Mekong Monitor: Thailand implements third extension of coronavirus emergency until 31 July
Photo Credit: Nikkei Asian Review
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Thailand implements third extension of coronavirus emergency until 31 July
(30 June 2020) Thailand will remain under a state of coronavirus emergency until 31 July, making it the third extension of the emergency decree. Originally imposed on 26 March, the emergency decree was supposed to end on 30 April. With no local transmission of the virus for over a month, Thailand will start easing restrictions from 1 July, with bars and pubs allowed to reopen, shopping malls and department stores allowed to extend their operations until 10pm, and schools restarting. While tourists will still be barred from entering Thailand, work-permit holders and their spouses, foreign spouses, and foreigners with permanent residence status, will be allowed in. Special arrangements are being negotiated with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China and Hong Kong for short term business trips.
Tourism industry expected to lose US$47 billion under worst case scenario
(2 July 2020) Thailand’s tourism industry is expected to lose US$47 billion in 2020 in a worst case scenario, according to a recently published report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report laid out three scenarios for the global tourism industry, with lockdown measures lasting four, eight, and 12 months, respectively. Global tourism revenues under these scenarios would fall by US$1.17 trillion, US$2.22 trillion and US$3.3 trillion respectively, or between 1.5%-4.2% of the world’s GDP. The UNCTAD report called for governments to boost social protections for affected workers in the industry.
Myanmar imposes 15-day extension of travel bans and curfews to combat COVID-19
(28 June 2020) Myanmar is imposing a 15-day extension of its travel restrictions and curfews until 15 July to combat the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions include the suspension of international flights and a ban on the issuance of all visas and visa-exemption services, as well as a nightly curfew and a ban on the gathering of more than five peoples. United Nations officials, diplomats and foreign nationals who need to enter Myanmar must obtain exemptions from a Myanmar mission.
Vietnam economy expected to grow 3.5% in 2020
(1 July 2020) UOB Group has trimmed Vietnam’s 2020 growth forecast to 3.5% year-on-year from its earlier projections of 5.2%. This projection was based on the expectation of a rebound of 5.5% to 7.0% in the second half of 2020, which is possible given the country’s exit from a lockdown earlier than many of its neighbours and the dynamism of its economy. Vietnam’s economy expanded by 0.36% y-o-y in the second quarter of 2020, a significant drop from the 3.68% y-o-y growth in the first quarter of 2020. Activities across the board decelerated sharply in 2Q20, with the services sector bearing the worst of the brunt and expanding by only 0.57% y-o-y in 1H20 (as compared to 7.30% growth seen at the end of 2019).
Around 400 garments, footwear and travel goods factories suspend operations due to COVID-19
(1 July 2020) Around 400 garments, footwear and travel goods factories in Cambodia have suspended operations due to COVID-19, leaving some 150,000 workers jobless. This was according to a joint statement released on 1 July by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, the Cambodia Footwear Association and the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia. The associations warned that the numbers are likely to rise in the coming weeks as numerous brands and retailers in Europe and North America cancel or delay orders due to falling demand. The statement called on the European Union to postpone the effective date on 12 August of the partial withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trade benefits for a year due to the pandemic.
About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)
The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.