TISI hits eight-month low
Dim prospects for Q3 if cases keep rising
The Thailand Industry Sentiment Index (TISI) in April sank to 84.3 points, the lowest in eight months, as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak has prompted the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) to scramble for vaccines for factory workers as soon as June.
The drop in the TISI from 87.3 points in March resulted mainly from concerns among businessmen over the high number of Covid-19 infections daily, which has caused people to reduce their spending and cease travel under the state's work-from-home guideline.
The FTI believes the index will continue to decrease next month because of the impact felt by businesses even though the government is trying not to resort to re-imposing broad lockdown measures.
"We expect to see dim economic prospects in the third quarter of 2021 if the government cannot get new infections under control," said FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree.
The longer the government takes to stop the spread of the virus, the greater the economic impact it will have on the country, he said.
TISI is based on an opinion survey of 1,035 enterprises, covering 45 industries nationwide.
The FTI plans to hold a talk on May 19 with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking on a vaccine distribution plan to speed up the state's inoculation programme.
Up to 6,174 factories, including those located in industrial estates nationwide, have told the FTI that around 1.03 million workers want vaccines. Their employers can pay for the imports and they want to start rolling out vaccines by June.
However, if the private sector cannot buy vaccines, it needs to wait for the state vaccination programme, said Mr Supant.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last week the government wants to increase vaccine doses to 150 million or more and prepare for risks related to those vaccines.
The government had set a target of purchasing 100 million doses to inoculate 50 million Thais and thus create herd immunity, he said.