BoT: Firms expect normalcy in Q1 2022

BoT: Firms expect normalcy in Q1 2022

The Siam skytrain station is empty during the lockdown in the capital. Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
The Siam skytrain station is empty during the lockdown in the capital. Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

Nearly half of businesses expect normal Thai life to resume in the first quarter of next year, according to a Bank of Thailand survey.

The business sentiment index, which was conducted from July 1-22 on 260 businesses of all sizes, found 45% of respondents expect public confidence in spending life outside the home, including travelling as normal, will resume when new daily Covid-19 infections fall below 50, which they anticipate will happen in the first quarter of 2022.

Some 24% of respondents said they expect lives to return to normal when new infections are 51-100 per day, while 16% expect this shift at 101-500 cases, with 15% looking at 501-1,000 new cases.

A total of 34% of respondents expected normal life to resume in the first quarter of 2022, while 26% predicted the second half of 2022, 18% the fourth quarter of 2021, 11% the second quarter of 2022, and 10% the third quarter of 2021.

Just over one-fifth, or 22.8%, of respondents said they had enough liquidity to cover business operations for the next 3-6 months, while 19.9% said they were prepared for the next six months to one year. Some 12.6% reporting having enough cash to last less than three months.

The survey found the liquidity of businesses in July barely changed from the previous month.

However, the level of business recovery in all industries in July declined from the previous month, mainly due to the prolonged pandemic and the government's tougher measures to contain new infections. In particular, the tourism, construction and retail sectors reported weaker recovery rates.

In July, tourism had the lowest recovery level at 46.8%, followed by 63.1% for real estate and construction, 66.9% for trade, 72.2% for services excluding tourism, and 77.6% for the manufacturing sector.

The government extended its lockdown and curfew measures for two more weeks and added 16 provinces to its "strict control zones", representing areas hit hardest by the pandemic. The curfew is from 9pm–4am, affecting a total of 29 provinces.

The employment recovery level of all business sectors in July was steady from the previous month, excluding tourism and construction.

Many tourism businesses closed temporarily, in line with plunging foreign tourist arrivals.

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