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Asean

Asean ready to bid to host Fifa World Cup

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) country members are ready to jointly bid to host the Fifa World Cup in the next 13 years, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said at the 15th Asean Summit on Sunday.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) country members are ready to jointly bid to host the Fifa World Cup in the next 13 years, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said at the 15th Asean Summit on Sunday.

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Asean eyeing to host World Cup

Expansionary monetary policy has been employed to help mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis and is starting to be reflected in the financial sector’s lending rates. As inflation rose rapidly in the first half of the year, the central bank of Thailand lowered its policy rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 percent. The decline in inflation facilitated cuts to 2.75 percent in December and 1.5 percent in late February. Market indicators confirm Thailand’s relatively strong financial position. Large foreign exchange reserves, smaller gross financing requirements on both the fiscal and external side, and ample domestic liquidity are among the key strengths in the current crisis. Despite the political turmoil late last year, CDS spreads have risen by about 100 bps less than some other East Asian countries since the onset of the global financial crisis in mid-September.

Thailand’s economic growth is falling by more than earlier expected amid a sharp and continuing decline in global trade.

The contraction would be Thailand’s first since 1998, said Mathew A. Verghis, the World Bank’s Lead Economist in Bangkok. It would follow a decade of growth averaging nearly 5 percent each year.

“Countries like Thailand that have been dependent on manufacturing exports are most affected,” said Verghis, who covers Thailand and four other Southeast Asian countries. The World Bank released its latest forecasts for Thailand and other economies in East Asia and Pacific on Tuesday. The global economic slump shut down what has been, for the past three decades, the main engine for Thailand’s economic growth: exports. As a result, the manufacturing sector has been badly hit. The Thai government estimated that one million or more workers would lose their jobs this year due to the slowdown. In January, the unemployment rate stood at 2.4 percent of the total workforce – a full percentage point higher than the 1.4 percent recorded in December 2008.

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Asean eyeing to host World Cup

So far, the Thai government has enough capacity to finance the first economic stimulus package and the three-year public investment plan. In the face of shrinking revenues, the government estimates its budget deficit to be about 525 billion baht, or 6 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product, in the fiscal year ending September 2009. It is also seeking loans from domestic and external sources to shore up the budget and support planned investment.

However, the World Bank cautioned that, for public debt to remain manageable, budget deficits will need to be reduced over the next few years and growth needs to return its long-term average, highlighting the importance of using the crisis as an opportunity to enhance growth prospects.

Significant downside risks remain to the growth projection should political instability heighten, the global economy decelerate faster than projected, and implementation of the fiscal stimulus is delayed.

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Asean

The Latest on Covid-19 in Southeast Asia

Thailand has largely avoided widespread community transmission of Covid-19, but the kingdom is not faring well on the economic front, with a projected contraction of 7.1 percent this year.

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Coronavirus Asia

As a region, Southeast Asia has fared relatively well in keeping coronavirus cases low, with the notable exceptions of the Philippines and Indonesia.

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Laos

China’s debt-trap diplomacy: Laos’ credit rating downgraded to CCC

Laos’ debt challenge is deeply concerning, with some media commentators suggesting the country is falling into a debt trap as a result of Chinese infrastructure investments connected to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Boris Sullivan

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On 23 September, the Fitch Ratings agency downgraded Laos’ credit rating to CCC — the second downgrade in 2020, having dropped to B- in May.

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Vietnam

Foreign capital still heads to Vietnam

As many as 798 projects added a combined over 5.11 billion USD to their investment capital, down 23 percent year-on-year in project number but up 6.8 percent in value.

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Hanoi (VNA) – The total amount of foreign investment poured into Vietnam this year to September 20 reached 21.2 billion USD, equivalent to 81.8 percent of the same period last year, reported the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

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