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Virus to wipe Bt12bn off Chinese New Year spending in Thailand


The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) expects spending over this Chinese New Year to drop by Bt12 billion from 2020, to its lowest level in 13 years.

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The forecast of Bt44.939 billion in spending – a drop of 21.85 per cent from last year – comes from TCC’s nationwide survey of spending behaviour among 1,215 samples conducted on January 25 to February 3.

Chinese New Year falls this Friday (February 12) and has been made an official holiday for the first time in Thailand.

The dramatic fall in holiday spending is due to the impact of the fresh Covid-19 outbreak on people’s income, Thanawat Phonvichai, adviser to the Economic and Business Forecast Centre, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. said on Monday.

However, he predicted the economy and consumer spending will begin to recover at the end of February as the government injects money via relief measures like the “Rao Chana” and “Mor33 Rao Rak Kan” cash handout schemes.

“The drop of Bt12 billion in Chinese New Year spending represents just 0.05-0.07 per cent of gross domestic product, which is very small and won’t have an impact on the economy over the whole year,” Thanawat said.

He forecast economic growth of around 3 per cent if stimulus measures were maintained and 4-6 million foreign tourists visit Thailand in the middle of this year as expected. If not, Thai GDP was expected to grow by 2.5 per cent, he added.

Saowanee Thairungroj, a permanent adviser to the Thai Chamber of Commerce University Council, reported 42 per cent of the survey’s respondents said they would cut their spending this Chinese New Year because of the worsening economy and financial burdens. Meanwhile, 33.2 per cent would spend the same amount as last year, and 24.6 per cent would spend more due to higher prices, better bonuses, or positive career developments during the virus crisis.

Covid-19 and rising product prices were the two main concerns cited by respondents in the survey. Their main hopes for the coming Year of the Ox were for career stability, wealth and good health.

Published : February 09, 2021

By : The Nation