The last time Thailand’s optimism was negative was in the first quarter of last year. However, that drop was not as significant as some of its neighbours; Indonesia dropped from 60 per cent to 36 per cent, Malaysia declined sharply from minus-5 per cent to minus-28 per cent and Singapore suffered a huge drop from 32 per cent to minus-14 per cent. Only in the Philippines did business confidence increase within the region, from 78 per cent to 86 per cent.
Every sub-category for Thailand dropped in the third quarter too, except one, which stayed the same. Selling price expectation dropped from 34 per cent to minus-2 per cent, export expectation form 22 per cent to minus-4 per cent, investment in plant and machinery from 34 per cent to minus-4 per cent, and employment expectation from 42 per cent to 4 per cent.
The major constraints cited by Thailand’s businesses were perhaps unsurprisingly economic uncertainty (58 per cent) and shortage of orders (50 per cent). Improving sales-force effectiveness and incentivising productivity improvements are the growth initiatives that Thai businesses are most likely to implement.
Andrew McBean, partner at Grant Thornton in Thailand and a specialist in Asean markets, said the third quarter had been rough for businesses in the region, which puts Thailand’s own decline in to some perspective.
Malaysia’s domestic issues concerning Prime Minister Najib Razak are exacerbating other concerns there such as China’s slowdown, the likely rise in US interest rates, weak commodity prices and declining domestic spending. The World Bank recently downgraded economic-growth forecasts in Malaysia to 4.7 per cent for this year and next.
Published : October 27, 2015
By : The Nation