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Consumer confidence dips again


ALTHOUGH consumer confidence has declined for five consecutive months, it is expected to recover in the second half of this year, thanks to the government’s infrastructure-development projects and recovering crop prices, particularly rubber, according to

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The Consumer Confidence Index has been sliding for five straight months, and inched down from 72.7 points in April to 72.6 last month. A level below 100 reflects weak consumer sentiment.
“The small decline in consumer confidence is a good sign, reflecting that consumers are not highly concerned about negative factors affecting the economy and expect it to grow steadily, resulting in higher consumer confidence in the near future,” Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the university’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said yesterday.
The UTCC has retained its forecast that gross domestic product will grow by 2.5-3.5 per cent this year.
Thanavath said key factors shoring up confidence would be the government’s infrastructure investment projects and rising crop prices, mainly of rubber, benefiting local economies.
Last month, the negative factors hitting confidence were weakening export growth, rising fuel prices, concerns about uncertain global economic growth, and the impact of drought on economic expansion. Based on a survey of 2,248 respondents, the confidence index for the future rose from 88.5 in April to 89 in May.
Continued low confidence is bad news for the retail industry, as consumers believe it is the worst time in four months to buy a new house and the worst in six months to buy a new car.
Last month, people also did not want to invest in or start up a business or even go anywhere, as confidence in those activities was at its lowest level in six and a half years.
The UTCC found the index on future income outlook increased slightly from 88.5 points in April to 89 in May, but the index on future employment opportunity decreased from 68 to 67.7.
Meanwhile, a separate survey by the UTCC found that spending during the upcoming Euro 2016 soccer tournament would decrease by 19.6 per cent from Euro 2014 to Bt76.54 billion because of the sluggish economy and fewer purchases of electrical appliances.
Wachara Kuntaweethep, assistant director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said the spending would be mainly on gambling, estimated at nearly Bt58 billion, and the rest for food and partying (Bt14.8 billion), for electrical appliances and satellite television fees (Bt2.38 billion), and other expenses (Bt1.45 billion).
He said that as most of the spending during the soccer tournament would be on betting, this entailed high risk as it would cause more indebtedness to loan sharks and crime.

Published : June 09, 2016

By : PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI THE N