Consumer confidence hits 9-month high in June

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BANGKOK, July 4 – Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) in June rose to 78.6 from 72.6 last October, marking its highest level in nine months since the megaflood last October, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) reported.

The improvement in the index was attributed to the country’s eased political atmosphere and lower oil prices, UTCC Rector Saowanee Thairungroj explained Wednesday.

In addition, the confidence index among Thai consumers on the overall economy also hit a nine-month high, rebounding from 62.5 in October to 68.5 in June.

However, consumers remain concerned about the risks of domestic politics as well as the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis which might impact economic expansion, exports in particular, Dr Saowanee said.

Meanwhile, the university’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting projects that this year’s exports will grow only in the range of eight to nine per cent, lower than the 15 per cent projected by the commerce ministry.

Although Thai exports to European markets are only 10 per cent of total exports, the country’s exports may experience possible indirect impact, particularly regarding exports to China and other markets which are major exporters to European countries.

The rector expressed confidence that domestic spending, resumed post-flood industrial operations, more private investment as well as the  country’s economic stability would favour growth by an average of 5.7 per cent.

In the meantime, the government must invest in the country’s basic infrastructure in order to boost Thailand’s competitiveness in preparation for economic integration into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

In the second half of this year, the UTCC foresees an improved Consumer Confidence Index rebounding to pre-flood levels. Political factors, however, have not been taken into account.

Dr Saowanee noted that the Thai economy has been dramatically recovering from last year’s devastating flood, which should continue unless political disturbances arise.