Krungsri Research predicts that Thai GDP will fall by -6.4% in 2020, then grow by 3.3% in 2021, and expects that the MPC will keep interest rates unchanged through next year
At the latest meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on November 18, it was unanimously agreed that interest rates should stay at 0.50% since although 3Q20 recovery was better than expected, this remains weak and different sectors are rebounding at different rates.
Krungsri Research has revised up 2020 GDP forecasts to-6.4% from -10.3% and projected 2021 growth at 3.3% amid opportunity and challenge.
Better-than-expected performance 3Q20
This upward revision reflects the better-than-expected performance 3Q20, which can be attributed to stronger government spending and a rebound in exports. Looking forward, growth in the Thai economy should turn positive in 2Q21 on a combination of the low-base effect, the positive effects of government spending, and recovery in overseas demand.
However, challenges, especially domestic headwinds, will remain, including the recovery in tourism, which is lagging behind other economic growth drivers, the impacts of high unemployment on income and consumer spending, and rising domestic political unrests, which may undermine growth and raise concern over the continuity of economic policy.
However, exports would become the engine of growth in the coming period. Private investment in export-related sectors should recover moderately. In addition, regionalization would provide opportunity to Thai exports and domestic production in the medium term.
Return to pre-pandemic conditions is expected to take two years
Moreover, a return to pre-pandemic conditions is expected to take two years, implying the labor market remains fragile, especially wage income is still low.
This may then weigh on private-sector consumption, especially for low-income groups for whom temporary government support is coming to an end. In addition, the MPC expressed its concerns about the rapid appreciation in the value of the baht and the possible impacts of this on the recovery.
As such, the committee agreed to closely monitor the movement of exchange rates and capital flows, and it is now prepared to issue additional regulations as needed. Thus, the BOT has now announced that it will reduce pressure on the baht by resolving structural problems in the forex market through:
(i) allowing residents to freely deposit funds in Foreign Currency Deposits (FCDs);
(ii) relaxing regulations regarding investment in foreign securities; and (iii) requiring a bond pre-trade registration.
Following the announcement of the BOT’s new regulations, on November 20, the baht weakened to USD 30.33/baht, down slightly from the start of the week, when it touched a 10-month high of USD 30.14/baht. On the same day, despite net foreign selling in Thai bonds worth THB1.29 bn, foreign investors bought Thai stock worth a net THB2.39 bn, following the easing of investors’ fears and the realization that the new measures are aimed to maintain a stabilization in capital flows, not cut off inflows.
Krungsri Research also believes that given the fragility of the recovery, the softness in inflation and the unprecedentedly loose monetary policy pursued by central banks worldwide, the MPC will keep policy interest rates at their historic low through all of 2021, while the recovery to the pre-pandemic level would take time.
Therefore, it will be necessary to provide targeted financial assistance and other measures to help businesses continue their operation and to avoid lack of liquidity.
Weekly Economic Review ประกาศวันที่ :24 November 2020
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.
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.(more…)
Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
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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