Consumption surges, but Ukraine hits confidence

Consumption surges, but Ukraine hits confidence

The Thai economy last month recorded growing private domestic consumption, especially for durable items, alongside support from export growth, according to Fiscal Policy Office adviser Wuttipong Jittungsakul.

He said the country still needs to keep a close watch on the impact of the ongoing pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Private consumption grew last month, reflected by the collection of value-added tax (VAT) increasing 27.7% year-on-year. The sale of passenger cars in February expanded 19.1% year-on-year, while motorcycle purchases rose 14.4%. However, the consumer confidence index dropped to 43.3 from 44.8 in January because of concerns about the pandemic and the war in Europe.

The sale of commercial vehicles in February, a reflection of private domestic investment, surged 29.8% year-on-year, while the sale of cement edged up 0.6%.

The February value of exports in US dollar terms expanded 16.2% year-on-year to US$23.5 billion thanks to larger shipments to key trading partners such as Hong Kong, South Korea, the US and India. Headline and core inflation in February stood at 5.28% and 1.8%, respectively. The public debt-to-GDP ratio is 59.9%.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said he was concerned about the tourism sector. The Tourism and Sports Ministry is aiming for 7 million foreign arrivals this year, but only around 400,000 travellers visited Thailand during the first three months this year.

If this low rate continues, there will be only 1.6 million foreign visitors this year, said Mr Arkhom. He expects more foreign arrivals after Songkran as entry restrictions ease to woo tourists.

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