s ruling by taking the case to the Administrative Court which in October 2014 overturned the tribunal’s ruling on the grounds that Hopewell’s claim was barred by a time limitation.

Hopewell Holdings then successfully appealed the ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court.

SOURCE: The PBS

Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht | News by The Thaiger

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