Consumer confidence hits lowest level since Asian financial crisis

Thailand’s consumer confidence index in August dived further to the lowest point this century aggravated by job uncertainties arising from lockdown measures during the month, the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said Thursday.

The index fell to 39.6 points from 40.9 a month earlier, marking a sixth consecutive month of downturn since March and the lowest level since the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis.

“As a result of the lockdown implementation, the employment situation from consumers’ point of view worsened considerably,” said Thanavath Phonvichai, the president of the university’s Business Forecasting Unit.

Economic activities were halted, damaging employment, Thanavath said. The job opportunity sentiment in August dipped to 36.3 points from 38 a month earlier.

People were still concerned that the economy has been degraded by the Covid-19 crisis both domestically and overseas, he added, which would pressure spending power in the future.

The UTCC also discovered that 72 per cent of survey participants were experiencing increased living costs due to a decrease in income, while 58 per cent saw their job affected by reduced working hours, with some even getting laid off.

After business restrictions were partially eased this month, the UTCC urged the government to relax more control measures to allow businesses to resume, roll out more relief packages to cover all affected individuals, and expedite the vaccine distribution.

“So far, there are no clear signs of recovery,” Thanavath noted.

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