Fri, July 01, 2022

business

Spending over Songkran to hit lowest in 10 years: survey


Total spending over next week’s Songkran holiday could fall to the lowest in a decade, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) warns.

Spending on travel, goods and services over Songkran will pump about 106.7 billion baht into the economy, down 5.4 per cent from the same period last year, according to a UTCC survey.

“Compared to the Songkran festival in 2019, before the Covid-19 situation, the estimated cash flow this year is down 21.4 per cent and could be the lowest in the past 10 years,” said Thanawat Pholwichai, director of the UTCC Centre for Economy and Business Forecasting on Thursday.

The survey showed that 64 per cent of respondents were worried about rising living costs as prices of products and fuel increase. They said this would prompt them to save up money instead of indulging in spending sprees during the holiday.

“45.1 per cent of respondents said they expected to spend less on Songkran this year compared to the previous year,” Thanawat added.

The UTCC estimates the Thai economy will grow 3-4 per cent this year, higher than estimates made by other institutes. It cited a gradual return to normality as people learned to live with Covid-19 due to the milder symptoms and lower death rate of the Omicron variant.

“Also, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war will start to ease from the second quarter, after which Thailand’s exports are expected to grow 4-5 per cent due to rising global demand,” Thanawat said.

Other factors pushing economic expansion this year include the government’s easing of restrictions on foreign arrivals to boost tourism, and economic stimulus campaigns such as the “Let’s Go Halves” spending programme, phase 5 of which is expected to start in June and generate 45 billion baht in cash flow to the economy.

On fuel, the centre said the oil price will have no significant effect on the Thai economy if it does not exceed US$100 per barrel. The UTCC is confident the oil price will remain below that mark this year, after the United States last week announced it was releasing 1 million barrels per day from its reserve over the next six months to make up for the loss of Russian oil from global markets amid the Ukraine conflict.

Published : April 08, 2022

By : THE NATION