December Consumer Confidence Index edges up first time in 5 months: UTCC


BANGKOK, Jan 12 – Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) in all categories in December increased for the first time in five months, according to a survey by the Economic and Business Forecasting Center of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

The confidence index among Thai consumers on the overall economy climbed to 63.1 in December from 61.0 in November, Center Director Thanawat Polvichai announced on Thursday.

The rise was attributed to last year’s worst flood in decades which now returns to normal, post-flood economic rehabilitation measures which are projected to drive the 2012 overall Thai economy to grow by 4-5 per cent as well as more public spending boosted by the New Year festival.

However, the index remained below the benchmark of 100, meaning that the consumers continue to experience a lack of confidence in the overall situation, Dr Thanawat explained.

He added that the December index is also lower than the figure reported prior to the flood crisis because consumers are still concerned about the high cost of living and the fragile global economy affected by the debt crisis in Europe.

Meanwhile, the director predicted that consumption in Thailand will continue at a slow pace until half way through this year’s first quarter.

Dr Thanawat analysed that the speed-up in the post-flood economic rehabilitation, including budget injection for boosting the country’s economy and a flood-prevention plan for this year, will help restore consumer spending and may help the Thai economy to expand by 5-7 per cent.

However, the economic problems in Europe and oil prices should be closely monitored, he warned, explaining that if the problems continue and intensify, Thai exports will be affected immediately.