BANGKOK(NNT)-COVID-19 has resulted in last months’ consumer confidence index falling to the lowest in 21 years and seven months, but the Thai Chamber of Commerce believes a relaxation of lockdown measures, coupled with government stimuli, can still reinvigorate the domestic economy.
A consumer confidence survey, conducted in April revealed downward movement across the board for the 14th month in a row, resulting in the lowest rating in 21 years and seven months, or since the index began. The figure dropped from 50.3 points the previous month to 47.2 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and its present and future impacts on the Thai economy, as well as rising unemployment.
The President of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), Asst. Prof. Dr. Thanavath Phonvichai, said the Thai economy is entering a recession after experiencing negative growth for a third quarter in a row and positive growth is only expected from the fourth quarter this year onward. The forecast is based on the expectation that businesses will restart at the end of the year and 400 billion baht in government stimuli will begin to enter the economy in August, helping to offset a projected contraction of 8.8 percent. The contraction is now believed to be between 3.5 and 5.5 percent.
According to the UTCC President, the pandemic has removed an estimated 50 percent from the normal 600 billion baht in circulation, but up to 200 billion baht is expected to return if more business restrictions are lifted on May 17. The Thai economy is expected to show clear recovery in the second quarter of 2021.