Chartchai Parasuk, PhD, is a freelance economist.
On March 2, Thai Airways will submit its business rehabilitation plan to the Central Bankruptcy Court. After that, in around May, the court will assemble Thai Airways' creditors to vote on the plan. If a majority of creditors vote yes, the court will appoint rehabilitation plan administrators and Thai Airways will conduct its business according to the plan. If a majority of creditors vote no, Thai Airways will be declared bankrupt and will head towards liquidation.
It is a pitiful dilemma, isn't it? When the economy is in a bad shape, you want the government to spend money (more money, and lots of money) to help shore up the economy. Like we are seeing in our country now. Alas, by spending money (more money, and lots of money), the government itself induces another kind of economic crisis -- a liquidity crisis.
My first article of the year cannot be about anything but the Covid-19 lockdown. Actually, I planned to write about the two-month disappearance of the world-famous Jack Ma -- founder of Alibaba and Alipay. He has an innovative idea to revolutionise the Chinese financial system but his revolutionary idea was not agreeable with Chinese authorities and caused him to "disappear". What interests me is not China's internal affairs. But his idea, once put into use, will revolutionise the global economy as well. Milton Friedman (a Nobel Prize laureate in Economics and the father of monetary policy) and his Optimum Quantity of Money theory will become useless. His idea, if taken far enough, might be able to pull the world economy out of the Covid slump. Sound interesting? Readers have to wait until my next article, which will come in two weeks' time.
Time flies. The dreadful year of 2020 is coming to a close. Therefore, I've decided to have fun by writing something "comical". No earth-shattering economic analysis. That will be the next article. This week I will make educated predictions of things that might happen in the year 2021. I am no fortune teller, but I will try my best.
Everybody has high hopes for the year 2021. Stock markets seem to think so. The Dow Jones Industrial average started the year at around the 29,000 mark and dropped by one-third to 20,000 when Covid-19 became a global threat in late March. Today, despite the second, third, and fourth rounds of outbreaks around the globe, Dow Jones is approaching the 30,000 mark.
In the past week alone, we heard three good pieces of news about the success of Covid-19 vaccine developments from Pfizer, Moderna and Russia. All of them claim to have an above 90% efficacy rate. I was rather sceptical about Pfizer's vaccine for actual distribution for two reasons. First, the vaccine is required to be stored at -75C and lasts only five days in the refrigerator. Clearly, this vaccine is not appropriate for use outside the United States. Therefore, I am not surprised to learn that the CEO of the company unloaded his company's shares after the news was announced.
Economics and politics are inseparable. The current nationwide demonstrations against the government might appear to have only political agendas, but the underlying driving force of the burgeoning demonstrations might be economics. The question is "why now?". The prime minister has been in office since early 2019 and, if one counts his previous term, he has been in office since mid-2014. Furthermore, the current constitution has been in effect since 2017.
The world economy is in total disaster in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, said it would be the worst economic crisis in 100 years. However, her once in a 100-year crisis seems to be rather short-lived as the IMF expects a full global recovery next year.