Loy Krathong festival cash circulation set to dip to 5-year low: Survey

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BANGKOK, Nov 8 – The volume of money circulating during the upcoming Loy Krathong festival is forecast to fall to its lowest level in five years resulting from the country’s flood crisis, according to a survey released by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) on Tuesday.

The survey shows that 43 per cent of respondents will not celebrate the traditional Loy Krathong festival, falling on Nov 10 this year, as severe flooding continues and they want to save their money, according to Thanawat Polvichai, director of the UTTC Business Forecasting Center.

As a result, cash circulation during the festival is projected to dive to Bt8.1 billion from Bt9.7 billion in 2010, a 16.5 per cent decline. Average spending is likely to amount to Bt1,225 per person, dropping from an average of Bt1,390 per person last year.

The projected slow circulation hits its record low since 2007, particularly among residents in the capital and its vicinity.

Without the flood emergency, cash in circulation had been expected to rise to Bt10.7 billion, up 10.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, 49 per cent of those planning to celebrate Loy Krathong believe this year’s overall atmosphere is less joyful than ever before due to anxieties about the severe flooding and the sluggish economy, as well as the rising cost of living.

However, the centre expected that Loy Krathong in provinces such as Chon Buri and Chiang Mai will remain lively and joyful as usual.

Loy Krathong falls on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, coinciding with Nov 10 this year.

Thai people across the country also enjoy celebrating the Loy Krathong festival and floating krathongs, hand-made rafts carrying flowers, candles and incense, into the rivers to carry out their bad luck to the sea.

Dr Thanawat added that the country’s worst flood in decades hurt the overall Thai economy, valued at Bt350-450 billion. The cost of damage will go higher if the rest of at-risk industrial estates are submerged.

Meanwhile, the damages to assets were estimated at Bt700 billion to one trillion baht, but, data regarding flood-induced damage assessments will be revised on Nov 10.

Owing to the country’s economic slowdown, the centre projected that the Thai economy will recover in the first quarter of 2012, in response to the government’s rehabilitation measures, Dr Thanawat said.