Business sentiment rises in September

Business sentiment rises in September

Index up for fourth consecutive month

Business sentiment rose for the fourth straight month in September, boosted by improving prospects, state relief measures to help people and companies struggling with the sagging economy and stable retail oil prices.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said the TCC Confidence Index, which gauges the sentiment of the business sector and members of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in all provinces nationwide, rose to 32.5 in September, up from 32.3 in August, 31.8 in July and 31.5 in June, the first increase in 14 months.

This followed readings of 31.3 in May, 32.1 in April, 37.5 in March, 44.9 in February and 45.4 in January.

Higher business sentiment stems largely from the government's myriad relief measures and the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) latest economic forecast that upgrades the economic outlook for 2020 to a contraction of 7.6%, an improvement from -8.1% previously predicted.

The MPC updated its outlook after the second-quarter GDP contraction was less than forecast.

GDP fell 12.2% from a year earlier in the second quarter, the biggest decline since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

First-quarter GDP saw a 2.5% year-on-year decline as Covid-19 started to take its toll on global business activity.

Thanavath Phonvichai, president of UTCC, said the upcoming elections for the Provincial Administrative Organization at the end of December could help boost sentiment.

He said less than 30 billion baht is estimated to be spent during the electoral campaign.

Nonetheless, the index indicates the business sector is still fretting over the impact of the prolonged Covid-19 outbreak on daily life and mounting political protests, said Mr Thanavath.

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