Business confidence up as tourism, services shine
Business confidence continued to rise in August, boosted by the growing tourism and service sectors.
The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) confidence index, which gauges nationwide business sentiment, climbed to 49.8 points in August, a four-month high after 48.6 in July, 48.4 in June and 47.7 in May -- the month the survey debuted.
According to Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, positive drivers include a growing economy, an unchanged policy rate, improving farm prices and robust tourism.
"The overall Thai economy is growing, as reflected by the TCC confidence index in each region, which has improved," Mr Kalin said. "A clearer general election roadmap will also increase private and foreign investments and reinforce the Thai economy's bright prospects."
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking at its next meeting is expected to raise its economic growth forecast from 4.3-4.8% now, he said.
Mr Kalin said the TCC will propose legal reforms to remove obstacles to trade and services development.
Thailand is becoming an ageing society but still lacks laws to support elderly workers, Mr Kalin said.
In related news, Mr Kalin said escalating trade tensions between the US and China are unlikely to harm Thailand's economic growth.
Instead, he said, the trade row will benefit Thailand in terms of higher exports and growing foreign investment.
Mr Kalin said the visit on Sept 24 by more than 300 members of the US private sector, led by the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, could lead to more US investment here.
Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the new round of US-China tariff hikes will demand a close watch on whether affected products flood into Thailand.
"Thailand has trade measures to curb a flood of foreign products, including anti-dumping and safeguards," she said. "Nonetheless, the trade rows may affect overall world trade to a certain extent. Thai operators, therefore, need to prepare themselves to cope with the impact, particularly for products in the global supply chain."