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40% of Thai farmers live under poverty line

The debt burden of the sector is another key challenge, with 30% of farming households having debt of above the average annual farming income per person

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Some 40% of farming households are living below the poverty line, set at 32,000 baht a year, with the sector’s low income and higher debt a drag on the country’s economic growth, says the Bank of Thailand’s Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research’s (Pier) in a survey.

Farm income averaged 57,032 baht per household in 2017, below the government’s target of 60,000 baht by 2021, said Witsanu Attavanich, economics professor at Kasetsart University. Pier collaborated with the university’s economics department to conduct the survey on the agricultural industry from 2003-13.

“Some 40% of farming households surveyed earned an annual income below the country’s poverty line of 32,000 baht. Each farming household had 2.7 members on average,”

Witsanu Attavanich, economics professor at Kasetsart University

The debt burden of the sector is another key challenge, with 30% of farming households having debt of above the average annual farming income per person, 10% with debt of higher than three times, and 50% having debt below 0.6 times.

Prof Witsanu said the ageing farm population is also a hurdle for the sector, as agricultural labour aged 40-60 increased significantly from 39% of the workforce in 2003 to 49% in 2013, while younger farmers aged 15-40 declined from 48% to 32% over the same period. Survey finds 40% of farmers live under poverty line | Bangkok Post: news

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Economics

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance expects 3.5 to 4.5% economic growth in 2022

For next year, the Ministry of Finance is projecting an economic growth of 3.5-4.5% from effective pandemic control measures, incentives, domestic spending, the export sector, private investment support, global economic recovery, and government expenditures.

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The Minister of Finance says Thailand’s economy this year would see only a 1.1-1.2% growth

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Ministry of Finance is now projecting an economic rebound to 4.5% growth next year, with government investments serving as key drivers. The Minister of Finance says the government will focus more on inclusive growth next year, with no sectors left behind.

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Ecommerce

Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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