MPI rises for second month as normalcy resumes

MPI rises for second month as normalcy resumes

Thailand's manufacturing production index (MPI) in June increased for the second consecutive month by 4.1% to 83.0 points as people begin to resume their normal spending, says the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).

Consumer products, notably food and medicines, drove MPI gains, following a slight increase in May when the government started easing lockdown measures.

OIE chief Thongchai Chawalitpichaet said the trend should continue in the second half as people adjust to a new way of living, more aware of hygiene standards.

They will gradually resume daily routines, eventually buying more, said Mr Thongchai.

"Demand for non-durable items should increase later this year, but the trend for durable products [which are more expensive] looks set to slow down," he said.

Despite the increase in June, the index still decreased by 17.6% year-on-year because of the Covid-19 impact on Thai and global economies.

"Many countries used lockdown measures to control the virus, causing businesses to temporarily shut down and reduce their employees," Mr Thongchai said.

The MPI in the second quarter this year stood at 80.2 points, a decrease of 19.9% year-on-year. The index in the first half of this year stood at 91.5 points, a drop of 12.8%.

According to the OIE, capacity utilisation in June increased to 55.2%, from 52.3% in May. In the second quarter, capacity utilisation was 52.9%.

The animal feed industry in June increased by 10.7% year-on-year because of higher demand.

The household appliance industry, mainly microwaves, thermoses and refrigerators, gained by 12.7% thanks to domestic, Asean and Japan sales, with more people spending time at home. Canned seafood and milk and dairy business also expanded 30.4% and 11.7%, respectively.

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