The relaxation of COVID-19 measures and the vaccination uptake have led to improvements in consumer confidence. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) in September increased for the first time in 7 months.
The UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting (CEBF) said the consumer confidence score rose to 48.9 in September from 46.7 in August, thanks to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in 29 dark-red provinces. The combined economic size of these provinces accounts for 80% of the national GDP.
With consumers and businesses now spending more money, the CEBF cautioned that the flood disaster and oil price increase will cause a negative psychological effect that will continue to prevent the CCI from bouncing back to the normal score of 100. This indicates consumers’ lack of confidence in the economy.
The rebounding CCI has contradicted the views from the business sector, where the Thai Chamber of Commerce Confidence Index (TCC-CI) from the same period continued to fall for six straight months to 19.4.
The CEBF reported this downward trajectory was due to difficulties businesses have had to face from lower liquidity and weakening purchasing power, all caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and flooding.
The effects from these crises are most pronounced in the agricultural sector, while the increase of oil prices also played a role.
The UTCC President Thanawat Polvichai said the flooding disaster, which is now affecting more provinces, will cause around 15-25 billion baht worth of damage.
He said the increasing oil prices should be monitored closely, despite the decision to cap the maximum retail price for Diesel at 30 baht per liter.
The center anticipates the improving COVID-19 situation and funding from local election campaigns will help stimulate the economy throughout the remainder of this year, however, the government still needs to plan additional economic measures, so as to achieve the annual economic growth of between 1 and 1.5%. (NNT)