Most listed firms downbeat
Outbreak remains biggest risk factor
Most listed companies expect to allow employees to work from home for at least another six months until infections drop to under 100 a day, according to an opinion poll of chief executives by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
"The pandemic is currently the biggest risk for businesses and economic recovery. Therefore, it is important that businesses adjust their working system to achieve their earning goals and consider allowing their employees back to work at the office only when daily new infections drop to below 100 per day and herd immunity has been achieved," said Soraphol Tulayasathien, senior executive vice-president of the SET.
According to the poll, 46% of listed firms' chief executives thought business earnings will overall be lower this year compared to 2020 while only 34% thought the situation will improve and 21% thought it will remain stable.
The survey suggests that the top three risk factors for businesses today are the outbreak, a sharp drop in tourists and a decrease in purchasing power.
The positive factors are the lenient fiscal policy and government spending which will help boost purchasing power and accelerate global economic recovery.
Some 43% of respondents expect the economy will take another two years to recover while 20% believe it will recover within a year.
In addition, 67% of chief executives think stimulus measures will indirectly benefit businesses in all industries because they will increase consumers' purchasing power. The sectors that will benefit most from the measures are commerce, tourism, logistics, property and construction.
However, they said the stimulus measures are just a short-term solution and the government should focus on helping small and medium-sized companies as they are heavily impacted by the epidemic but have received no aid measures.
The chief executives also asked the government to speed up vaccine rollouts to create herd immunity.
The private sector has taken many measures and undergone digital transformations to adapt to the new normal so the government should also modernise and revise laws and work processes to be more consistent.
The SET Index recorded an average return of 9.6% in the first six months of this year which is still higher than the regional average.
Flourishing sectors include agriculture, food, technology consumer, real estate and construction.
The average daily turnover was 98.33 billion baht, up 47.6% from the same period last year.
Foreign investors reported net selling of 77.82 billion baht while local investors were net buyers of 111.28 billion baht. The value of initial public offerings for the first half stood at 341 billion baht, the highest in the region.
SET president Pakorn Peetathawatchai said news of share sales tax collection negatively impacted market sentiment but it depends on the government's decision.