Thailand: Consumer confidence at 20-month high in November

Thai consumer confidence rose for a sixth straight month in November, reaching a 20-month high, boosted by improved economic activity following the easing of Covid-19 curbs and higher foreign tourist arrivals, a survey showed on Thursday.

The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) rose to 47.9 points in November from 46.1 in October.

A steady rise in all confidence indices showed that consumers were more confident that Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy had started to recover, it said.

The economy is expected to grow 3.2% to 3.3% this year, and 3.5% to 4.0% next year, university president Thanavath Phonvichai told a briefing.

“Spending during the new year should be close to normal, at about 100 billion baht (US$2.88 billion),” he said.

The economy will continue to be driven by the vital tourism sector, which should see 10 million foreign tourist arrivals this year and at least 20 million to 22 million next year, he said.

In pre-pandemic 2019, there were nearly 40 million foreign tourists who spent 1.91 trillion baht.

Thailand’s election by May next year is expected to see at least 40 billion baht in spending, adding to economic growth of 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point, Mr Thanavath said.