Consumer confidence index at its lowest point since the 1997/98 economic crisis

Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Index plunged to 46 points in April from 48.5 points in March, the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said in a press release on Thursday.

The UTCC, which compiles the monthly reports, said that the index was its lowest since October 1998 due to the impact of the latest Covid-19 pandemic.

“Consumers are concerned about the fragile economic situation following the third wave of the outbreak, causing consecutive four-digit daily cases and double-digit fatalities each day,” said Thanavath Phonvichai, the President of the Business Forecasting Unit.

“The economy has been hit by semi-lockdown restriction orders which have lowered people’s spending.”

The UTCC predicts that the latest outbreak would cost Thailand 300-450 billion baht in the second quarter and could get worse if the situation is out of control. The survey shows sales revenue of retailers continuously dropping since the new wave.

“There is a chance that the gross domestic product growth will grow only 0-1.5 per cent,” Thanavath said.

The current GDP growth forecast from the UTCC is 2.5-3 per cent but that may be subject to change.

On the government’s relief measure announced on Wednesday, Thanavath warned that stimulus packages of around 100 billion in the second quarter will likely be insufficient to sustain the economic downfall.

He suggested a boost of up to 200-300 billion baht.

Economic sentiment in April also fell to 40.3 points from 42.5 in March. Job opportunity sentiment declined to 42.9 points from 45.3, while the future income index dipped to 54.7 points from 57.7 the previous month.

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