Thailand News Update| Pork prices to lower while oil prices to rise

A tale of two different inflation trends today in Thailand.Firstly, the prices of food staples…. pork, chicken and eggs…. are poised to drop as this years Chinese New Year celebrations wind up… this according to the Internal Trade Department.The director-general told the media yesterday that prices, especially for pork, chicken and eggs, would be expected to decline now that Chinese New Year is finished.The DG said that red pork prices around the capital are currently 170-180 baht per kilogram, down from a peak of 300 baht per kilo before the festival.

Meanwhile, it’s a different story when it comes to oil prices in Thailand. The current surge is starting to bite into local airline profits, just as the sector starts to pick up again.Particularly the budget carriers have been reluctant to raise fares as passenger sentiment remains flakey when it comes to domestic travel, amid lingering fears over the current Covid situation.Oil prices have risen steadily since the end of last year, from around US$60 a barrel to over $80. And local airlines are warning that, if oil prices hit $100 a barrel, there will be a necessary increase in airfares as the airlines will be unable to absorb the hike.As of last week, international jet fuel prices had surged to $105 a barrel, that’s a 78% increase year-on-year.

It’s the public, especially tourists’, “misunderstanding” of the way taxis fares are charged on the island of Phuket that is the problem.That’s the explanation from Phuket Land Transport Chief Jaturong Kaewkasi. The Phuket Land Transport has responded to last week’s viral video clip when a Thai man posted the altercation with a taxi driver demanding 600 baht for a 10-15 minute ride from Kamala to Patong Beach.The local Land Transport department has also re-released a list of standard set fares to be charged by the island’s taxis and tuk tuks. The Phuket Governor has also chimed in saying the “agreed fees” are fully supported by the Phuket Tourism Association and the TAT.The only thing that hasn’t been mentioned has been the use of taxi meters.Last July’s published taxi fares in Phuket represent a big increase on what passengers routinely pay for trips around Bangkok, for example. The set fares are also 3 – 4 times that calculated by taxi apps like Grab and Bolt who are trying to get a foothold on Thailand’s most popular tourist island.

Former deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is being touted as a candidate to be the next Thai prime minister. He’d be championed by the newly-formed Sang Anakhot Thai Party… which translates as Building Thailand’s Future.Somkid was a co-founder of the progressive Thai Rak Thai party with Thaksin Shinawatra which contested and won three successive elections from 1998.But he switched allegiances in 2014 when he was co-opted to serve as an economic advisor for the NCPO following the army coup. He stepped down from serving under PM Prayut as a deputy PM in 2020 and is now mulling a future with the new conservative party which has been formed from disaffected MPs and will run directly against the ruling Palang Pracharat at the next election.Whilst being widely recognised by Thais, he is yet to be tested as a potential candidate for the the top job.And more woes for the current PM as the coalition’s wafer-thin margin lost one more vote yesterday with the resignation of Gen Vit Thephasdin Na Ayutthaya. He announced yesterday that he is taking up the leadership of the new Setthakij Thai Party.

Police officers have arrested three security guards suspected of killing a resident at a state dormitory of the National Housing Authorities project in Bang Khun Tian, Bangkok. Officer seized weapons and say the suspects confessed to killing the resident, claiming they didn’t mean to, they just wanted to get revenge because the victim was picking fights when he was drunk.The three security guards at the dormitory – two 20 year olds and a 19 year old – allegedly stabbed 34 year old Wanchai Hingsa after an earlier confrontation. The victim was severely injured and later died at a hospital.The three of have been charged with causing harm leading to death and carrying weapons without permission.

Illicit drug production and trafficking in Myanmar has rapidly increased since the February 2021 military coup, when the Burmese army seized power and overthrew the civilian government.In a major report about the region’s drugs supply, a senior official from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says, that over the past year, there has been a spike in narcotics production, particularly methamphetamines, in Myanmar’s Shan State near the Golden Triangle where Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet.The assessment comes amidst circulating reports from authorities in Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar that at least 90 million methamphetamine pills and 4.4 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine were caught in busts last month, and the majority were claimed to have been produced in Shan State’s remote border districts.The UNODC’s regional representative for Southeast Asia, Jeremy Douglas, says methamphetamine production levels were already at extreme levels and there is “no sign it will slow down.”

Covid-19 number – Friday 4th February 2022

9,909 * new cases (188 from abroad)
22 deaths
86,473 in care
7,827 discharged from care

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