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Thailand and Malaysia led the region in terms of government stimulus

Thailand’s government were proportionally the largest in the region, equivalent to 22% of GDP. This was closely followed by Malaysia, which offered support totalling 21% of GDP through its various packages.

Oxford Business Group

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People sit in long lines as they wait to file complaints for not yet receiving the 5,000 Thai baht (150 USD) financial assistance for those whose income is impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, as others (front) file their documents, in front of the Public Relations Department in Bangkok on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Asian countries’ levels of resilience to the pandemic varied in line with their respective levels of economic development.  

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More developed economies with strong health care systems and financial reserves, such as Japan and South Korea, were naturally better prepared to manage the health and economic effects of the crisis.

Others with weaker infrastructure and lower average disposable incomes faced a more challenging proposition.

To take an example, while Myanmar has experienced strong economic growth in recent years – averaging 6.6% annually between 2010 and 2019, according to the IMF – and invested significantly in health care infrastructure, it still lags behind other economies in the region and was therefore vulnerable to any significant outbreak of the virus.

Institutional response

Aside from the medical crisis, governments and other key institutions in Asia responded to the subsequent economic fallout.

While all countries implemented some form of stimulus plan or state support package, these varied in scope and focus.

For example, stimulus measures released by Thailand’s government were proportionally the largest in the region, equivalent to 22% of GDP. This was closely followed by Malaysia, which offered support totalling 21% of GDP through its various packages.

These measures went far beyond most others in the region, with the fiscal stimulus offered by China (5%), Indonesia (4%), Vietnam (4%) and the Philippines (3%) being considerably lower.

Support funds were typically followed by central bank efforts to boost liquidity. Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia all reduced their benchmark rates to record lows throughout 2020, at 0.5%, 1.75%, 2% and 3.75%, respectively.

With some of the industry’s most experienced analysts conducting on-the-ground research throughout the year, OBG provides its global readership with the business intelligence they need to stay ahead.

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Thai fruit exports to FTA markets up 107 percent

China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and Chile are top importers of Thai fruits, especially fresh durian, mangosteen, longan and mango. Thai exporters are able to benefit from FTA privileges.

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s fruit exports continue to increase, despite the sluggish global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with key trade partners being countries that have free trade agreements (FTAs) with the kingdom.

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Economics

50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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