Special Report: New Year spending upped this year despite protest

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According to an annual survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, year-end spending will exceed 100 billion this year.

The UTCC’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre expected spending during the New Year period to increase by 5.6 percent to 111.7 billion baht. The center had earlier predicted spending would be more robust but domestic demand has reportedly been hampered by political tension, rising living costs and higher transport fees.

Based on a UTCC survey of 1,188 respondents conducted from December 15-22, spending on domestic travelling is estimated at 50.61 billion baht, with 28.84 billion allotted for overseas travelling.

Bangkok residents are forecast to spend 53.98 billion baht, while those in other provinces are projected to spend 57.77 billion. On average, Thai consumers will spend 11,816 baht per person during the New Year festivities, up from the 11,472 per person last year.

Gift-buying, merit-making ceremonies and New Year parties will continue to take place despite dampened business sentiment this year.

Last year’s spending was estimated at 105.82 billion baht.

The center noted that the majority of respondents expressed their view that the Thai economy was in poor condition and plan to be cautious about spending next year.

The UTCC concluded, however, that the Election Commission’s approval to extend the diesel excise tax reduction scheme for another month will boost economic expansion in the first quarter of next year by lowering the operation costs of businesses and stabilize the transport sector.