THAILAND EXPRESS – NEWS: What to remember from Thai news from March 28 to April 3?

Gavroche has selected for you some important news from Thailand over the past week. An essential news review for anyone interested in this Southeast Asian country.

COVID-19

The Thai Covid-19 Situation Management Center (CCSA) has issued a set of rules to be followed from April 1 to protect the elderly and those at risk.

Thailand reported its first case of Omicron XE, a hybrid of two previous Omicron variants, shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning about the new strain.

The Department of Health Services, part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Government, has urged the public to get vaccinated before returning home during the Songkran holiday.

Thailand reported 26,840 new confirmed cases: 40 from overseas, 26,800 from local transmission, with 97 deaths, totaling 3,711,595 infections detected and 25,415 deaths as of 3 April.

Politics

Members of civil society are banding together to resist the government’s desire to pass repressive legislation that could be used to silence civil society groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many argue that the NGO bill will lead to nothing but new conflicts in society.

Pita Limjaroenrat of the Forward Movement party was named as the first candidate for prime minister in a poll held in Nida on Sunday 27 March.

Registration for the elections of the governor and the city council of Bangkok is open from Thursday, March 31. They will remain open until April 4 at Bangkok City Hall 2 in Din Daeng.

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is in exile in Dubai, does not rule out the possibility that his Pheu Thai party will cooperate with the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) after the upcoming general election.

Economy

Rating agency Standards & Poors (S&P) downgraded the credit ratings of four major Thai banks: Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikorn Bank (from BBB+ to BBB-), the country’s two major banks with Bangkok Bank avoiding this move down. , TMB Bank and Krung Thai Bank (BBB to BBB-), respectively 4th and 5th in terms of assets. According to S&P, this deterioration is due to worsening systemic risk in the Thai banking sector due to very high levels of household debt (89% of GDP in 2021) and too weak debt management (moratorium and easing of mortgage conditions), and the economic recovery should suffer from the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine (tourism).

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said it had received a letter from Advanced Info Service (AIS) objecting to a proposed merger between True Corporation and Total Access Communication (DTAC).

While most forecasts initially assumed a current account surplus in 2022 (US$5 to 6 billion), many financial observers (banks and local investment funds) now believe that Thailand will face a current account deficit in 2022. operations for the second year in a row (-4 to -5 billion USD vs. -10.9 billion USD in 2021). These revisions are mainly due to the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on tourism and energy bills, which have exploded in recent weeks, while the growth rate of goods exports should normalize (+5% after +15%).

The Bank of Thailand, as expected, left its key interest rate unchanged on Wednesday, March 30, supporting the fragile economic recovery in the face of global risks. Seven members of the Bank of Russia Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep the buyback rate at 0.50%, which it has been at since May 2020, for the 15th time in a row.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) said that economic activity in the Kingdom came under pressure in March due to a rise in coronavirus infections and inflation driven by rising energy prices following a recovery in the previous month.

Siam Makro Plc, the operator of Makro, has announced plans to invest 11 billion baht to expand its business this year.

Thousands of people attended the recent Bangkok International Auto Show, where electric vehicles (EVs) were in the spotlight due to rising gasoline prices and a government subsidy that cut the prices of some electric vehicles by 15%.

Society

Two containers of 40 tons of durian and a container of 20 tons of coconuts first arrived in China by train on Sunday, March 27. The cargo from Rayong was loaded onto a train in Nong Khai and proceeded to Thanaleng station in Laos before entering China through the Mohan checkpoint. This is the first time that the Sino-Lao railway has been used to transport Thai fruits.

Tourism, culture, sports

On the occasion of the closing of the Month of La Francophonie in Thailand, the Alliance française in Bangkok is delighted to invite you to the concert of the finalists of the Francophonie Vocal Competition 2022. Thursday, March 31, at 18:00, at the Alliance française in Bangkok. .

Narai Hospitality Group has announced the demolition of the iconic Narai Hotel and adjacent Triple Two Hotel in Bangkok’s Silom district in mid-2022 to build two new 10 billion baht hotels on the 6rai site. The four-star Narai Hotel has been closed since February 18 after 54 years of operation. When it opened in 1968, its 500 rooms made it one of the first major hotels in the capital.

More than 200,000 tourists are expected to visit Chiang Mai and generate at least 2 billion baht in revenue for local businesses during the Songkran holiday from April 13 to 17, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said. “This year, the TAT office in Chiang Mai is collaborating with the municipality of Chiang Mai to hold a ceremony at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Muang District on April 10,” TAT office director Watcharyut Kuawong said on Wednesday (March 30).

Each year, Thailand exports over 10 tons of processed tea to the international market, providing a huge source of income for the Kingdom. Thailand hopes that free trade deals will make its local tea the face of ASEAN products.

Popular American jazz saxophonist Kenny G will perform at the “International Jazz and Blues Festival 2022: Wonderful Night Kenny G” in Hua Hin on May 7th. The event was announced at a press conference held on Thursday, March 31 by Neekrung Connect in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Singha Corporation, True Arena Hua Hin and Homey.

Chiang Mai gave the green light to social gatherings of up to 500 people during the Songkran holiday, the Thai New Year. However, organizers must obtain permission from the authorities to host large events, the Committee on Communicable Diseases said. Gatherings of more than 500 people must provide officials with information on the various details of their event, as well as take precautions to protect against infectious diseases.

Prachuap Kirihan Province has issued rules for the activities of Songkran to prevent and contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The rules include a ban on water fights and the consumption of alcohol at festival venues.

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