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Big moves for Thai Banking in FinTech

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Regulators including the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) along with commercial and state banks are all making big moves to supports crowdfunding, start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) this year in bid to encourage new investments and businesses in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, Somkid Jatusripitak, has dubbed 2016 as Thailand’s “Investment Year” and the government has rolled out many measures including tax incentives and the Board of Investment’s privileges in the past six months while both regulators and banks seemed to be in full support of the idea which can only spelled good news for the Kingdom’s startup industry.

The BOT, SEC and the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) are currently preparing for the latest financial technology (FinTech) trend by setting new channels and amending laws to provide more access for new players to enter the industry.

One of BOT’s youngest ever central bank governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob, said last month (January 28) that advancement in technology will change the country’s financial landscape where new players within the FinTech’s world will have more playing role in reshaping it.

“The BOT has given importance to these new FinTech players that are coming in as bank or non-bank and these are new challenges that the central bank has to follow up and we already have setup a team study about it,” he said.

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Techsauce is the partnership of two titans in the Thai technology startup industry between Thumbsup, the leading technology media in Thailand and HUBBA, the biggest coworking space network in Thailand.

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Ecommerce

How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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