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Thai economy shrinks 12% in 2Q, worst decline in 22 years – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Thai economy shrinks 12% in 2Q, worst decline in 22 years

BANGKOK — Thailand’s economy contracted at a 12.2% annual rate in the April-June quarter, its sharpest downturn since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

The data reflect a deterioration of business activity, with the country virtually closed to international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The economy shrank 2% in the first quarter of the year, said the report Monday by the National Economic and Social Development Council.

It showed investment, consumer spending and trade all contracted. Farm output, also hurt by a drought, fell 3% while manufacturing declined 14.4%.

Thailand’s leaders are meanwhile grappling with a wave of student unrest.

Anti-government protesters gathered in large numbers in Thailand’s capital on Sunday for a rally that suggested their movement’s strength may extend beyond the college campuses where it had blossomed.

The protesters are demanding that the government hold new elections, amend the constitution and end intimidation of critics of the government.

While those grievances do not mention the economy, the demonstrations underscore public discontent with how the military-dominated government has handled the pandemic crisis, leaving many people struggling to feed themselves.

The government imposed strict controls on activity at the height of the coronavirus outbreak in the spring, including overnight curfews and bans on sales of alcohol. That appears to have kept infections under control: confirmed cases totalled 3,377 as of Monday, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. There have been 58 deaths.

But the containment has come at a steep cost: the loss of millions of jobs and livelihoods for the many Thai’s who depend on foreign tourism.

Exports plunged 28% from a year earlier, while service exports, which include international travel, cratered by nearly 38%.

“The worst of the economic slump brought on by COVID-19 might be over. But with exports and tourism still missing in action, the negative GDP growth trend is here to stay for the rest of the year, and perhaps well into 2021,” ING Economics said in a commentary.

ING economist Prakash Sakpal forecast a 6.6% annual contraction for the whole year, with the GDP shrinking 7.6% in the current quarter and 4.8% in the last quarter of the year.

On a seasonally adjusted, quarterly basis, the Thai economy contracted 9.7% in April-June from the previous quarter, when it shrank 2.5%. It also logged a contraction in the last quarter of 2019, minus 0.3%, and thus has been in recession this year.

The economy is faring about as poorly as those of Thailand’s neighbours . Last week, Malaysia reported a 13.2% contraction in its economy in the last quarter. Singapore’s economy shrank 13.2% and the Philippines’ 16.5%.

For most, it has been the worst downturn since the Asian financial crisis struck with the collapse of the Thai baht in July 1997.

The Associated Press

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Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Consumer Spending and Employment – The Wall Street Journal

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The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.

Photo: valerie macon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The U.S. jobs report for September highlights a week of data that will show how economies are recovering from coronavirus-induced recessions and from continued disruptions related to the pandemic.

Wednesday

China’s official purchasing managers index for manufacturing is expected to show factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in September. Economists said manufacturers have sped up production to avoid shipment delays in the event buyers experience a return of Covid-19 this winter.

Thursday

The
Bank of Japan’s
tankan corporate sentiment survey for the third quarter is expected to improve, reflecting a gradual resumption of economic activity. In the second quarter, sentiment among Japan’s large manufacturers deteriorated to its lowest level in 11 years and even a significant gain will still show that more companies say business conditions are unfavorable than favorable.

The number of workers covered by Europe’s furlough schemes has been declining since lockdowns were eased, but without causing a surge in the number of people without jobs. That trend likely continued in August, with figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency expected to show that the jobless rate rose to 8.1% from 7.9% in July.

U.S. jobless claims have steadied at an elevated level in recent weeks, suggesting a slowdown in the labor market’s recovery. Economists expect only a slight decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week ended Sept. 26, underscoring continued labor-market disruption and a historically high number of layoffs.

U.S. consumer spending is expected to post another monthly increase in August, though at a slower pace than recent months. That would likely reflect several trends, including a partial rebound in employment, the expiration of some federal government benefits tied to the pandemic, and strong demand for many goods alongside a weaker recovery in the service sector.

The Institute for Supply Management’s September purchasing managers index for manufacturing is likely to reflect a strong rebound in factory activity amid a slow global recovery and strong domestic demand for autos, electronics and other goods.

Friday

Consumer prices in the eurozone were lower than they were a year earlier in August, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that they remained so in September, increasing the likelihood that the European Central Bank will have to provide further stimulus if it is to meet its inflation target.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to post another strong gain and the unemployment rate to decline in September as more businesses recall workers. But the pace of hiring might have slowed and the overall level of employment will likely remain millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, underscoring the severe damage from the pandemic and the long road to full recovery.

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Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Consumer Spending and Employment – Wall Street Journal

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The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.

The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles drew shoppers as restrictions on gatherings have eased.

Photo: valerie macon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The U.S. jobs report for September highlights a week of data that will show how economies are recovering from coronavirus-induced recessions and from continued disruptions related to the pandemic.

Wednesday

China’s official purchasing managers index for manufacturing is expected to show factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in September. Economists said manufacturers have sped up production to avoid shipment delays in the event buyers experience a return of Covid-19 this winter.

Thursday

The
Bank of Japan’s
tankan corporate sentiment survey for the third quarter is expected to improve, reflecting a gradual resumption of economic activity. In the second quarter, sentiment among Japan’s large manufacturers deteriorated to its lowest level in 11 years and even a significant gain will still show that more companies say business conditions are unfavorable than favorable.

The number of workers covered by Europe’s furlough schemes has been declining since lockdowns were eased, but without causing a surge in the number of people without jobs. That trend likely continued in August, with figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency expected to show that the jobless rate rose to 8.1% from 7.9% in July.

U.S. jobless claims have steadied at an elevated level in recent weeks, suggesting a slowdown in the labor market’s recovery. Economists expect only a slight decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week ended Sept. 26, underscoring continued labor-market disruption and a historically high number of layoffs.

U.S. consumer spending is expected to post another monthly increase in August, though at a slower pace than recent months. That would likely reflect several trends, including a partial rebound in employment, the expiration of some federal government benefits tied to the pandemic, and strong demand for many goods alongside a weaker recovery in the service sector.

The Institute for Supply Management’s September purchasing managers index for manufacturing is likely to reflect a strong rebound in factory activity amid a slow global recovery and strong domestic demand for autos, electronics and other goods.

Friday

Consumer prices in the eurozone were lower than they were a year earlier in August, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that they remained so in September, increasing the likelihood that the European Central Bank will have to provide further stimulus if it is to meet its inflation target.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to post another strong gain and the unemployment rate to decline in September as more businesses recall workers. But the pace of hiring might have slowed and the overall level of employment will likely remain millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, underscoring the severe damage from the pandemic and the long road to full recovery.

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Trump says the economy is booming. He's right — but you don't feel it – CNN

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spent all last week testifying about the recovery on Capital Hill. His message: This is a tale of two economies, and one looks much stronger than the other.
On paper, the economy is roaring back even stronger than Powell and many economists expected.: More than 22 million jobs vanished in the spring lockdown, but 10.6 million jobs have since been added back.
And US gross domestic product — the broadest measure of the economy — is expected to rebound sharply after collapsing at a revised, annualized and seasonally adjusted rate of 31.7% between April and June. The Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now model predicts GDP will jump at an annualized and seasonally-adjusted rate of 32% in the third quarter.
But that’s only one side of the story.

The other side

Many shops are still closed. About 11.5 million people who became unemployed because of Covid-19 remain out of work. And next week, unless Congress acts to provide more federal help, up to 100,000 airline industry jobs may be lost after the expiration of the CARES Act, which provided a $50 billion bailout to keep US airlines afloat.
Meanwhile, the sugar rush from Congress’s initial stimulus has worn off. Without more intervention we could be in for a long winter, especially as Covid-19 infections are rising again in some parts of the world.
“The risk going forward is that people are spending [now] because they have money in the bank even though they’re unemployed,” Powell said.
But once that money runs out, people might start scaling back their spending — a potential body blow to the recovery given consumer spending is the economy’s biggest engine.
Retail sales, one measure of how Americans’ spending behavior, have bounced back, recording their biggest monthly surge on record in May. But while the data has gotten better in the following months, the pace of improvement has slowed.

Fears of funds drying up

One possible reason is that unemployment benefits are now lower: a supplemental $600 in weekly jobless aid, part of Washington’s first stimulus bill, ran out at the end of July, and Congress hasn’t agreed on a new stimulus deal.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to bolster benefits again, though by $400 a week this time, by diverting money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA said that some states have already exhausted their allocated amounts.
Meanwhile, businesses using the Paycheck Protection Program to make it through the worst months of the crisis are worrying about funds drying up.
Problems like these underscore the importance of Congress taking action — and soon.
“I do think it’s likely that additional fiscal support will be needed,” Powell reiterated before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, even though the recovery will ultimately depend on the path of the pandemic.
If Washington fails to agree on more stimulus the fourth quarter of this year, as well as 2021, could look much weaker than expected, said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC, in a note.
But now that lawmakers are more focused on approving a new US Supreme Court justice, worries are growing that no further stimulus will be passed until after the election.
Experts at Oxford Economics still believe a $1.5 trillion stimulus package could be agreed upon before the election on November 3.
But the window to get a deal done is closing fast and will require that rarest of commodities in Washington: compromise.

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