Trending upwards, but consumer confidence in Thailand still at a 22 year low

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

A leading academic says that despite an upward trend, consumer confidence in Thailand still sits at a 22 year low as a result of the economic impact of Covid-19. Thanavath Phonvichai from the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, says the pandemic’s devastating effects on tourism, employment, and exports, is mostly to blame, coupled with concerns over the ongoing political unrest.

Consumer confidence has improved somewhat in the last month, as a result of stimulus measures from the government and the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions, including the re-opening of bars and nightclubs. The move has slightly boosted confidence in jobs, revenue and the overall economic outlook, but the current political strife is still proving to be a cause for concern. And, despite rising to over 50 points from just over 49 in June, the figure is still the lowest seen in 22 years.

22 years ago Thailand was just starting to recover from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, known in Thailand as the Tom Yam Kung crisis. The Thai baht collapsed after the Thai government was forced to float the baht due to low foreign currency inflows to support its currency, at the time pegged to the US dollar. Capital started flowing out of the country almost immediately, beginning an international chain reaction. At the time, Thailand had acquired a burden of foreign debt that made the country effectively bankrupt even before the collapse of its currency. Most of Southeast Asia and Japan became engulfed with financial contagion and slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and a precipitous rise in private debt.

Thailand has entered into the current financial crisis in much better shape.

While some entertainment businesses have re-opened, others remain shuttered, with the ongoing closure of international borders having a significant impact on tourist hot spots such as Pattaya and Phuket.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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