Consumer confidence down on covid fears

Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Index in March fell to 48.5 points from 49.4 points in February over fears from a new wave of Covid-19 and political instability, a forecaster said Thursday.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, which measures the index, said that economic growth could drop by 2 per cent if the spreads of the disease did not come under control.

The index declined after positive sentiment in the first three months of the year, said Thanawat Phonvichai, the President of University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Thanawat said that the main negative factors were from the government’s restriction for the Songkran festival and concerns over the Covid-19 infections.

The newest wave of outbreak has not been factored into the new index numbers.

“The new clusters from Bangkok venues will likely shrink public spending around 5-10 per cent, or 1-2 billion baht per day,” he predicted, saying that it will cost the country between 30 to 50 billion baht a month.

The UTCC said that if Thailand could contain the virus’ spread within two months, the consumer confidence index is expected to perk up again from June.

However, if the situation gets worst and still unresolved in two months, Thanawat forecasts that the economy would grow at only 2 per cent, down from the current projection of the UTCC of 2.8 per cent.

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