Digital assets licensing expected later this year
The Finance Ministry is expected to issue licenses for digital assets management later this year or early next year after the Securities and Exchange Commission received applications in mid-August. The SEC is expected to review the applications for two months before submitting the applicants to the Finance Ministry for review and issuance of licenses. Six companies are seeking licenses as digital assets exchanges and two for digital assets dealers. Although the SEC is still assessing the applications, they are allowed to continue to operate since they submitted their requests within 90 days of the Royal Decree on digital assets in mid-May. Some Thai securities firms have shown an interest in partnering with digital assets exchanges and after the licenses are issued the market is expected to grow if financial regulators allow institutional investors to invest in them.
AIS customers, Rabbit Line Pay users, and Thai Kbank account holders will now be able to make QR code payments from their digital wallets in both Singapore and Thailand after Singtel teamed up with AIS, Kbank and Rabbit Line Pay to allow payments at all merchants displaying the VIA brand and 1.6 million Thai merchants displaying the Thai QR code. This is the first of its kind, allowing both telecommunications firms wallets and non-telco mobile wallets across borders. Singtel plans on expanding the partnership to include Indonesia, the Philippines, and India.
The World Bank raised its forecast for Thai economic growth to 4.5 percent, 0.4 percent higher than originally forecast in April on the back of a faster pace of public spending on major infrastructure projects and strong exports. In August exports reached US$22 billion, a 6.68 percent rise year on year. Exports have grown an average of 6.7 percent over the last year and a half and the Thai National Shippers Council predicts they will reach 9 percent this year. Although exports to China are down slightly, they have \ have been growing steadily to Asean, CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam), India, and South Asia. Agricultural goods such as fruit and rice, and manufacturing goods including cars are Thailand’s main export items.