Thai industrial confidence index worst in 23 months

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Thailand’s industrial confidence index (ICI) in September plunged for the last 15 months to its lowest in 23 months due to concerns over floods and political instability, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said today.

FTI president Payungsak Chartsuthipol said the latest ICI survey registered a decline to 90.4 in September from 91.3 in August.

Industrial operators were worried about the flood situation which obstructed manufacturing and transport while the domestic and international economic slowdown, higher production costs, tougher competition and political uncertainty remained negative factors for their businesses, he said.

Manufacturers were pinning their hopes on the government’s investment in infrastructure development which would stimulate the economy and industries, the FTI president said.

Mr Payungsak said industrialists want the government to find loan sources for their business restoration after the flooding, and stabilise the Thai currency movement as well as stimulate the economy to boost domestic consumption.

The government should also strengthen the country’s political stability and maintain energy and electricity prices – the major cost of production.

Surapong Paisitpattanapong, spokesman of the FTI’s Automotive Industry Club, said auto production in September was 194,737 units – below the 200,000 figure for the second month, and a 16.28 per cent decrease from September last year.

September’s auto production was slightly higher than August by 0.86 per cent and the total production in January-September was 1,930,251 units, higher than the same period last year by 11.99 per cent.

Thailand exported 118,253 fully-assembled cars in September – the highest number in the 25 years since exports and the tally began – while exports in the first three quarters of the year reached 847,341 units or 99.88 per cent of the total production for export, he said.

Total export value was Bt383.67 billion, higher than January-September last year by 7.88 per cent.