The confidence index for trade and investment in the three southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat for October was at 44.1, which showed much improved sentiment when compared to the 37.8 reported for September ,and 34.4 for August.
The index was first conducted by the Commerce Ministry and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre in May 2013. The reading for the past six months have shown steadily improved sentiment of business entrepreneurs in the three provinces that have been plagued by violence for over a decade.
This sixth confidence index survey was conducted among 615 businesses, with questions on five issues - local or regional economy , operating results, expansion, employment and overall situation. Each aspect was equally weighted.
Private and state economic stimulus, big social and religious events held with no violent disruption and peace talks with southern separatist groups are positive factors boosting consumers' confidence and spending. However, the ongoing southern violence keeps the confidence index below the average of "50". The commerce ministry expressed hopes that the index would be in positive territory in the near future, if the situation trend continues in this manner.
Southern businesses expect improvement in overall trade and investment climate as indicated by the economic confidence index of 41.5 in October versus the 41.0 indicated in the preceding month, and the public safety, or stability confidence index, of 42.4 versus the preceding month's 34.6.