Consumer confidence rose for a third straight month in December, hitting a 15-month high, as concerns about global and domestic economic prospects eased.
The consumer confidence index climbed to 80.2 points last month from 79.1 in November and 77.8 in October, according to a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce's Center for Economic and Business Forecasting.
The overall economic index came in at 70.6 points, up from 69.4 in November, while the index for job opportunities registered 71.7 points, up from 71.2.
The index on future income increased to 98.3 points from 96.8.
However, a score of less than 100 points still indicates pessimism about the domestic outlook, job opportunities and future income.
A minimum reading of 100 points indicates respondents expect conditions to improve.
Centre head Thanavath Phonvichai said the rise in the confidence index stems from improved domestic spending, higher exports and growing tourism.
The centre asked 2,243 respondents how they saw domestic economic conditions and which factors affected their views.
Mr Thanavath said despite consumer confidence rising for three straight months, the rate has yet to reach pre-flood-crisis levels.
If no negative factors such as political strife, natural disasters or global economic volatility come into play, then the consumer confidence index should reach 100 points again late this year, he said.
The centre forecast Thai economic growth of 4-5% this year, with an inflation rate of 3.5%.
However, Mr Thanavath said the centre remains concerned about the effect of the nationwide hike in the daily minimum wage to 300 baht, domestic politics and the rising cost of living.
The 300-baht wage took effect on Jan 1, pushing up wages in some provinces as much as 35% on top of a jump of 40% nationwide last April.
The wage increase was part of the ruling Pheu Thai Party's platform in the July 2011 general election.
The government has also introduced price controls and extended subsidies on transport and utilities to hold down living costs.
About the author
- Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter