Thai consumer confidence at 7-month high in August

THAI consumer confidence rose for a third straight month in August, reaching a 7-month high and bolstered by improved economic activity following an easing of pandemic curbs, a survey showed on Tuesday (Sep 13).

The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce rose to 43.7 in August from 42.4 in the previous month.

The steady rise of consumer confidence suggested a clear recovery in South-east Asia’s second-largest economy with growth expected at 3.0 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year, university president Thanavath Phonvichai told a briefing.

“Consumers felt they were making more money and business was more active following a reopening to foreign tourists and resumed night business,” he said.

The return of night entertainment had added a monthly 50 billion baht (S$1.9 billion) to the economy, he said.

Consumer spending is expected to increase significantly from late in the third quarter, he said, also helped by wage increases.

Increased exports and a rebound in the vital tourism sector, particularly during the travel season in the final quarter of the year, will continue to drive growth, he said.

The number of foreign arrivals could reach 12 million this year, with 1.5 to 2 million tourists expected in each month of the final quarter, he said.

That compared with only 428,000 foreign arrivals last year and nearly 40 million in 2019, before the pandemic.

The impact of floods in some areas is expected to be limited, Thanavath said. REUTERS