March consumer sentiment hits record low as virus impact deepens

March consumer sentiment hits record low as virus impact deepens

Consumer confidence tumbled to a record low in March, a university survey showed on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic hurt economic activity and spending.

The consumer confidence index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce plunged to 50.3 in March from 64.8 the previous month, for the lowest reading since the survey began in October 1998 during the Asian financial crisis.

The impact of Covid-19 on Thailand is at least "as severe as" the Asian financial crisis, university president Thanavath Phonvichai told a briefing.

The economic impact could reach 1.5 trillion baht in the first half, with tourism and consumption taking a hit, he said.

The economy might shrink 4% to 6% this year to stand at its weakest since 1998, with a technical recession expected in the second quarter, Mr Thanavath said.

The government's $58-billion economic package will help, but consumer spending will remain weak for months, he added.

Thailand, with 2,423 infections and 32 deaths since its virus outbreak began in January, has imposed a night curfew nationwide, after having closed malls to limit the spread. 

Do you like the content of this article?

Xi to join European climate summit, as Kerry in China for talks

SHANGHAI - Chinese President Xi Jinping will join a virtual climate summit with France and Germany, Beijing announced Thursday, as US envoy John Kerry visited Shanghai to drum up support from the world's biggest polluter for America's drive to address environmental challenges.


US imposes sanctions on Moscow, expels 10 Russian diplomats

WASHINGTON - The United States announced sanctions against Russia on Thursday and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity.


Myanmar force arrests anti-coup leader

Myanmar security forces arrested on Thursday one of the main leaders of the campaign against military rule after ramming him with a car as he led a motorbike protest rally, friends and colleagues said.