Consumer confidence fell for a third straight month, to the lowest point in six months, in September due to worries about the country's economic prospects, the rising cost of living, ongoing floods in several provinces, political unrest and the global economic slowdown.
The consumer confidence index fell to 77 points in September, down from 77.9 points in August and 78.1 in July, according to the survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce's Center for Economic and Business Forecasting.
An index below 100 points indicates consumers are more pessimistic than optimistic about the economy's prospects.
Thanavath Phonvichai, UTCC's vice-president for research, said possible floods and political unrest have hurt confidence. Other factors were the Ministry of Finance cutting its growth forecast to 5.5% this year from 5.7%, exports contracting in August, oil prices and inflation rising, the global economic downturn and continued unrest in Thailand's Deep South.
Positive factors include the central bank monetary committee keeping the key policy rate unchanged at 3%, continuing government stimulus measures, the decline in the diesel price and gains in the Stock Exchange of Thailand in September.
Mr Thanavath said consumer consumption is expected to remain stable or slightly expand in the final quarter, as they are waiting for a clear sign on the economic impact from the risks mentioned earlier.
"Consumer consumption will depend largely on how fast the government accelerates budget disbursement, stabilises political disunity and manages potential flooding problems," he said, adding that the centre forecasts the world's economy will remain sluggish until the middle of next year.
The centre maintains its Thai growth forecast at 5% to 5.5% this year and 4.5% to 5% next year.
The world economy will grow within a range of 1.9% to 2.4% next year, leading Thai exports to grow by only 5-10% next year, he added.
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