Manufacturing declines slightly but overall economy has improved

Thailand’s manufacturing production index (MPI) continued to drop in February, falling 1.08 per cent to 99.68 points versus a year earlier due to lower oil production, the Office of Industrial Economics reported Wednesday.

The industrial output figure of February was lower than Reuters’ forecast of a 0.1 per cent rise. In January and December, the MPI fell 2.8 and 2.44 per cent year-on-year, respectively.

“Due to the recent Covid-19 infections in February, the government imposed containment measures in some areas, affecting economic activity and domestic demand was stagnated,” said OIE chief Thongchai Chawalitpichaet.

Capacity utilization across industries in February stood at 65.08 per cent, down from 66.6 percent the month earlier.

The national production of sugar, electronics components, cars, plastic pellets, and steel increased but was not enough to turn the output positive as oil refinery production softened.

Bank of Thailand

The country’s central bank said Wednesday that the economy had gradually improved in February but still needed support from government’s stimulus schemes to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Private consumption, private investment, and public spending all increased thanks to a recovery in economic activities, said the central bank.

However, the bank said that the contraction in the tourism sector remained high due to travel restrictions on foreign tourist arrivals, which was vital to the nation’s economic recovery in the future.

The central bank said that labor markets remained vulnerable as reflected by increasing jobless ratio claims in the social security system.

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