Business sentiment hits 15-month low

Thanawat Ponvichai - Director of UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting.
Thanawat Ponvichai – Director of UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting.

Bangkok – The University of the Thai Chambers of Commerce (UTCC) has released the May 2019 TCC Confidence Index, showing results from a survey of 370 Thai Chambers of Commerce members nationwide.

The Index figure in May 2019 is recorded at 47.7, which is the lowest in 15 months, with lower indication scores in all regions including Bangkok and neighbouring provinces. Consumption and investment performance has decelerated due to concerns regarding the forming of a new government, low farm product pricing affecting purchasing power, and the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China affecting the Thai exports sector, the industrial sector, and trading sector.

UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting Director Thanawat Ponvichai has described the Thai economy, especially local economies, as not robust, with farm product pricing becoming an issue in all regions, with only the tourism and service sectors in the eastern and northern regions performing above the median value of 50, indicating that the tourism industry is the key economic driver at the moment.

He said positive attributes can now be seen from improving farm product pricing in June, such as rice, palm oil, and rubber, while the establishment of the new government should lead to implementation of economic stimuli, especially disbursements of investment budgets, resulting in more hiring and procurement in various areas, as well as farm product price control measures. All of this is expected to help the Thai economy to grow by 3.8-4 percent in the latter half of 2019, pushing the annual growth this year to come in at 3.5 percent.