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Thailand’s main airport reveals protest contingency plan for protests

Thailand’s main airport, which was besieged by protesters in 2008, said on Wednesday it had made contingency plans for protests this weekend, as ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra rallied supporters by text message. Political unrest and the shutdown of the two airports in Bangkok in late November 2008 severely affected tourism and consumer confidence in Thailand. Real GDP contracted by 2.5 percent in 2009, as the global outlook remains negative and external demand continues to contract. The fiscal stimulus and monetary expansion implemented by the authorities are likely to partially mitigate the impact of the slowdown, allowing growth to resume in the fourth quarter of 2009 assuming a better outlook for the global economy in 2010.

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Thailand’s main airport, which was besieged by protesters in 2008, said on Wednesday it had made contingency plans for protests this weekend, as ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra rallied supporters by text message.

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Airport reveals protest ‘contingency plan’

Significant downside risks remain should political instability resurface in Thailand

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.


Airport reveals protest ‘contingency plan’

The Thai government announced an economic stimulus program totaling 117 billion baht ($3.34 billion). The program included a host of short-term measures to boost household consumption and assist lower-income families. The government is now preparing a second stimulus package worth 1.6 trillion baht ($45 billion). Among other initiatives, this package focuses on public investment in infrastructure projects, which the government hopes will help create 1.6 million jobs. “The infrastructure investments, if implemented, will help generate growth and improve Thailand’s competitiveness,” said World Bank. “However, it is worth noting that financing for infrastructure has been available for the past few years. What has suppressed investment was not funding, but rather political and institutional constraints.” While the impact on the real sector has been larger than expected, the global crisis has not shaken the Thai financial sector. The World Bank attributed this to Thailand’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals; low external debt coupled with high international reserves; and a sound financial sector, which has undergone a series of reforms following the 1997 crisis.

Private consumption in Thailand and investment also grew by more in 2008 than they did in 2007, despite the sharp increase in food and fuel prices. On the other hand, public consumption and investments in real terms have contracted in the first three quarters as a result of slow disbursement rates amidst political instability and slow project completion as raw material prices rose sharply.
Overall economic stability remained sound in Thailand . External stability was upheld by high international reserves, while trade and current account were close to balance. Regarding internal stability, inflation rose from last year in line with higher oil prices, despite a downward trend during the second half of the year. Unemployment rate in Thailand remained low but employment started to deteriorate in the forth quarter, particularly in the production sector affected by economic slowdown.

National

Abuse against women still prevalent in Thailand

Like many other Asian countries, Thailand is a patriarchal society in which women are generally tied to the role of family caretaker which usually means raising children and taking care of the elderly, as well as other household chores like cooking and cleaning.

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In December 1999, the United Nations designated Nov 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to commemorate the murder of the Mirabal sisters, the three Dominican political activists who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in 1960.

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Banking

Thai cabinet approves 350 billion baht Aid for COVID-hit Businesses

Thailand unveiled new measures to help small and medium COVID-hit businesses in the tourism industry hit by a liquidity crunch.

Olivier Languepin

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The Thai cabinet has approved assistance worth 350 billion baht($11 Billion) to help businesses affected by COVID-19 with soft loans and asset warehousing.

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Markets

Thai Mango growers complain of low prices and fewer exports

Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, their mangoes are not being exported, due to fewer buyers, and their prices have plunged to between 10 and 20 baht per kilogram, depending on size.

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Mango orchard owners in Thailand’s northern province of Phitsanuloke are seeking help from the provincial administration to promote the sale of their sweet fruit, particularly Barracuda Mango variety.

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