New Year spending expected to reach several billion baht, highest in 7 years

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BANGKOK, Dec 24 – Thailand’s spending during the New Year period is expected to reach several billions of baht, which will be the highest amount in seven years, according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce University’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center.

Center director Thanawat Polvichai said a survey on Thais’ consumption behaviour during the festive season recently conducted demonstrated that spending would reach some Bt105 billion, a 15.6 per cent increase year-on-year.

Factors driving such result include the public’s less concern on the US and EU economies, the government’s support on the rice pledging scheme, the Bt300 minimum wage, and the ‘first-time carbuyer’ tax refund policy.

However, Dr Thanawat said the public are still careful in spending due to some worries on the country’s economic situation. They would buy the same amount of goods but with higher value.

Those surveyed said they are planning their expenses on parties (29 per cent), followed by merit-making, buying consumer goods, luxury merchandise, durable products, and tourism.

Some 89 per cent of those voting for tourism said they plan to travel in Thailand with a forecast expense of about Bt49 billion. The rest, some 11 per cent, will travel abroad with expected spending of Bt27 billion.

Some 71 per cent said the Thai economy next year will improve slightly at 4-5 per cent with internal politics, particularly the referendum issue, regarded as one of the risk factors.

What the public worries most about during the New Year celebration is road accidents, traffic, insufficient pubic transport, and higher consumer goods prices.

When asked which politician they most wished to give a New Year’s present, some 53 per cent said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, followed by opposition Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, and the outspoken Chuwit Kamolvisit.