Consumer confidence hits lowest point since 1997 financial crisis

Thailand’s consumer confidence index plunged to lows not seen since the financial crisis of 1997 over concerns of economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said Thursday.

The index in May stood at 44.7 points, falling for the third consecutive month and from 46 points in April, to its lowest reading in more than 22 years.

Consumer confidence was dragged down by the consequences of the ongoing pandemic, coupled with uncertainty around the government’s vaccine roll-out plans, said Thanavath Phonvichai, the President of the Business Forecasting Unit at the UTCC.

Despite the government’s attempts to boost purchasing power, “there are signs of slowdown on people’s spending and in the struggling tourism industry,” Thanavath pointed out.

The UTCC said the consumer index should increase in June after the country starts mass inoculation nationwide, even though the supply might not be sufficient.

However, the risk factor that might undermine consumer confidence in the future is domestic political instability that could lead to more political turmoil, Thanavath warned.

Economic sentiment in May also tumbled to 38.9 points from 40.3 in April. Job opportunity sentiment fell to 41.3 points from 42.9, while the future income index dropped to 53.9  points from 54.7 in the previous month.

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