Thailand: Sentiment down 4 months in a row

  • Consumer sentiment plunged for the fourth straight month in Apr 22, hitting the lowest level in eight months, as consumers remained concerned about rising costs of living and high oil prices caused by the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) reported 10 May 22 the consumer confidence index fell to 40.7 in Apr 22 from 42 in Mar 22, 43.3 in Feb 22 and 44.8 in Jan 22.
  • An index lower than 100 points reflects weak purchasing power based on a slow economic recovery.
  • Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the UTCC, said consumers were less confident and more cautious about spending because of growing concerns about rising costs of living and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, which might drive global oil prices and production costs to increase further.
  • Such negative factors could pressure the recovery pace of global economic growth and have negative effects on Thai exports and the overall economy in the future, he said.
  • According to Mr Thanavath, the continuous rise in oil prices and expensive product prices had adversely affected both present and future consumer sentiment.
  • The government is being urged to extend the “Khon La Khrueng” co-payment subsidy scheme in Jun 22 to help shore up the domestic economy, particularly as consumer spending power remains fragile because of rising costs of living and higher oil prices.
  • Initiated in Oct 20, the scheme offers payments of 50% on food, drink and general goods purchases for participants, with the total subsidy limited to THB150 per person per day.
  • The fourth phase of the scheme ended on 30 Apr 22.
  • The government has also been recommended to continue its energy subsidy scheme to cap retail diesel prices at THB35 per litre to help reduce the cost of living.
  • “We see the Thai economy as tending to slow down and have yet to see signs of recovery,” said Mr Thanavath.

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