Thailand’s industrial sentiment in February lowest in 57 months

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BANGKOK, March 24 – The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in March plunged to its lowest point in 57 months following concerns over political uncertainty, while domestic sales of automobiles in the first three months of 2014 have dropped 45.8  per cent due to the end of the government’s First Car Buyer Scheme.  

Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Supant Monkolsuthree said that a survey of 1,107 firms from 42 industrial clusters indicated that last month’s TISI plunged to 84.7, one point down from 85.7 in February, to its lowest in almost five years due to reduced domestic consumption as a result of prolonged political instabilities.

Mr Supant noted that decreased domestic consumption has led to declining sales and orders.

Operators are unable to readjust the prices of products despite the increased cost of production.  Escalating political turmoil may further affect the country’s competitiveness in the long run and the country’s preparation for initiation of the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015. 

The new FTI chairman advised the government to introduce measures to boost the country’s dampened economy.

However, Mr Supant said that the TISI forecast in the three month period will rise from 98.4 in February to 99.1 following an increase in orders, sales, production and output.

Meanwhile, sales of cars in the first three month of 2014 fell by 45.8 per cent year-on-year to 224,171 units, while sales of motorcycles fell 21.35 per cent to 431,795 units. 

However, exports of motorcycles increased 1.25 per cent at 291,509 units, with an export value of more than Bt100 billion, a rise of 7.43 per cent. The export value of cars and motorcycles in Q1 was Bt215.4 billion, up 9 per cent.

The country produced total of 205,041 in the first three months of 2014, a year-on-year decrease of 28.28 per cent.

FTI, however, has not readjusted this year’s production figures, earlier set at 2.4 million units, to be distributed to both domestic and international markets. The country’s political instabilities have prompted a sales decline of more than 30 per cent and the country will focus more on exporting these vehicles.