Sentiment nosedives in March to 28-month low
The Thai Industry Sentiment Index (TISI) in March hit its lowest level in 28 months, dropping to 88.0 points, primarily due to the economic consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak, the government curfew and the drought, reports the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said these factors have severely impacted many business activities from manufacturing to sales to imports and exports and logistics.
Agricultural output has been hobbled by the drought, causing some agro-based production plants to run out of raw materials needed to operate. Farmers' purchasing power has dropped significantly.
"Those factors have given headaches to all industries in Thailand and the FTI has never seen this before, despite many global crises in recent decades," said Mr Supant.
The index in March dropped from 90.2 points in February.
The TISI in March was compiled from a survey of 1,209 companies in 45 industrial sectors.
The survey found 67.3% of businesses are worried about the global economic situation as export markets have been drastically affected by the viral pandemic, leading to a decrease in international orders.
Some 49.3% of businesses raised concerns over the domestic political situation and economic relief measures in response to Covid-19.
There were some positive factors for business sentiment, with 42.3% of businesses happy about the exchange rate, as the baht has weakened, helping exporters this year.
Some 31.7% of businesses surveyed were in favour of fuel prices dropping and 18.8% approve of lower interest rates.
The FTI has set up seven new committees in response to the Covid-19 outbreak: finance and taxes; labour; logistics and services; prevention of a virus outbreak; support for FTI members; information and public relations; and economic recovery.