Confidence index dips for 12th month
published : 11 Dec 2019 at 18:22
writer: Phusadee Arunmas
The government is being urged to rev up budget disbursement and continue introducing more stimulus measures to spur spending as overall business sentiment remains low.
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) reported on Wednesday the business confidence index, a gauge of nationwide business sentiment, fell for the 12th straight month to 45.9 in November, down from 46 in October.
“The world’s economic slowdown remains the key area of concern for the business sector, with exports continuing to fall,” said Thanavath Phonvichai, vice-president of the UTCC.
“Worse still, the disbursement of the state budget remains relatively slow, although fresh stimulus measures were introduced.”
The cabinet last month approved a 144-billion-baht stimulus package aimed at boosting full-year economic growth to 2.8% and maintaining momentum into the first quarter.
The new stimulus measures came after softer than expected third-quarter economic growth of 2.4% year-on-year, slightly improving from 2.3% year-on-year in the second quarter, but lower than 2.8% in the first.
The new stimulus measures include a 14.3-billion-baht upgrade of village infrastructure, in which 71,742 villages under the National Village and Community Fund will receive up to 200,000 baht each. Another measure is the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives’ 50-billion-baht loan scheme with an annual interest rate of 0.01% for three years to members of the National Village and Community Fund, community entrepreneurs, agricultural cooperatives and farmers.
The package includes the 100,000 participants in the Baan Dee Mee Down project receiving cash rebates of 50,000 baht each to ease the burden of buying a home. To be eligible, they must have a monthly income of up to 100,000 baht, or 1.2 million baht a year, and be registered in the Revenue Department’s tax system.
Mr Thanavath said despite relatively low growth of 2.5-2.6% this year, there were positive signs in the second half such as the tourism recovery, which is expected to last until early next year.