Thailand and the “pandemic”, some preliminary results

As of May 19, in Thailand, there were 3030 officially recorded cases of coronavirus infections, with 2857 recoveries and 56 deaths, with total population of some 69,700,000 people as of May 2020. “Pandemic” was declared in Thailand on Mar 15, and as everywhere around the globe, virus tests are a mystery, because nobody knows or cares to explain, why they differ so wildly from country to country, why there’s no universal standard test for exactly this type of virus, and why medics mix together statistics of deaths caused by virus, and deaths “related” to virus. As everywhere else, elders and people with pre-existing medical conditions, constitute the majority of mortality statistics.
“Fighting pandemic” restrictions and lockdowns in Thailand are comparatively mild, nothing like regimes imposed on some US “blue” States, or India, or making biggest in the world 11-million concentration camp, once known as Moscow, Capital of Russia. Still, all inbound flights are banned until May 31 at least, meaning that crew changes in Thai ports remain very problematic. Life in general has become very dull indeed, and with that, much more complicated and hampered in some petty, but quite irritable and annoying, ways.
As everywhere else, people and economy suffer not from virus, but from “fighting virus”, with losses, far exceeding those inflicted by virus itself.

Post-pandemic Thai economy forecasts differ in estimations of unavoidable losses and downturns. Thai National Shippers’ Council remains on optimistic side, forecasting nation’s economy contract by some 8%, but with that, recovery, starting fourth quarter. But Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) believes, that most of Thai major industries will be fighting, in post-pandemic era, for a mere survival.
Of the 45 industry groups in Thailand, 32 are expected to suffer a drop in demand and will recover slowly after the outbreak due to the global slowdown, Kriangkrai Thiannukul, vice president of FTI, said on May 13.
He added that only 13 industries will expand after the pandemic, namely medical and healthcare devices, pharmaceutical, information and communication technology, pulp and paper, sugar, air-conditioning and cooling systems, food, electricity generating, chemical, rubber products, plastic, printing and packaging and aluminium product.
However, at least two-thirds of the industries will face a grim future, namely cloth, textile, auto and parts, cosmetics, leather, shoes, jewellery and ornaments, steel, cement, roof and parts, granite and marble, glass, ceramic, sawmill, plywood, furniture, machinery, agricultural mechanics, ship building, steel construction, metal casting, electronics and telecommunication, herb, palm oil, food supplement, petroleum refinery, petrochemical, gas, renewal energy, handicrafts, environment management and biotechnology, he warned.
The Nation/Thailand, May 14 2020
Tourism and trade were most hard hit sectors, as countries around the world imposed restrictions to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Official data shows a 74.6% plunge in foreign tourist arrivals in March from a year ago, and though there are no official statistics yet covering April-May, we can already say, that tourism as industry, is non-existent. When tourism partially recovers, sometime by the end of this year and further on, it won’t be tourism we know or knew. It will be more expensive, and less affordable for common people, until at some stage (and such forecasts are spreading like wildfire) tourism will be affordable only for elites, not for all elites with that, but for top ones. We’ll be allowed to watch their escapades in exotic places on TV/computer screens, in news and live shows. Welcome to your new green sustainable world, millenials and GZs.

Thoresen Thai Agencies Plc. (TTA) reported that its consolidated revenues decreased year-on-year by 11% and quarter-on-quarter by 21%. Shipping and Offshore Service contributed 38% and 21% to the consolidated revenues, respectively. The freight revenues of Shipping Segment were recorded at Baht 1,261.5 million in 1Q/2020, which decreased 26% year-on-year, mainly due to lower freight rate and decreasing service days for chartered-in vessels.
However, Thoresen Shipping maintained low vessel operating expenses (OPEX) of US$ 3,856per day, and the owned fleet utilization rate has remained high at 100% in 1Q/2020. TCE rate was at US$ 7,817 per day which outperformed net Supramax TC rate of US$ 6,229 per day by 25% in 1Q/2020.
At quarter-end, Shipping Segment owned 21 Supramax vessels with an average size of 55,285 DWT and an average age of 12.96 years. No vessel was acquired or sold in 1Q/2020.
The Thai economy sank by 1.8 per cent year on year in the first quarter, state National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said on May 18. The economic contraction in the first quarter was largely due to the Covid-19 fallout. In it’s full-year forecast, the Council said the economy would drop by 5 to 6 per cent, close to the 7.6 per cent contraction during the 1997 financial crisis.
Thai economy doesn’t look all that bad, when comparing it to other countries in SEA region. In Bangladesh, country’s import decreased 62% year-on-year to $1.95 billion in April as industrial production has almost come to a halt due to the ongoing shutdown. A large part of the imports is mainly for the export-earning garment sector, but the industrial units had suspended their manufacturing last month for the countrywide shutdown to flatten the curve on coronavirus. In April, exports nosedived five times from the previous month and 82.9 per cent from a year earlier to just $520.01 million, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Among those who is profiting from “pandemic”, is Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc (CPF), the country’s largest agribusiness. CPF expects to have its best year ever due to soaring pork prices and plans to expand in North America. CPF, whose businesses cover animal feed, farm and food, reported a net profit of 6.11 billion baht for January-March, up 43% from a year earlier and a record high quarterly profit due to high pork prices in Vietnam and Cambodia.
According to the Thai Ministry of Commerce, exports of computers and peripherals from Thailand in the January-March period were $ 3,943.9 million, an increase of 13.7% over the same period last year. Hard disk drives (HDD) increased 23.4% to $ 2,959.5 million, accounting for 75% of the total.
The largest export value of computers and peripherals from Thailand was to the United States, which increased by 41.1% to $ 1,457.62 million. Export to Hong Kong decreased by 7.7%, $ 611.9 million, to European Union (EU) by 5.7%, $ 567 million, while export to China increased by 65.7%, $ 439.12 million. Export to Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) decreased by 35%, 2 $ 422.9 million, to Japan by 6.7%, $ 171.6 million.

As usual, anytime, any century or millennium, anywhere around the world, common people suffer most. Long lines of unemployed relying on free food across Bangkok, scrambles for cash handouts and fishing in fetid canals — Thais are getting increasingly desperate as the pandemic destroys the economy and the government struggles to respond. Some 27 million informal workers — who lost their jobs in the tourism, entertainment, food and service sectors — have applied for a monthly cash handout from the government, though only half have received approval. – Pattaya One News, May 13.
Some 300,000 so-called “sex-workers” were literally, thrown out to streets, and let’s not forget, that many of them or the majority, are(were) supporting their families, mostly in rural areas. This “sex-workers” drama alone makes the whole global “pandemic” scheme looking more like crime against humanity, than war against “deadly virus”.

Does worldwide “pandemic fight” justify all the losses, dramas and tragedies it brought upon humanity?

Voytenko Mikhail
May 19, 2020

Author

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My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.