By The Nation
The fall of 2.2 points from February’s 90.2 came after the government ordered department stores and venues to close and announced a state of emergency to contain the spread of the virus.
“This move hit consumption of both goods and services, and left businesses facing declines in production and distribution, as well as transportation delays,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the severe drought has brought a shortage of raw materials in the agricultural product processing industry, causing buying power in agriculture to drop.”
The Index is compiled from a survey of 1,026 entrepreneurs covering 45 industrial groups nationwide. This month’s Index showed that 67.3 percent of entrepreneurs were concerned about the global economy as their trading partners may affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, causing orders from overseas to decline.
“Meanwhile, 49.3 percent of entrepreneurs were concerned about the political situation in the country after the government issued relief measures to help entrepreneurs affected by the outbreak,” Suphan said.
“Factors relieving concern among entrepreneurs are the currency exchange rate [baht/dollar], highlighted by 42.3 percent of entrepreneurs; the oil price, highlighted by 31.7 percent; and the loan interest rate, highlighted by 18.8 per cent.”
He forecast the Industrial Confidence Index will drop to a 10-year low over the next three months as entrepreneurs worry about liquidity and business rehabilitation amid the lingering Covid-19 crisis.
“Over 200 entrepreneurs declined to answer the questionnaire, saying they needed more time to adjust their businesses to cope with the Covid-19 impact,” he said. “It has been a long time since the index fell in all areas, all regions and all industry sizes.
He advised the government to give entrepreneurs tax breaks on their efforts to curb the pandemic, to promote the country's e-commerce platform to support new consumer behaviour after the Covid-19 crisis, and to procure goods from Thai manufacturers.