International News 03/04

April 03, 2024 No. 53

The World Bank has revised down Thailand's growth forecast for 2024 to 2.8 per cent due to weakened exports.

The World Bank has revised its growth forecast for Thailand's economy downwards. The forecast for 2024 is now 2.8%, and for 2025 it is 3.0%. These figures are lower than the previous projections of 3.2% and 3.1%, respectively. The reason for this adjustment is the slowing global trade and delayed government spending due to a postponed budget. The central bank has also lowered its projected growth for 2024 to 2.5% to 3.0%. The dimmer outlook is expected to impact exports and public investment. However, the World Bank identifies tourism and private consumption as the main drivers of growth. It is expected that tourist arrivals will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels this year. The Thai government aims to attract a record 40 million foreign visitors in 2024, following last year's 28 million tourists.


Surge in LNG Imports in Asia: Reasons Explained.

The supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia is increasing due to falling prices, which are encouraging developing countries in the region to make significant purchases. In March 2024, LNG shipments to Asia reached approximately 24 million tonnes, a 12% increase compared to the same period last year. This growth was primarily driven by rising imports from China, India, and Thailand. Consequently, LNG shipments to Europe are expected to decrease as supplies are currently at a seasonal high. Abundant supplies and mild winter weather have led to low LNG prices in Asia, making it a more competitive option than other fossil fuels. In contrast, Europe experienced a 20% dip in LNG shipments in March, reaching the lowest level since September. These lower prices made it less attractive for major importers such as China and Japan to resell their shipments, while importers like India and Japan found it more attractive to keep their shipments.


Latest US inflation data as expected, up 2.8%.

The most recent inflation data for the US indicates an increase that aligns with expectations. In February, the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index rose by 2.8%, allowing the Federal Reserve to continue holding off on considering interest rate cuts. The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, also increased by 2.8% annually and by 0.3% compared to the previous month. Both figures were in line with estimates. When making policy decisions, the Fed considers both the headline PCE figure, which includes food and energy costs, and the core data, which excludes them. The Fed targets an annual inflation rate of 2%. The core PCE inflation data has consistently remained above that level for the past three years. The inflation figures are not surprising and are in line with expectations.