Thailand: Consumer mood dips for first time in 7 months: survey

  • Thailand’s consumer sentiment dropped for the first time in seven months in Feb 18 as shoppers were worried about the political situation, low commodity prices and the baht’s strength, a private survey showed on 8 Mar 18.
  • The index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 79.3 in Feb 18 from 80.0 in Jan 18.
  • Some consumers thought an increase in minimum wages could slow economic growth, the university said in a statement.
  • It said with higher costs, firms might seek to replace workers with technologies, resulting in job losses. The university said that if there was a more broad-based economic recovery in 2Q18 and consumers have more confidence in the political situation, spending could improve in the 2H18.
  • Private consumption accounts for half of the economy, but has been restrained by household debt, which is about 80% of gross domestic product. However, strong exports and tourism helped lift growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to 3.9%, the fastest pace in five years, from 3.3% in 2016.

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