Thursday, August 13, 2020

PM, council of economic ministers to find ways of rebooting country

Jul 02. 2020
Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha has scheduled a meeting with the council of economic ministers on July 10 to discuss the country’s economic situation.
Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha has scheduled a meeting with the council of economic ministers on July 10 to discuss the country’s economic situation.
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By THE NATION

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called a meeting with the council of economic ministers on July 10 to discuss the state of Thailand’s economy, the council’s secretary-general Kobsak Pootrakul said on Thursday (July 2).

The meeting will also seek measures to assist small and medium-sized enterprises from the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak on Thursday assigned the Revenue Department and the Fiscal Policy Office to come up with measures to encourage community-level tourism and woo big spenders. The measures should be ready by mid this month, he added.

Somkid has also asked the central bank to widen the opportunity for businesses to take bank loans.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said his ministry was thinking about asking the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation to develop a credit guarantee project to help small businesses. This measure is expected to be ready in two weeks.

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking revised its forecast for Thailand’s economic growth on Wednesday, bringing it down from between -3 and -5 per cent to between -5 and -8 per cent.

The Bank of Thailand has also recently said that the country’s economy this year will contract 8.1 per cent, worst ever, because the Covid-19 crisis has had a greater impact on both the Kingdom’s and global economy.

Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), expects Thai gross domestic product (GDP) to show a 10-15 per cent contraction in the second quarter of this year, the period of lockdown when the economy felt the full impact of Covid-19.

He forecasts that the spending level of Thais will return to normal spending in a year's time.

According to the university's Economic and Business Forecasting survey, the consumer confidence index rose to 49.2 from the previous month's score of 48.2. The rise coincided with phases 3 and 4 of lockdown easing.

The survey was conducted on 2,241 participants.

Positive factors affecting the results were the government's relaxation of lockdown restrictions and launch of measures to ease burdens on consumers and businesses, Thanavath added.

Negative factors included public concern over the outbreak and weakened economy as well as the state of emergency extension.

People were also worried over the renewed trade war between the US and China, which threatens Thai exports.

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