Thailand

Thailand’s unemployment rose to its highest level in more than 16 years after the worst wave of Covid-19 outbreak to hit the nation decimated jobs in the third quarter, Bloomberg News reported. The Southeast Asian nation had 870,000 unemployed people at the end of September, representing a 2.25% jobless rate, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council. It’s the worst showing since 2005 and is higher than the 1.89% posted in the second quarter, official data showed.
Read more
Thai Airways International Pcl will sell 42 planes and cut nearly a third of its workforce as part of a plan to slim down the fleet and cut costs, the head of its restructuring committee said on Monday, Reuters reported. The airline, which was in difficulty well before the pandemic struck, is going through a bankruptcy-protected restructuring. Piyasvasti Amranand, who is leading the effort, said that the planes being sold are old and not energy efficient. He said 16 jets on lease will be returned. After the sale, the airline will have 58 planes across four types.
Read more
Asia Aviation Pcl, the operator of Thailand’s biggest budget carrier Thai AirAsia Co., plans to raise as much as 17.9 billion baht ($535 million) from new loans, share sales and convertible-debt offerings as it attempts to restock coffers depleted by the worst crisis in aviation history, Bloomberg News reported. A revised financial restructuring plan for the company has been put forward and Asia Aviation is consulting with new investors, shareholders and creditors, Asia Aviation said in an exchange filing late Tuesday.
Read more

Thailand plans to significantly increase the share of long-dated sovereign bonds to meet its financing needs as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy continues to reel from the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Bonds will make up 48%-56% of the government’s borrowing of 2.3 trillion baht ($68.4 billion) in the fiscal year that began Friday, compared with 31% a year earlier, when it relied more on short-term securities such as promissory notes and treasury bills, said Patricia Mongkhonvanit, director general of the Public Debt Management Office.

Read more
Thailand is less vulnerable to any spike in global bond yields stemming from policy normalization by the U.S. Federal Reserve due to its low reliance on external sources for debt financing and its high foreign reserves, the Bank of Thailand chief said, Bloomberg News reported. Bond yields in Thailand would be less exposed to “another taper tantrum” than those in some other emerging economies, Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told a virtual conference Wednesday organized by the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
Read more
Thai Airways International reported a net profit in the first half of 2021, its first since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, thanks to a restructure of its business as part of a rehabilitation plan, although uncertainty still clouds its passenger flight services, Nikkei Asia reported. Thai Airways posted on Monday a consolidated net profit of 11.1 billion baht ($333 million), reversing a 28 billion baht loss it recorded in the same period in the last year. This was due to contributions to its bottom line from selling off assets and adjusting employees' benefits.
Read more

Thai Economy Dying on Borrowed Time

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Thailand in the first half of 2020, forcing the government to impose lockdowns and travel bans that effectively killed the crucial tourism industry, many economists foresaw a contraction of 10% or more for the year, the Asia Times reported. But Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank just 6.1% in 2020, painful but not as bad as expected with the loss of the kingdom’s US$60 billion tourism industry, which normally accounts for around 18% of GDP.

Read more
Many small and medium-sized enterprises, the backbone of Thailand’s economy, are struggling with crushing debt loads that could force them out of business as the latest wave of Covid infections dims the prospects for an economic recovery, Bloomberg News reported. “This round is much worse than last year, and millions of operators are suffering,” said Sangchai Theerakulwanich, chairman of the Federation of Thai SME, who submitted a proposal last month for the government to boost support to smaller businesses.
Read more

Thailand’s central bank held its benchmark rate unchanged on Wednesday, signaling a need to preserve policy space as the country grapples with its biggest wave of Covid cases and a weakening outlook for the tourism-reliant economy, Bloomberg News reported. The Bank of Thailand’s rate setting committee unanimously decided to hold rates at a record low of 0.5% for a ninth straight meeting, as expected by all 25 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The committee “stands ready to use limited policy space at the most-effective timing,” Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Titanun Mallikamas said.

Read more
Thai Airways International Pcl on Wednesday said that its acting chief executive officer, Chansin Treenuchagron, had resigned, Reuters reported. The airline's chief of human resources, Suvadhana Sibunruang, will take over as acting CEO, the company said in a statement. The announcement comes after a court approved the airline's restructuring plan. Chansin will remain as an administrator of the airline's business rehabilitation plan. Read more.
Read more