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Banks viruscrisis

Started by thaiga, April 28, 2020, 02:21:50 PM

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SET slides as new Covid-19 cases continue rising in US
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index dropped 15.31 points or 1.12 per cent closing at 1,350.50 today (July 10). Transactions, meanwhile, totalled at Bt64.196 billion with an index high of 1,363.28 and a low of 1,346.72.

During the morning session, a Krungsri Securities' stock analyst said he expected the index to fall between 1,355 and 1,360 before rebounding due to uncertainty over the impact Covid-19 is having on economic recovery as the number of new cases is continuing to rise.

"In the US alone, there are more than 61,000 new Covid-19 cases daily, which has forced some states to impose lockdown measures again," the analyst said.

"Plus, the SET Index is under pressure from the drop in the price of crude oil and the resignation of four Palang Pracharat Party executives."

However, the analyst reckoned that the index would rebound from speculation in stocks of companies whose second-quarter performance will benefit from the weakening baht.

The top 10 stocks with the highest trade value today were STGT, AOT, CPALL, PTT, KCE, PTL, STA, PTTEP, EA and PRM.

As of 4.45pm, the price of crude oil dropped by US$0.94 or 2.37 per cent to $38.68 per barrel, while the price of gold rose by $9.10 or 0.50 per cent, to $1,812.90 per ounce.

Other indices in Asia were also on the slide:

Japan's Nikkei Index closed at 22,290.81, down 238.48 points, or 1.06 per cent.

China's Shanghai SE Composite Index closed at 3,383.32, down 67.27 points, or 1.95 per cent, while Shenzhen SE Component Index closed at 13,671.24, down 83.50 points, or 0.61 per cent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 25,727.41, down 482.75 points, or 1.84 per cent.

South Korea's KOSPI Index closed at 2,150.25, down 17.65 points, or 0.81 per cent.

Taiwan's TAIEX Index closed at 12,073.68, down 119.01 points, or 0.98 per cent.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


'NPLs the biggest challenge for banks' as Covid-19 crisis could drag into 2021
The Thai economy stares at an uncertain future because the Covid-19 outbreak is likely to prolong until the first half of 2021, Krungthai Bank (KTB) said.

KTB president Payong Srivanich said during the bank shareholders' meeting that commercial banks must beware of this factor, as it may cause non-performing loans (NPLs) to increase, adding that commercial banks must set up debt reserves to maintain stability in the long term.

"The bank will evaluate the situation periodically by focusing on preventing risks to maintain stability in the long term and adjust the loan portfolio to cope with risks," he said. "In 2019, the bank had adjusted the direction by focusing on maintaining loan growth and reducing NPLs."

He said the bank must set up more debt reserves from the second quarter of this year onwards to prevent risks and uncertainties due to the economic slowdown and coronavirus outbreak. He added that the bank had set up 100 per cent debt reserve to cope with risks from granting loans to Thai Airways International (THAI), which will be added in the second-quarter performance report.

"Risks from granting loans to THAI will cause less impact on the bank because we granted short-term loans to be used as circulating funds," he said. "We believe that THAI's rehabilitation plan will be approved by the court, while we will cooperate with creditors and debtors closely to maintain the bank's benefits."

He said the bank was waiting for the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to issue guidelines for the second phase of measures to help debtors, adding that the guidelines would help commercial banks to assist debtors in the same way.

"The bank will take care of customers as much as possible, such as postponing the debt payment, restructuring the debt," he said. "BOT and the Thai Bankers Association will discuss this issue closely."

He added that the meeting haD approved the allocation of net profits of 2019 for interim dividend payment.

"The bank's net profit in 2019 was Bt26.325 billion of which Bt4.99 million was dividend for preferred shares, Bt10.523 billion was dividend for common shares, and Bt15.796 was remaining profits to be paid in the next period. Preferred shareholders will receive a dividend of Bt0.9075 per share, while common shareholders will receive a dividend of Bt0.753 per share," he said. "We do not have to allocate net profits in 2019 as reserve funds because the bank has already allocated it."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Bank deposits swell as investors avoid risk assets in uncertain times

Despite lower interest rates this year, bank deposits have risen sharply as investors have stayed away from investment in risk assets.

Banks' deposits as the end of May shot up by 8.76 per cent to Bt 14.63 trillion, an increase of Bt1.18 trillion from the end of last year.

Liquidity has flooded the banking system as investors delay investment in risk assets and put their money into bank accounts instead, Adisorn Sermchaiwong, president and chief executive officer at CIMB Thai, said.

He said CIMB bank's deposits rose to Bt216 billion at the end of May, up from 199 billion at the end of last year.

"Despite lower interest rates, banks have excess liquidity, as people do not know where to invest. Money is expected to continue flowing into banks but in smaller amounts," he said.

Some may start to invest in corporate bonds, as the spread of Covid-19 has been contained in Thailand, he added.

Thaweelap Rittapirom, executive vice president at Bangkok Bank (BBL), said investors were cautious about making new investments so they had parked their money in banks. Banks' deposits are expected to remain high until the end of this year, he said.

BBL had deposits of Bt2.5 trillion at the end of May, up from Bt2.3 trillion at the end of last year.

He said that rising deposits did not increase the cost for banks, as bankers could find ways to manage the increasing liquidity.

Karnchana Chokpaisarnsil, director at Kasikorn Research Centre, said banks had cut their interest rates in response to the cut in the key policy rate by the Bank of Thailand, which has lowered its policy rate to 0.50 per cent.

She pointed out that deposits in March rose by Bt750 billion, by Bt238 billion in April and by Bt55 billion in May.

Deposits rose 12 per cent year on year in the first half of the year and are projected to rise 9-12 per cent for the whole year, up by Bt1.4 trillion to total Bt14.6 trillion, the largest deposit pool in nine years.

Naris Sathapholdeja, head of TMB Analytics, said the increase in deposits was at the expense of mutual fund management businesses. Assets under management (AUM) of the mutual fund industry dropped by about 10 per cent from the end of last year. AUM at the end of May was worth Bt4.81 trillion, down from Bt5.38 trillion at the end of last year.

In March, AUM of mutual funds decreased by 15.3 per cent as investors were wary of risk assets.

"The flow into bank deposits partly came from investment funds, driving bank deposits up to Bt14.6 trillion in the first five months of the year, up 13.59 per cent year on year, or 8.76 per cent up from the end of last year," he said.

Among the five largest banks, Krungthai Bank's deposits rose by 10.75 per cent, Kasikornbank's by 10.16 per cent, BBL's by 8.95 per cent, Krungsri's by 6.27 per cent and Siam Commercial Bank's by 3.82 per cent year on year in the first five months of this year. Bank deposits have risen two times faster than lending, he added.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Virus-hit Singapore plunges into recession as economy shrinks 41%
(AFP) – Singapore plunged into recession in the second quarter as growth fell 41.2 percent quarter-on-quarter with the trade-dependent economy hammered by the coronavirus, preliminary data showed Tuesday.

Year-on-year, the economy shrank 12.6 percent between April and June, according to the data from the trade ministry, as strict curbs were imposed to fight the virus.

It marks the second consecutive quarter of contraction, meaning that the city state — which has one of the world's most open economies — has entered a recession for the first time in more than a decade.

The massive second-quarter drop in GDP was due to "measures that were implemented from 7 April to 1 June to slow the spread of COVID-19, which included the suspension of non-essential services and closure of most workplace premises," the ministry said in a statement.

It also attributed to the contraction to "weak external demand amidst a global economic downturn".

Tiny Singapore, viewed as a barometer for the health of global trade, is highly sensitive to external shocks, and the gloomy figures are another ominous sign for the global economy.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Bangkok property market takes Bt150bn hit 'with worse to come'
The virus crisis has wiped a whopping Bt150 billion off the value of the residential market in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, Krungthai Bank research revealed today.

Meanwhile, the reservation rate for new apartments and houses fell from 20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 before falling again in the second quarter to 12 per cent.

Phacharaphot Nuntramas, director of the bank's Compass research centre, said the property business has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, with demand for new residences still falling.

Domestic consumers have been affected by an economy expected to shrink by up to 8.8 per cent this year, while foreigners – especially the Chinese – were hit by lockdown measures that hindered purchase or transfer of ownership, he added.

The research centre estimates the value of the residence market in Bangkok and nearby provinces has dropped by 27 per cent from Bt570 billion to Bt420 billion.

The director said that businesses may have to suspend construction of new projects until the economy recovers.

"Unsold stock could expand by 5 per cent this year to reach 185,000 units, although developers have cut new projects by 40 per cent compared to the last year," he added.

He estimates the residential market will take four or five years to return to levels seen before the virus outbreak.

Phacharaphot also expressed concern over the trend of non-performing loans in the property and business sectors, saying it needed to be monitored

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Bank shares take hit as Q2 results revealed
The value of bank shares dropped today as financial institutions began releasing second-quarter results that were worse than expected.

As of July 20, the share value of Thailand's top five banks with market capitalisation over Bt100 billion – namely Kasikorn Bank (KBank), Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Bangkok Bank (BBL), Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) and Krungthai Bank (KTB) – fell by 3.60 per cent, 3.37 per cent, 2.74 per cent, 1.85 per cent, and 0.95 per cent, respectively.

The first two banks to release second-quarter results were Tisco Financial Group (Tisco) and KBank.

Tisco's second-quarter net profit was Bt1.33 billion, down 26 per cent year on year. The figure was 15 per cent lower than market expectation due to a net interest margin (NIM) that dropped to 4.32 per cent from 4.6 per cent in the previous quarter after the bank cut interest to help debtors.

Tisco's non-performing loans (NPLs) rose from 2.56 per cent in Q1 to 3.28 per cent due to the economic slowdown. The bank revealed that only 10 per cent of debtors opted to postpone their debt repayments.

Meanwhile, KBank's second-quarter net profit was Bt2.17 billion, down 78 per cent from the same period last year of Bt9.92 billion, while net profit in the first half of this year was Bt9.55 billion, down 52 per cent from last year's Bt19.9 billion. The bank's NPLs at the end of June this year rose to 3.92 per cent from 3.65 per cent at the end of 2019.

An analyst at Kasikorn Research Centre (KResearch) said that with debt repayments hit by the economic slowdown, the proportion of NPLs to total loans is expected to increase from 3.05 per cent in the first quarter to 3.4 per cent in the second quarter.

"Meanwhile, credit costs to total loans will rise to 1.65-1.9 per cent from 1.46 per cent in the previous quarter due to increasing credit risks," the analyst said. "Every 0.1-per-cent rise credit cost will reduce banks' net profit by about Bt3.3 billion to Bt4 billion."

The analyst said that banks will plan their business strategy based on an economy hit hard this year, and it may take years for issues like debt quality to return to normal.

"Although the economy is likely to improve next year, NPLs are also likely to increase in the next one or two years, causing several banks to set up more allowance for doubtful accounts," the analyst said.

"We expect banks' second-quarter net profit to drop by 42-52.2 per cent to Bt26.8 billion-Bt32.5 billion due to the decline in NIM [net interest margin] which we expect will drop to 2.2-2.5 per cent from 3 per cent in the first quarter.

Nuttachart Mekmasin, a research analyst at Trinity Securities, said the decline in bank profits showed that the Bank of Thailand (BOT)'s measure to postpone debt repayments cannot reduce NPLs because the quality of debtors who did not participate in the project has dropped sharply, adding that this factor would cause banks to pay low dividends.

"The consensus is that the banks will pay the same dividends as last year," he said. "However, investors may be disappointed because under the pressure of the current situation banks may not be able to match last year's dividends, while disappointment among investors may cause the price of bank shares to drop."

He said the share prices would, however, not drop sharply because they were lower than the book value, adding that bank share prices are expected to fluctuate in a narrow range.

"We advise investors to avoid investing in this group because the dividend is likely to drop over 3 per cent," he added.

An analyst at Asia Plus Securities expected the NPLs to increase from 2.4 per cent at the end of 2019 to 4.7 per cent at year-end 2020, adding that the increase may spark negative sentiment for bank shares in the short term.

"Therefore, we advise investors to delay investment in bank shares until they announce the second-quarter performance," the analyst said. "Also, we advise following announcements on banks' NPLs, loan classification, credit losses, and the number of debtors participating in the loan payment holiday measure."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Recovering Thailand doesn't need IMF bailout: Veerathai
Thailand has no need to ask for help from the International Monetary Fund despite Covid-19 causing a sharp economic contraction, capital outflows and deterioration in the labour market, says the central bank's chief.

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob acknowledged on Monday (July 20) it would take time for the economy to recover to pre-pandemic levels. But he vowed to extend this year's Bt500-billion soft loans package into next year to fuel the recovery.

Veerathai was speaking at the central bank's symposium on how local businesses can survive in the post-Covid-19 era.

The pandemic has hit economies around the world hard, prompting over 100 countries to ask for IMF rescue packages. But Thailand would not be one of them, said the BOT chief.

"For people raising concerns over whether we will have to ask for IMF help, the answer is that we do not need it, despite 102 members already requesting IMF aid," said Veerathai.

The Thai economy is expected to fall further than many in the region this year, with worse to come in the second quarter before it gradually recovers, he said, forecasting the economy could return to pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of next year.

He said that no single policy could handle the current crisis effectively, and the government needs to coordinate many policies and measures.

For its monetary policy, the central bank has this year cut its key policy rate three times to a historic low of 0.5 per cent.

Capital has flowed out of the country but not at an alarming rate, given that Thailand is still running a small current account surplus. So the country could maintain a low interest rate, he said. However, local financial markets are also flooded with liquidity, which together with excess liquidity in the global market could cause the baht exchange rate to fluctuate greatly, he cautioned.

"The central bank's biggest concern is employment, because the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the labour market in both the services and manufacturing sectors, where large numbers of workers were laid off," he said. Even if the pandemic situation improves, many workers may not be able return to work, he warned.

He pointed out that current overcapacity and many factories had also installed robots to replace workers.

As a result, new graduates will find it more difficult to get jobs over the next two years.

"The challenge during this two-year period of how to ensure new graduates aren't scarred is a cause for concern," he warned.

He was optimistic, however, that bad debt in the banking system will not lead to a repeat of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

"The impact of Covid-19 will definitely see non-performing loans [NPLs] rise, but as we have implemented preemptive measures, NPLs will not spike," he said.

Debt restructuring  will allow everyone to survive and avoid the prospect of a 1997 financial crisis scenario, he said.

Regarding its soft loan package, the central bank will extend the deadline for applications from the end of this year to the end of 2021, he said.

Moreover, the central bank is in talks with the Thai Credit Guarantee Corp(TCG) over credit insurance after the two-year soft loan package ends, Veerathai added.

The central bank predicts the Thai economy will contract 8.1 per cent this year as exports and tourism are hard hit by the virus crisis. It forecasts the economy will now gradually start to recover as lockdown restrictions have been eased.

Meanwhile, Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, predicted a rise in the number of poor along with a deterioration of the government's fiscal position in the next five or six years.

The virus impact will see more people working from home. For businesses to survive, they have to cut costs, diversify risk and connect with networks. Holding cash will be the best option, he suggested.

Strong businesses may have an opportunity to acquire small regional businesses at cheaper prices. New businesses may emerge, as did e-commerce giant Alibaba when SARS hit China last decade, he added.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Banks tighten loan conditions as virus crisis deepens

Commercial banks are tightening their loan conditions as Covid-19 continues to take a severe toll on the economy.

Kiatnakin Bank said it is focusing more on customers' capacity to make repayments, and was getting stricter in issuing all kinds of loans, particularly small ones.

The bank's president Philip Chen Chong Tan said down payment for a car loan had been increased from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, adding that stricter screening of customers' information and income was in place.

Kiatnakin Bank has also cut availability of loans for freelancers, though issuing criteria remain the same for salaried workers.

Likewise, the Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) is being more careful in issuing loans to both old and new customers. Old customers faced new limits on extending their credit line while new customers would find it harder to obtain loans, said Thakorn Piyapan, head of Krungsri Consumer.

Krungsri Consumer is also considering raising the salary threshold for loan applicants to Bt20,000 per month. Currently, customers need to earn at least Bt12,00 per month to obtain a personal loan and Bt15,000 to receive a credit card.

However, due to numerous conditions it would not be easy to change the criteria, he said.

At Siam Commercial Bank, president Apiphan Charoenanusorn said it had become more cautious about issuing loans to customers without collateral.

She added that fewer applicants were managing to obtain loans, since their incomes had dropped amid the crisis while the bank's criteria remained unchanged.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Bank stocks slide at concern over bad debt, weak performance
Bank stocks have dropped an average 6.2 per cent over the past week as the virus crisis grips Thailand's financial sector, experts reported today.

Meanwhile the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) fell by 4.1 per cent from 1359.65 to a low of 1,303.25 before rebounding to 1,328.53 at the close on Friday (July 31).

Pasakorn Wangvivatchareon, a research assistant at Asia Plus Securities, said the fall in banking shares was due to banks' weak second-quarter performance, allowance for doubtful debts, and lack of positive sentiment.

"Banks' asset quality is likely to deteriorate further after the Bank of Thailand [BOT]'s debt payment holiday expires, while market volatility and the BOT's move to hold off payment of banks' interim dividends would also pressure the share price," he said.

However, he said banking stocks would not drop sharply because banks' price-to-book value was already at a low of 0.4.

"Signs of economic recovery will lift the price of bank shares," he said. "However, we still weigh investment in banks lower than the market due to various uncertainties."

Meanwhile, a Tisco Securities stock analyst advised investors to monitor banks' move to set up allowances for doubtful debts as this would affect their performance in the second half of this year.

"Banks that have set up allowances in advance are Bangkok Bank (BBL) and Kasikorn Bank [KBank], while those gradually setting up allowances are Siam Commercial Bank [SCB] and TMB Bank," the analyst explained.

Most banks expected up to 40 per cent non-performing loans (NPL), the analyst said.

Small and medium enterprises under BOT relief measures accounted for about 40 per cent of total loans.

"We expect NPLs to reach the maximum by the second half of 2021," the analyst added.

KBank's board of directors recently approved the sale of 23.932 million stocks it bought back earlier this year at Bt134 apiece, paying Bt3.207 billion. The bank looks set to lose about 38 per cent on that deal, given its July 30 share price of Bt82.50, when it offers the shares from August 31 to September 16.

"If we cannot sell stocks, the bank's capital funds are still sufficient to continue business," Chongrak Rattanapian, KBank senior executive vice president, said. "At present, the bank's capital funds at the end of June this year were 18.09 per cent of which 15.38 per cent was tier 1 capital. The bank's loans to deposit ratio [LDR] was 92.15 per cent."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Falling economy has bottomed out, says BOT
The falling economy has bottomed out, but unemployment remains a serious concern, said the Bank of Thailand (BOT) today.

Don Nakornthab, a BOT senior director, said five economic engines – consumption, private investment, exports, imports, and manufacturing – showed signs of improvement in June although all remained in negative growth territory.   full article  nationthailand.com

Thai economy improved in June: Central bank

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) reports that the economy improved in June due to gradual relaxation of lockdown measures that aided resumption of economic activities. As a result, goods exports (excluding gold), private consumption and private investment indicators, and manufacturing production contracted at a lower rate than in May, said the BOT's latest report on Economic and Monetary Conditions.

Headline inflation remained negative but edged up due to a rise in domestic retail petroleum prices.

Core inflation was slightly negative, consistent with weak domestic demand. The labour market remained vulnerable as jobless claims rose.

The current account was balanced.

Meanwhile, public spending expanded both in current and capital expenditures.

However, the tourism sector continued to contract substantially as foreign tourist arrivals stayed at zero for the third consecutive month due to Thailand's inbound travel restrictions.

Overall economic stability remained vulnerable, according to the central bank.

The capital and financial accounts posted a surplus in both the asset position – owing to the net sell in debt securities and the withdrawal of deposits abroad by Thai investors – and the liability position, owing to the net buy in debt securities by foreign investors.

The value of goods exports fell by 24.6 per cent in June from the same period last year, slightly higher than the previous month. Excluding gold, however, the rate of contraction fell sharply to 18.4 per cent from 29.0 per cent last month. This was due to improvement in exports in almost all categories. Nevertheless, export values still shrank at a high rate, especially automotive and parts, machinery and equipment, and petroleum-related products, reflecting weakening income of trading partners.

Private consumption indicators contracted at a lower rate compared with the previous month fuelled by consumer spending coupled with government relief measures. However, private consumption indicators still fell sharply in line with weak household income and low consumer confidence. Manufacturing production contracted at a lower rate in almost all industries, consistent with the improvement of exports and private consumption.

Meanwhile, private investment indicators contracted substantially but at a slower pace than the previous month due to higher investment in machinery and equipment from domestic machinery sales, newly registered vehicles, and imports of capital goods. Meanwhile, construction investment contracted at a higher rate on reduced construction material sales.

The value of merchandise imports contracted by 18.2 per cent from the same period last year, improved from the previous month in all major categories including consumer goods, raw materials and intermediate goods, and capital goods. This was partly due to a low base effect last year.

Public spending, excluding transfers, expanded from the same period last year in both current and capital expenditures. Current expenditure rose slightly from purchases of goods and services. Capital expenditure expanded sharply due mainly to disbursement of government budget for road maintenance. However, state enterprises' capital expenditure contracted.

The BOT reported that overall economic activity in the second quarter of 2020 substantially contracted as a result of economic disruption from Covid-19 containment measures in Thailand and abroad. External demand contracted sharply in the tourism sector and exports. Consequently, domestic economic activities were affected especially private consumption and private investment indicators as well as manufacturing production. However, public spending expanded and played an important role in supporting the Thai economy.

On the stability front, headline inflation was negative mainly from a decline in energy prices, while core inflation was slightly positive. The current account posted a small deficit compared with a large surplus in the previous quarter, attributed to a drop in tourism receipts and seasonal remittance of profits and dividends by foreign businesses operating in Thailand. The capital and financial accounts registered a surplus from the asset and the liability positions.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Pandemic gives impetus to online banking

Commercial bank have said that the Covid-19 outbreak will make more customers opt for online services.

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) saw 900,000 customers opt for online banking, while the number of online accounts jumped by 83 per cent, with the number of online customers expected to reach 13 million by the year-end.

Krungsri revealed that its app usage had jumped 41 per cent, while account opening had surged 410 per cent, showing all banks encountering additional challenges and faced with the need to accelerate the promotion of mobile-production to attract customers online.

SCB president Arak Sutivong said that in the past 2-3 years, the bank had seen a shift in customers who have increasingly migrated to digital channels, especially with financial transactions via mobile banking while the advent of a new species of coronavirus, or Covid-19, has become a catalyst for faster change in consumer behaviour.

He expected more focus on mobile banking when the Covid-19 pandemic is fully contained. The SCB Easy App downloads is expected to increase to 13 million from 11.3 million users in the first half of the year, accounting for about 70 per cent of the total 16 million SCB customers.

This year, the bank has 898,000 new customers with a 71 per cent active user ratio. In addition, online account opening has grown by over 83 per cent. Digital loan applications via digital lending SCB Easy also increased with an increase of approximately 41 per cent.

Meanwhile, Rottapron Ekabutr, senior executive of Krungsri Bank, said that the number of transactions via the bank's mobile banking channel KMA saw a big leap after the Covid-19 crisis. The number of KMA users has increased by 35 per cent and the number of active accounts or continuous transactions increased by 50 per cent compared to the same period last year.

PromptPay transactions via KMA showed a 200 per cent growth over the previous year. Likewise, the amount of online savings accounts opened throughNational Digital ID authentication and Krungsri i-Confirm service has seen high growth. The number of accounts opened has seen a 410 per cent growth compared to the first quarter of the year, while the total amount of financial transactions in the second quarter was 740 million items with a total value of over Bt302 billion.

"When looking at past financial transactions, both money transfers, PromptPay, and non-ATM money withdrawals the Covid-19 crisis is the accelerator that makes every transaction grow online. For example, money transfers grew by 80 per cent, payments for administrative goods grew by 21 per cent, additional top-ups 24 per cent and cardless ATM up to 2.7 million times, or an increase of approximately 37 per cent from the same period last year," said Rottapron.

However, he believes that these changes in consumer behaviour will accelerate Thailand's progress to a cashless society. Therefore, it is a challenge for all banks to accelerate and develop mobile apps to suit the new lifestyle along with system security. The banks must accelerate the development of the business model to be able to present new products and services that meet the needs of customers, he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand's Economic Index Falls - Household Debt Rises
(NNT) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment rate, debt and other financial burdens have been affecting the economy and Thailand's cost of living. The country's economic index has also decreased.

It's predicted that the economic index for the next three months will decrease from 37.4 to 36.8. Meanwhile, Thai families are increasingly concerned with all aspects of changes, especially the costs of products and services after food and energy capital costs were raised. Another factor that might play a major part in the economic conditions is the possibility of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kasikorn Research Center has predicted that Thailand's economic situation and cost of living for the rest of this year is slowly regenerating but is still fragile, even though the Bank of Thailand and the government have been launching financial support of various types.

The main reasons are the low employment rate and global economic woes.

However, the survey found that if there is a second wave of the pandemic, the majority of Thai citizens still want the government to lockdown only places affected by the outbreak.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Government Savings Bank to offer loans with motorcycles as collateral
Government Savings Bank (GSB), the country's biggest state-owned lender, will start accepting vehicles as collateral for the first time in its 107-year history, as more individuals seek small-ticket loans amid the nation's worst economic crisis on record.

GSB is moving into an market pioneered by Muangthai Capital Plc and Srisawad Corp Plc, which tapped into an under-served base of customers, mostly in rural areas, who need quick cash and have motorcycles or pickup trucks as their most-liquid asset. Muangthai's average loan is 15,000 baht.

GSB will establish a joint venture in early 2021, with the partnership helping bypass potential bureaucracy of being a state enterprise, said President Vitai Ratanakorn. The bank will still be able to tap into its 1,000 branches and 21 million customers, he said, without identifying any potential partners.

"This is an attractive lending business with a wide interest-rate margin," Mr Vitai said in an interview at his office in Bangkok. GSB's ventures will offer loans at rates as much as 10% cheaper than other firms to attract new borrowers, he said.

GSB's new venture will also offer some unsecured low-rate loans, as part of the government's mandate to tackle income inequality, he said.

Krungthai Card Plc, the nation's biggest credit-card company, also recently started offering consumer loans with motorcycles and automobiles as collateral.

"The microfinance market is vast," said Kittima Sattayapan, an analyst at SCB Securities. Even if GSB cuts rates, "we see only a small chance" that current lending leaders will be disrupted, she said.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand's gauge of full-service banks has dropped 40% the past year, compared with declines of 6.9% for Muangthai Capital and 14% of Srisawad.

Muangthai Capital Chairman Chuchat Petaumpai told an investors meeting on Thursday that he expected more competition because of his company's success. Net income in the first half of this year jumped 24% to 2.5 billion baht, with the average lending rate at 22%, according to a company presentation.

Muangthai has about 4,500 branches and the stake of Mr Chuchat's family is worth about $2.4 billion (75 billion baht), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

GSB is owned by the Finance Ministry. It has assets of about 2.8 trillion baht, according to its website. Mr Vitai rejoined the GSB as president in July, after spending the previous two years as secretary-general of the Government Pension Fund.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand edges nearer sustainable debt limit with Bt48bn ADB loan
Despite public debt approaching its limit of sustainability, the Finance Ministry denies the country is on the brink of bankruptcy and will take a further Bt48 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank late this month

Local media are speculating that the government is facing financial collapse following a Cabinet-approved Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) plan to borrow more Bt214 billion to finance a potentially larger budget deficit than expected.

Patricia Mongkhonvanit, director general at the PDMO, said on Thursday (August 20) that government has adequate treasury reserves but admitted it needs to borrow more in case revenue falls further than estimated.

The national budget passed for fiscal year 2020 totals Bt3.2 trillion. To plug the gap left by a projected shortfall in revenue, the government originally planned to borrow Bt469 billion. However, the budget bill allows the government to borrow as much as Bt680 billion to cover the deficit, meaning another Bt214 billion can be  borrowed, Patricia noted.

If the government borrows the full Bt680 billion, public debt will rise to 52.4 per cent of GDP, up from the current 45.83 per cent, she said.

Public debt is expected to rise further to 57.8 per cent of GDP in the 2021 fiscal year (October 2020 to September 2021). The Finance Ministry has set the sustainable public debt limit at 60 per cent of GDP .

"It is too early to say whether we'll need to raise the limit beyond 60 per cent of GDP because [sustainability of] debt levels depend on changing economic conditions," she said.

By global standards, Thailand's public debt is still relatively manageable, given debt in some countries is above 100 per cent of GDP.

Economists have been urging the Thai government to spend more to boost the economy and help workers and small businesses suffering the impact of Covid-19.

However, Thai public debt is under strong pressure from the sharp economic contraction and high cost of dealing with coronavirus fallout.

The government also plans to borrow Bt1 trillion under the Covid-19 recovery emergency decree. Part of that total is $1.5 billion (Bt48 billion) from the Asian Development Bank, the contract for which will be signed by the Finance Ministry in late August or early September, said the PDMO chief.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Tourism crash holds back recovery
Worst is probably over, but confidence remains weak across the entire economic spectrum.

The Thai economy is set for a challenging recovery, as the disruption to exports proves a drag on headline growth. In the second quarter, real GDP growth contracted by 12.2%, from a revised contraction of 1.9% in the first quarter, resulting in a 7.1% drop in first-half GDP.

Lockdown measures in force throughout most of the second quarter to contain the spread of Covid-19 proved a major drag on domestic activity, while border restrictions and lockdowns in other countries proved a major shock to the tourism and export sectors. Over the coming quarters, we see domestic activity recovering gradually as authorities relax confinement rules and stimulus measures feed through.

However, with mass tourism unlikely to resume until 2021 at the earliest, the external sector will continue to prove a major drag on the overall economy. Indeed, job losses and falling income in the travel and tourism sectors will cap the pace of the domestic rebound and as such, we still see the economy struggling to regain its footing in 2021.

As such, we now forecast real GDP growth of -6.6% this year and 3.7% in 2021, compared with earlier forecasts of -5.4% and 4.1%.

We believe the second quarter will mark the worst of the economic shock to Thailand as lockdown measures are eased both domestically and externally, supporting a recovery in global activity that will also be aided by an unprecedented amount of economic stimulus.

The export sector in the second quarter saw a 28.3% year-on-year contraction, outpacing the decline in imports of 23.3%. Service exports in particular suffered due to the halt to tourist arrivals, contracting by 70.4%. This ultimately weighed on the service sector more broadly, with areas such as retail, transport and accommodation posting output declines of 9.8%, 38.9% and 50.2%, respectively.

The confinement measures in the second quarter also curbed domestic activity, with private consumption shrinking 6.6% and gross fixed capital formation 8% year-on-year. The only upside came via government consumption, which grew 1.4% as fiscal stimulus measures were rolled out.

The easing of lockdown measures and authorities' relative success at containing the outbreak should help bring about a rebound in domestic activity in the second half. Our forecasts account for the likely retightening of measures in certain regions or cities for short periods as outbreaks occur, but for the economy to broadly see a continued easing of confinement measures.

The Stringency Index, a measure of the severity of lockdown measures, showed Thailand to have a less restricted set of confinement rules as of early August, compared with its regional peers. Mobility data indicates retail activity was just 3% below its historical levels as of Aug 11, with grocery and pharmacy activity 4% above the baseline levels.

While transit and workplace mobility data imply further scope for a recovery, at 26% and 14% below trend, the low number of reported new cases -- all of them occurring among people in quarantine after returning from abroad -- indicates that authorities could ease measures further. We expect private consumption and gross fixed capital formation to contract by 2.0% and 6.4% for all of 2020, compared with averages of 2.0% and 7.3% in the first half respectively.

Fitch Solutions expects the domestic recovery in the second half to be significantly supported by stimulus measures, but these will fail to offset the drag from the export sector. Fiscal stimulus measures amount to around 10% of GDP, while the Bank of Thailand has cut its key policy rate to all-time lows and injected substantial liquidity into the credit market to support domestic activity.

Credit growth started picking up in the second quarter, as monetary easing measures fed through to the real economy. We expect fiscal stimulus to feature more heavily as a driver of growth over the coming quarters, as investment and public consumption announced in the second quarter has a delayed effect.

Efforts to ramp up investment in infrastructure and entice companies to invest will require a continued recovery in business confidence and as such, we expect this to play a greater role through 2021.

However, until the tourism and travel sector can begin to recover, we expect overall domestic confidence and activity to be weighed down, as the industry's woes have a ripple effect. We have lowered our real GDP growth forecast to 3.8% in 2021, from a prior forecast of 4.1%, as the recovery in tourism looks set to be delayed. At 19.7% of GDP and accounting for around one in five jobs, the sector plays a key role in fuelling domestic activity.

In the first half, arrivals were 66% below their 2019 levels and with border restrictions still in place, the second half is unlikely to see any noticeable improvement. We expect domestic consumption to recover slowly as incomes remain depressed and employment opportunities in the sector are scarce.

Despite an initial uptake in credit, high levels of indebtedness among low-income households and small businesses could result in a period of higher saving rates and subdued private investment.

We have highlighted the challenges faced by Thailand to attract foreign investment because of weak domestic demand. Without sustained support for household incomes that does not result in rising household debt levels, the economy will only recover to the extent that the export sector is able to recover.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


World Bank chief warns extreme poverty could surge by 100m
The coronavirus pandemic may have driven as many as 100 million people back into extreme poverty, World Bank president David Malpass warned Thursday.

The Washington-based development lender previously estimated that 60 million people would fall into extreme poverty due to Covid-19, but the new estimate puts the deterioration at 70 to 100 million, and he said "that number could go higher" if the pandemic worsens or drags on.

The situation makes it "imperative" that creditors reduce the amount of debt held by poor countries at risk, going beyond the commitment to suspend debt payments, Mr Malpass said in an interview with AFP.

Even so, more countries will be obliged to restructure their debt.

"The debt vulnerabilities are high, and the imperative of getting light at the end of the tunnel so that new investors can come in is substantial," Mr Malpass said.

Advanced economies in the Group of 20 already have committed to suspending debt payments from the poorest nations through the end of the year, and there is growing support for extending that moratorium into next year amid a pandemic that's killed nearly 800,000 people and sickened more than 25 million worldwide.

But Mr Malpass said that will not be enough, since the economic downturn means those countries, which already are struggling to provide a safety net for their citizens, will not be in a better position to deal with the payments.


The amount of debt reduction needed will depend on the situation in each country, he said, but the policy "makes a lot of sense".

"So I think the awareness of this will be gradually, more and more apparent" especially "for the countries with the highest vulnerability to the debt situation".

The World Bank has committed to deploying US$160 billion in funding to 100 countries through June 2021 in an effort to addresses the immediate emergency, and about US$21 billion had been released through the end of June.

But even so, extreme poverty, defined as earning less than US$1.90 a day, continues to rise.

Mr Malpass said the deterioration is due to a combination of the destruction of jobs during the pandemic as well as supply issues that make access to food more difficult.

"All of this contributes to pushing people back into extreme poverty the longer the economic crisis persists."

Newly-installed World Bank chief economist Carmen Reinhart has called the economic crisis a "pandemic depression", Mr but Malpass was less concerned with terminology.

"We can start calling it a depression. Our focus is on how do we help countries be resilient in working out on the other side."


Mr Malpass said he has been "frustrated" by the slow progress among private creditors in providing comparable debt suspension terms for poor countries.

While the Institute for International Finance has set up a framework to waive debt service payments, as of mid-July member banks had not received any applications.

Having a clear view of the size of each country's debt and the collateral involved also are key to being able to help the debtor nations, Mr Malpass said.

China is a major creditor in many of these countries, and the government has been "participating in the transparency process", but he said more needs to be done to understand the terms of loans in nations like Angola, where there are liens on the country's oil output.

Governments in advanced economies so far have been "generous" in their support of developing nations, even while they take on heavy spending programs in their own countries, Mr Malpass said.

"But the bigger problem is that their economies are weak," he said of the wealthy nations.

"The most important thing the advanced economies do for the developing countries is supply markets... start growing, and start reopening markets."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Lenders able to deal with virus impact: Bank of Thailand

Thailand's commercial banks are financially sound and are able to withstand any economic impact from the pandemic, Bank of Thailand (BoT) Deputy Governor Ronadol Numnonda said in a statement Sunday.

The banking system's capital fund is strong with an adequacy ratio, or BIS ratio, at the "high level" of 19.2% by the end of June. Lenders are profitable and have excess liquidity, he said, in response to a report citing an economist's comments that Thai banks are facing problems.

The central bank asked financial institutions to run stress tests and the results showed all the lenders possess sufficient capital to cope with a "severe crisis." There are also both fiscal and monetary policies in place to help the economy, according to Mr Ronadol.

The BoT is working with lenders to restructure debt and ensure borrowers can service their obligations, he said. This will help the financial institutions manage loan quality and prevent an increase in bad loans, according to the central bank.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand Population 68,826,431 @ 20:30 worldometers.info :)

COVID Results in Biggest Deposits in 12 Years
(TNA) — Deposits in the first half of this year came from about 80 million people and amounted to 14.67 million baht, rising by 8% which was the fastest pace in 12 years, according to the Deposit Protection Agency.

Announcing the figures, DPA president Songpol Chevapanyaroj said people were saving for their future due to the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 and investors were moving their money to banks from capital and money markets where yields were declining.

According to him, as of June this year there were 80.82 million depositors with financial institutions protected by DPA. The figure rose by 1.38% or about 1.1 million.

The combined amount of protected deposits stood at 14.67 million baht, up by 8.12% from the end of last year. The increment was the highest in 12 years since the DPA foundation in 2008. Of all depositors, 98% were small ones, each of whom saved up to 1 million baht.

Mr Songpol said that normally deposits had grown about 4-6% annually.

DPA protected deposits of up to 5 million baht per account. Its fund amounted to 129 billion baht and most of it were in the forms of bonds of the government and the Bank of Thailand, he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


DPA: Don't worry, NPL problem not as critical as during 1997 crisis
"Bank customers need not worry that they will lose their money, as the DPA will help protect your deposits in case another crisis strikes," director Songpol promised.

The current non-performing loan (NPL) problem will not be as serious as during the 1997 financial crisis due to the strong financial status of commercial banks that enable them to help borrowers with debt restructuring before they become NPLs, Deposit Protection Agency (DPA) director Songpol Cheewapanyaroj said.

"The DPA's commercial bank reserve fund is also strong, with approximately Bt129 billion in reserve from contributions by commercial banks in the last 12 years at a rate of 0.01 per cent of their deposits," he said.

"The DPA receives contributions of Bt1.4 billion on average annually, which we invest in bonds from the government and the Bank of Thailand. This has resulted in a return of Bt2 billion per year."

Songpol said the DPA estimated the economic contraction caused by Covid-19 would not cause commercial banks to collapse, as they still have strong reserves that will act as a buffer to shield them from a financial crisis.

"Bank customers need not worry that they will lose their money, as the DPA will help protect your deposits in case another crisis strikes," Songpol promised.

Currently, 80.82 million bank customers are protected under the DPA, with combined deposits of Bt14.67 trillion. Around 98 per cent of these are individual customers with less than Bt1 million in their accounts.

"The DPA is planning to expand protection to cover electronic money or e-wallets, which should start by the fourth quarter this year. E-money or e-wallets have relatively low risk compared to traditional money, since the Bank of Thailand does not allow businesses to use them in investments or loans," Songpol added.

Meanwhile, TMB Analytics Centre executive director Naris Sathapholdecha said commercial banks nowadays are much stronger than in 1997, when they had only Bt460 billion in reserve.

"As of the second quarter of 2020, commercial bank reserves have been recorded at Bt2.9 trillion, which is enough to cover up to 21 per cent of NPLs," he said.

"Even if customers are worried and withdraw their cash, banks could still continue operating as they have liquidity assets of Bt4.8 trillion, or 28 per cent of total assets. Commercial banks also have a liquidity coverage ratio of 183 per cent, making them much stronger than in the past," Naris said.

"This year, commercial banks should record profit of around Bt100 billion, thanks to aggressive debt restructuring programmes to prevent a high volume of NPLs," he added.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thai finance minister says economic fundamentals remain solid amid pandemic

(Reuters) - Thailand's economic fundamentals remain strong on both the domestic and external fronts, the finance minister said on Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic impacts the Southeast Asian country.

"We believe that the worst is behind us. The economy is projected to bottom out in the second half of this year," Predee Daochai told a business seminar.

Fiscal policy was still healthy despite stimulus measures to mitigate the impact of the outbreak, he said.

The government has introduced a 1.9 trillion baht ($60.57 billion) virus response package, including a 1 trillion baht borrowing plan.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


K-Research: Recovery to come in a U-shape
Thailand's economy is likely to see a gradual U-shaped recovery driven by government spending, with the ratio of public debt to GDP possibly edging towards the 60% ceiling rate, says Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research).

The fiscal budget, which represents about 4.5% of GDP, will help support Thailand's recovery after the pandemic derailed economic momentum, said Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, assistant managing director of K-Research.

With this scenario, public debt is expected to increase to 52-54% of GDP this year, up from 42% last year, and could further increase to 57-60% next year, Ms Nattaporn said.

The cabinet's recent endorsement to approve an additional loan of 214 billion baht to compensate for the budget deficit is intended as a credit line in case public expenses exceed revenue, according to the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO).

If the government borrows the full loan amount, this will increase the ratio of public debt to GDP to 52.4% in 2020 from the existing 45.8%, according to the PDMO.

To repair the economy, the government should balance between stimulus measures and economic cost especially the higher public debt ratio, Ms Nattaporn said.

"The U-shaped economic recovery is expected to begin in the first quarter next year, and will take around two years for the economy to return to the pre-pandemic state," she said.

K-Research has moved down its forecast for Thailand's GDP growth for the third time this year, expecting the economy to shrink by 10%, down from a 6% contraction and a 0.5% growth rate anticipated earlier.

The deeper contraction is mainly derived from the outbreak and falling external demand, particularly for exports and tourism.

The think tank predicts exports will experience a 12% contraction this year, while tourist arrival numbers will be around 6-7 million this year compared with 39 million in 2019.

Since most economic indicators are expected to contract, only government spending and public investment are expected to show positive growth at 2.3% and 6% respectively, according to K-Research.

A positive factor that would support economic recovery is vaccine development, which remains in progress, Ms Nattaporn said.

In Thailand, the vaccine for the coronavirus is expected to be implemented widely around late 2021 to early 2022, in line with the economic recovery momentum for the next two years, according to K-Research.

Thanyalak Vacharachaisurapol, deputy managing director at K-Research, said the local banking sector can still handle economic uncertainties for the next two years given the industry's strong cushion in terms of capital base and liquidity.

The tier-one capital base of the local banking system is at 15.8%, higher than 14.9% in Singapore and 13.9% in Malaysia, while the liquidity coverage ratio of the Thai banking sector is at 182.2%, compared with 138% in Malaysia and 133% in Singapore. 

Non-performing loans, classified as Stage 3 loans under Thai Financial Reporting Standards 9, are poised to continue edging up to 3.5% by this year-end on the back of the economic downturn from 3.23% last year. 

Ms Thanyalak said commercial loan growth under banks is expected to increase to 9.5-12% this year from a 1.8% contraction last year.

Loan expansion is supported by loan demand among business operators in preparation for economic uncertainties, she said, adding that the debt holiday measure under the central bank's debt relief scheme will also maintain the existing total loan portfolio.

Retail loan growth of the overall banking industry, however, will decline to 3.8-4.5% this year from 7.5% in 2019 in line with the economic downturn.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thai July economy improves but foreign tourist ban a big drag
(Reuters) - Thailand's economy improved in July, helped by public spending and an easing of coronavirus containment measures, but tourism suffered from a continued border closure, the central bank said on Monday.

July's private consumption rose 2.7% from June as activity resumed, while annual exports shrank at a smaller pace of 11.9%.

"Looking forward, there are still high uncertainties," Don Nakornthab, a director at the Bank of Thailand (BOT), told a briefing.

Most uncertain are foreign tourist numbers, which could miss the central bank's projection of 8 million, he said.

Thailand could at best have 6.7 million foreign visitors this year, as projected by the state planning agency and the finance ministry, meaning 1.3 million fewer tourists than the BOT's forecast, affecting GDP by 0.5%, he said.

BOT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob told Reuters on Friday the BOT's forecast for a record 8.1% economic contraction this year could be "optimistic". The BOT will review that next month.

The tourism-reliant country received 6.69 million international tourists in January-March but the influx ended on April 4 when Thailand imposed a ban on foreign vacationers to keep the coronavirus out.

That compares with last year's record 39.8 million visitors whose spending made up about 11.4% of GDP.

From October, Thailand will allow foreign tourists on the island of Phuket for long stays, with a quarantine.

In July, Thailand had a current account surplus of $1.79 billion after a trade surplus hit a five-month high of $4.11 billion, driven by higher gold exports.

The central bank has said gold shipments add upward pressure on the baht. THB=TH. Veerathai said the BOT should "very soon" relax rules on foreign currency deposits "to make sure that gold trading will not have an unnecessary impact on exchange rates".

"The use of foreign currency deposits in gold trading in U.S. dollars is one example," he said, adding Thais could also keep savings in foreign currency deposits.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand plans new cash handouts, job measures worth $2.2 bln for economy

(Reuters) - Thailand plans new cash handouts and job measures worth about 68.5 billion baht ($2.2 billion) to support an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic, a government official said on Wednesday.

The government plans to give 3,000 baht for 15 million people to help boost domestic consumption, Danucha Pichayanan, a spokesman of the government's task force, told a briefing after a meeting on stimulus measures.

It also plans to help the private sector pay for new hires, estimated to cost about 23.5 billion baht, he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


3,000-baht handout forming
The Finance Ministry is finalising details of the 3,000-baht cash handout scheme, with initial daily spending disbursed through an e-wallet application, with a cap of 100 baht.

Details are expected to be finalised by the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) before submission to the Center for Economic Situation Administration this Thursday, said a Finance Ministry source speaking on condition of anonymity.

The cash handout scheme's total value is 45 billion baht.

Under the measure, the government will give 3,000-baht cash handouts to 15 million people to buy consumer goods.

Recipients are required to register for the cash and the money will be transferred through the Pao Tang app's G-wallet app, similar to procedures under the Taste, Shop, Spend scheme.

The main difference lies in how daily spending is capped at a limited amount for the 3,000 baht scheme.

The initial proposal required individuals to spend at least 100 baht per day at shops registered to participate in the programme, said the source.

The government will contribute 50% for all spending on a daily basis.

For instance, if a sum of 100 baht is spent at a local shop, the shop would deduct 50 baht from a consumer, while the government would cover the remaining amount and give it to the store owner.

"We choose this spending approach because we want consumer spending to be distributed to different stores, especially small shops such as noodle shops and grilled pork vendors, instead of large sums being spent once," said the source.

"This is in line with our objective to stimulate the overall economy."

The scheme is expected to begin in early October and will run until year-end 2020.

Funding will come from a credit line of emergency loans allocated for economic recovery worth around 45 billion baht.

To be eligible for programme participation, individuals must be at least 18 years old and participating shops must be those who participated in the Taste Shop Spend scheme and We Travel Together programme. The number of shops that participated in the two schemes number 70,000 nationwide, said the source.

For shops interested in participating in the 3,000 cash handout scheme, a registration system will be launched once the scheme receives cabinet approval, said the source.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Quote from: thaiga on September 09, 2020, 10:30:08 PM
3,000-baht handout forming
The Finance Ministry is finalising details of the 3,000-baht cash handout scheme, with initial daily spending disbursed through an e-wallet application, with a cap of 100 baht.

Economy to get 1-1.5% boost from latest cash handouts: UTCC
The government's plan to hand out payments of Bt3,000 to 15 million people will boost economic growth in the fourth quarter by an estimated 1-1.5 per cent, according to Thanavat Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

The government has yet to finalise details of the scheme, which is among its new measures to lift the coronavirus-battered economy.

Thanavat said the UTCC expected the Thai economy to contract between 6.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent, less than the previous UTCC forecast of 8-10 per cent contraction.

He predicted the economy will post little or zero growth in the first quarter next year before climbing into positive territory in the second quarter if there is no second wave of Covid-19 or severe political tension.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Urgent 2-year Covid recovery plan set for Cabinet approval
The National Strategy Plan has been redrafted with urgent changes to drive economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis, the planning agency said on Thursday.

The revised plan for 2021-2022 will be proposed to Cabinet next week, said Danucha Pichayanan, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

The so-called Special Strategy Master Plan focuses on foundations to support economic recovery and transformation by ensuring people have jobs to survive, vulnerable groups are cared for, and local communities have employment and opportunities.

The new draft master plan features three frameworks – coping, adapting, and transformation for sustainable growth – in four areas of development: Local economy, future growth, human capital, and enabling factors.

Danucha said the national strategy would be revised again in 2022.

Meanwhile new members have been appointed to posts in the National Strategy Management Committee, which is responsible for writing the strategy.

The security post has been taken by National Security Council secretary-general Gen Somsak Rungsita.

Tasked with building competitiveness is former Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang.

Human resources goes to Kritsanapong Keeratikorn, chairman of the Research Fund Policy Committee.

Opportunity creation and social equality is the responsibility of Enu Susuwan, from the board of Learning Institute For Everyone (LIFE).

The panel's Environment chair goes to Thanawat Jarupongsakul, a geology academic, while government management systems goes to Pongpayom Wasa-puti, a former Interior Ministry permanent secretary.

Sakchai Peechapat, a Thai Bankers Association executive, said Thursday's National Strategy Committee meeting focused on ways to boost recovery of the grass-roots economy.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


SCB forecasts greater contraction of Thai economy in aftermath of Covid-19
Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 is expected to contract 7.8 per cent from the previous forecast of -7.3 per cent due to increasing negative factors that stem from the impact of Covid-19, Siam Commercial Bank's Economic Intelligence Center (EIC) said on Monday.

Two prominent negative factors cited by the EIC were the decrease in estimates of foreign tourists in 2020 to only 6.7 million people, as the government still employs strict lockdown measures against foreign tourists, and only Bt500 billion of the Bt1-trillion stimulus that the government had passed was expected to be injected into the economy within this year, lower than the Bt600 billion previously estimated.

Other factors are the scarring effects caused by businesses being shut down and people being laid off due to the outbreak, which could prolong the country's economic recession until the year-end or next year.

"In the first two quarters of 2020, the unemployment rate increased by 1.95 per cent, which is the highest in 11 years," said the centre. "Meanwhile, those who still have jobs tend to suffer from decreased working hours, which are currently down by 11.5 per cent year on year, while some have to be underemployed in order to keep working.

"The number of furloughed workers could rise to 2.5 million people, reflecting the weak status of the labour market," it added.

The EIC said that the scarring will take time to heal, and therefore the Bank of Thailand should continue to employ relaxed financial policies, such as keeping the policy rate at 0.5 per cent, promote debt restructuring measures and provide soft loans and credit guarantee tools to ensure that affected businesses could access funds and gradually get back on their feet.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thai economy seen back to 'normal levels' within two years-deputy PM
(Reuters) - Thailand's economy is expected to return to normal levels within two years as the government tries to mitigate the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a deputy prime minister said on Friday.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy is set to contract by a record 8.5% this year as the outbreak ravaged the key tourism industry and slowed consumption, the finance ministry predicts.

The government has used nearly 800 billion baht ($25 billion) in supporting the economy, Supattanapong Punmeechaow told a business seminar.

"I think the economy should get back to normal levels within two years," he said. "But if we can manage it very well, we may see that late next year".

The government will continue to introduce stimulus measures and plans subsidies under a "co-pay" scheme, rather than handouts, to help spur consumption, he said, without giving further details.

In a bid to cope with the impact of the outbreak, the government has introduced a 1.9 trillion baht response package, including a 1 trillion baht borrowing plan.

The borrowing will lift the public debt to GDP ratio to 57% from about 47% in July, still within a 60% cap, Danucha Pichayanan, a deputy head of the state planning agency, the National Economic and Social Development Council, told the seminar.

"The higher debt burden will reduce policy space... but the current debt level can still be managed and there is room for driving the economy," he said.

Thailand has had a deficit budget for the past 10 years and must try to have a balanced budget at least over the next five-six years, Danucha said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


August indicators show Thai economy recovering

Economic indicators for August show significant improvement from July but suggest the economy is still contracting, according to the Finance Ministry.

Releasing its monthly economic report on Monday, the ministry's Fiscal Policy Office predicted the economic situation would get better in the third quarter after a sharp contraction of 12.2 per cent in the second quarter.

Reopening the country to tourists would also boost the recovery, said fiscal policy adviser Wuttipong Jittungsakul, referring to a plan to allow foreign travellers back into Thailand next month. Before the Covid-19 travel ban, Thailand welcomed 6.7 million foreign tourists this year.

August's revenue from value added tax (VAT), an indicator of private consumption, fell 3.8 per cent year on year – but far less than the 11.6 per cent drop in July. Car sales rose 14.8 per cent from July, but contracted 35.5 per cent year on year. Motorcycle registration dropped 2.5 per cent year on year, compared to 5.8 per cent contraction in July.

Farmers' income increased for the second month in a row, by 9.2 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent in July. The consumer confidence index rose for the fourth consecutive month, to 51. Effective control of Covid-19, relaxation of restrictions, and implementation of aid packages had helped boost consumer spending. The fiscal Policy Office predicted the economic situation in the third quarter (July-September) would be better than the second quarter, he said.

Private investment also improved slightly, with imports of capital goods and commercial cars increasing 1.5 per cent and 13.1 per cent respectively from July. They dropped year-on-year, but at a decelerating rate of 11.5 and 0.5 per cent.

Cement sales in August rose 2.7 per cent year on year but were flat compared to sales in July. However the property sector remained on a downward trajectory, with tax revenue from real estate transactions dropping 6.9 per cent from July and 14.1 per cent year on year.

Exports in dollar terms contracted 7.9 per cent in August, better than the 11.4 per cent contraction in July.

Budget disbursement rose 9.2 per cent year on year in August with a monthly increase of 3.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Pisit Puapan, executive director of the Finance Ministry's Macroeconomic Policy Bureau, said economic indicators in August pointed to recovery in all four regions of the country.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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