Industrial sentiment falls to 15-month low

Thailand’s industrial sentiment index in August tumbled for a fifth straight month to the lowest since May 2020 as tight restrictions were imposed that month, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said Wednesday.

The index, based on a survey of 1,395 businesses across sectors, declined to 76.8 points from 78.9 points a month earlier.

“Lockdown measures throughout the entire August have slowed the country’s economic activities,” FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree told a briefing.

“Covid-19 clusters inside industrial plants remained unresolved,” he added, warning that the infections have pressured production capacity and product delivery.

According to the survey, manufacturers were concerned about the vaccine roll-out for industrial workers that fell short of expectations, as well as a problem of liquidity among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Political instability was also addressed as one of the negative factors in the FTI’s survey.

The three-month sentiment index for the likely situation up to November, however, rose to 90.9 points from 89.3 a month earlier as the industry anticipated less strict Covid-19 control measures and higher vaccination rates.

“Hopefully, the situation will not escalate to the point when lockdown measures are required again,” Supant said.

Financial assistance for SMEs

The FTI, in collaboration with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), and the state-owned Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank), has prepared around 40 billion baht in credit support to assist businesses in supply chains, with the goal of injecting liquidity into over 10,000 firms.

“The FTI along with its members will jointly assist those suppliers, particularly SMEs, as much as possible in order to overcome the Covid-19 crisis together,” said the statement.

The assistance measures will include low interest rates, reduced fees, and no demand of loan collateral, for which conditions will vary depending on each financial institution.

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