1) Thai stock market overview
Thailand’s SET Index closed at 1,659.48 points, decreased 9.15 points or 0.55% with a trading value of 55 billion baht. The analyst stated that the Thai stock market closed lower in the same direction as regional markets as investors were concerned of the Fed’s rate hike as minutes of the previous meeting is scheduled to be released later today, while PCE data for January is due on Friday, which would give a brief outlook on inflation.
2) China sees sharp rebound in tourism this year as recovery gains steam
China sees a sharp rebound in tourism this year, beginning with a busy and robust summer travel season as people rush to vacation following the country’s three-year-long zero-Covid policy.
According to the China Tourism Academy, the domestic tourist market might return to roughly 71% of 2019 levels, or over 4 trillion yuan ($580.8 billion), in 2023. This would be an increase of about 95% from the previous year.
In 2023, the number of domestic tourists is projected to reach 4.55 billion, up 80% from the previous year, while the number of international tourists is projected to exceed 90 million, rising 100% from the previous year and recovering to 31.5% of pre-pandemic levels.
3) New Zealand’s central bank brings policy rate up by 50bps to 4.75% and expects to go further
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has increased the interest rates by 50 basis points to a 14-year high of 4.75% on Wednesday, and expected to keep tightening further due to the inflation being too high.
In 2023, the RBNZ still expected the official cash rate (OCR) to peak at 5.5%, according to the monetary policy statement (MPS) that makes a decision about the interest rates. That would be the tightest policy since the OCR was introduced in 1999.
The RBNZ said that while there were early signs of easing price pressure, core consumer price inflation still remains too high and employment still exceeds the sustainable level, so the forecast of short-term inflation remains elevated.
4) Hong Kong hands out more vouchers to ramp up consumption and economic recovery
Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced on Wednesday in the 2023/24 budget that the hub will issue vouchers worth HK$5,000 ($637) per person to all adults this year. Still, the amount was half of what had been issued in 2022 as Hong Kong tries to dial down fiscal spending.
Chan noted that the city was at the beginning of an economic recovery and no longer limited by stringent Covid-19 measures that isolated it from the world. He believed that Hong Kong’s economy will visibly recover this year.
He also flagged a salary tax cut by 100%, capped at HK$6,000, which is lower than the cap set for the previous budget.
Hong Kong’s economy is expected to grow 3.5%-5.5% this year after a contraction of 3.5% in 2022.