Thailand: CRC urges support for stimulus measures

The public and private sectors are being urged to support domestic consumption stimulus plans to boost economic growth, cash flow, and funding support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the retail and service industries.

“Continuous support measures such as the ‘Khon La Khrueng’ co-payment scheme and the stimulation of high-spending consumers via the ‘Shop Dee Mee Khuen’ tax rebate scheme are needed to boost domestic consumption to raise economic growth and cash flow and strengthen SMEs,” said Yol Phokasub, chief executive of Central Retail Corporation Plc (CRC), the SET-listed retail arm of Central Group.

“Funding support to over 2.4 million SMEs in the retail and service sector is also essential by accelerating expansion and access to the digital supply chain financing scheme.”

Mr Yol also proposed that doing business in the retail and service sector be made easier as the industry is considered an important growth engine in driving Thailand’s economic recovery. The sector accounts for 34% of the nation’s GDP and employs 13 million people.

He added that Thailand also needs to stimulate the tourism industry by attracting high-potential traveller segments from international markets, including those on workations, long-term resident visas, and health tourism segments.

In addition, Mr Yol said that along with boosting domestic spending by supporting the Phuket free port scheme, which would truly elevate Phuket as a shopping paradise for travellers, Thailand should be seen as Southeast Asia’s investment hub, as the country has abundant resources which reinforce its competitive edge in the region.

Thailand is also set to host Apec in November this year, which is considered an important opportunity to welcome international leaders, creating positive effects at the macroeconomic level, Mr Yol said.

“To drive economic recovery, the public sector must closely monitor risk factors and promptly resolve issues through support measures and the implementation of policies,” said Mr Yol. “During this time, it is a crucial moment for the Thai and global economies to rise above the challenges with strength and collective efforts across public institutions, private organisations, and the people to drive sustainable and long-term growth for the nation.”

In a related development, Mr Yol expects the company’s third-quarter results to show a strong performance, powered by growth in the construction materials market and an increase in in-store traffic.

Double-digit growth in online and omnichannel sales, the launch of new business models such as Tops Club, the group’s new supermarket model offering imported consumer goods and premium products, and the return of Thai and international tourists, will all be key drivers for the company’s business prospects in the third quarter.

“Long-holiday travel also witnessed a strong comeback at the beginning of the third quarter along with an increasing number of international flights, fuelling robust economic growth for the Thai market and laying the foundations for CRC to successfully achieve substantial revenue growth by the end of 2022,” Mr Yol said.

However, he noted that CRC continues to operate the business with prudence as there are a number of economic risk factors which require close monitoring.

The risk factors include global inflation, rising oil prices, household debt, the weakening baht, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, and rising US interest rates, which caused the American economy to slow down and impacted businesses worldwide.

CRC has implemented measures to manage expenses and cash flow, with a continued focus on investments to expand the business as the firm foresees a strong recovery for the Thai economy in the long term, along with the return of local and international tourists.