Industrial sentiment rises amid eased restrictions and economic stimulus

Thailand’s industrial sentiment index in March rose to 87.3 points from 85.1 a month earlier backed by improvement in manufacturing across sectors and regions, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) reported Tuesday.

“Easing restriction measures and economic stimulus has boosted spending and consumption inside the country,” said FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree, pointing to the situation in March prior to the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

The three-month sentiment index in March, looking ahead to the likely situation up to June, increased to 94 points from 92 in February, as anticipated global vaccines distribution is set to boost confidence among businesses.

Addressing the current outbreak in April, Supant suggested the Thai economy would lose around 100 billion baht if a one-month lockdown is imposed in high-risk areas, with the service sector being hit the hardest and contracted consumption, except for the export sector that could grow from oversea factors.

“Even though lockdowns may put the economy in the opposite direction, if [we] do not, the damage will still be going on,” said Supant.

He added that the private sector is preparing to present guidance on vaccination to the prime minister, including the provision of additional doses, providing more vaccination spots, and building confidence of Thais to get vaccinated.

Car exports

Thailand’s car exports in March totalled 104,506 units, jumping 16.38 per cent from March 2020 and 31.50 per cent from February, and the highest total in 24 months, said FTI vice-chairman Surapong Paisitpatanapong and automotive club spokesman.

The rise resulted from growth in sales volume and recovery in trade partners’ economies compared to the previous year, Surapong said.

For the first three months of 2021, Thailand saw 258,108 units of car exports, a 3-per-cent rise from 2020, yielding an export value of 143.08 billion baht, up 11.05 per cent year-on-year.

Car production in March rose 10.70 per cent year-on-year to and 4.71 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 162,515 units. The first-quarter figure stood at a total of 465,833 units, up 2.68 year-on-year.

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