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Thailand is a dynamic and diverse country that offers many opportunities and challenges for businesses. Here are some of the latest news and trends that affect the Thai economy and society today.
Poll victors to get policy wish list
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) plans to submit a “position paper” detailing the economic policies preferred by businesses to a new government. The FTI hopes that the Move Forward Party (MFP), which won the general election on May 14, will implement policies that can boost the competitiveness and productivity of the industrial sector, such as tax incentives, infrastructure development, human resource development and digital transformation.
The FTI also expects the new government to address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as vaccine procurement and distribution, economic recovery and social assistance.
Fruit prices hike on Chinese demand
Fruit prices have been consistently rising, driven by increasing demand from the Chinese market, improving transport services and falling shipping costs. According to the Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE), the export value of Thai fruits in 2022 reached 180 billion baht, up 15% from 2021.
The OAE forecasts that the export value of Thai fruits will continue to grow in 2023, especially for durian, longan, mangosteen and coconut. The OAE also plans to promote other fruits such as pineapple, banana and mango to expand the market share in China and other countries.
Operators express hope post-election
Chiang Mai and Phuket tourism operators hope that the new government led by the MFP can solve the PM2.5 dust crisis and revive the tourism industry. The operators say that the dust problem has affected the health and well-being of tourists and locals alike, and has discouraged visitors from travelling to northern Thailand.
The operators also urge the new government to implement measures to stimulate domestic and international tourism, such as reducing taxes and fees, providing subsidies and vouchers, easing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, and promoting new destinations and attractions.
Move Forward party seeks coalition partners
The Move Forward party, which won the most seats in the lower house in this week’s election, is looking for potential coalition partners to form a government. The party has a progressive agenda that includes amending the royal insult law, known as article 112 of the criminal code, and undoing business monopolies. However, it said that other parties do not have to support its stance on lese-majeste, which prescribes up to 15 years of jail for perceived offences against the monarchy. The party also said it would re-criminalise cannabis before deploying a legal framework allowing for medical and regulated recreational use. A coalition agreement is expected to be announced on Monday.
Baht depreciates in line with region
The baht opened this morning’s market at 34.48 baht / dollar, depreciating from the close of yesterday’s market at 34.35 baht / dollar. The Thai currency moved in line with other regional currencies, as investors held the dollar amid rising bond yields and expectations of a Fed rate hike. The baht is expected to move today at 34.30 – 34.55 baht / dollar.
Aviation business recovers from COVID-19
The aviation business in Thailand is showing signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as Chinese tourists flock to the country for the summer season. According to AEROTHAI, a state-owned enterprise that provides air traffic services, there were 12,805 flights from China to Thailand in the first seven months of this year, and this number is expected to surpass 46,175 flights by the end of the year. However, this is still about 66% lower than the pre-pandemic level in 2019. AEROTHAI said it is preparing to increase the efficiency of air traffic services to cope with the post-COVID demand.
COVID-19 situation remains under control
Thailand has managed to keep the COVID-19 situation under control, with a total of 1,234 confirmed cases and 12 deaths as of today. The Department of Science said it is monitoring a new variant of the virus, called FU.1, which is a descendant of XBB.1.16 and has been detected in some countries. The variant is said to spread faster than other strains, but there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or death. The Department of Disease Control said it is also keeping an eye on the infection rate among children, as schools have reopened and there is a risk of children transmitting the virus to their elderly relatives at home.