April consumer confidence at highest in seven months

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BANGKOK, May 2 – Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) last month reached its highest point since last year’s flood crisis, while the cost of living hit a 21 month peak, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Forecast of the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

Director Thanawat Polvichai said the CCI stood at 77.6 in April, up from 76.6 in March as a result of the economic recovery after the mega flood.

Thai consumers hope the country’s economy and income will improve in the future due to the government’s economic stimulus measures, the Bt300 minimum wage rise, and public spending during the recent Songkran holiday.

However, Dr Thanawat said the CCI was still below 100, which demonstrated that consumers were still uncertain regarding the country’s overall status, particularly economic recovery after the floods and the possibility of renewed flooding this year.

Other reasons included their concern regarding the higher cost of living, likely in conjunction with possible higher energy prices and political uncertainty amid global economic volatility due to the current Eurozone debt crisis.

Dr Thanawat noted that the Consumer Confidence Index when considered with future income moved up to a higher position from 95.9 to 97.1.

Nonetheless, worries continue on several issues such as future employment due to uncertain economic situations, the minimum wage rise which might drive some employers to lay off workers, and the high cost of living.

The centre forecast that public consumption will slow down until the second quarter of this year.

Dr Thanawat advised the government to speed up its measures to revive the economy and to assure maintaining energy prices and the cost of living maintain at an appropriate level.