Industry sentiment on 2-year high
Songkran poised to boost April index
The Thailand Industry Sentiment Index (TISI) rose to 89.2 points in March, the highest in 25 months, while the mood in April should be improved by the Songkran festival, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Entrepreneurs are increasing their production to serve customers as demand for goods is expected to grow during the five-day holiday next week, FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said.
The bright prospects come as the government eased measures to control the spread of Covid-19, including for the Test and Go tourism scheme, while people appear to be less worried about the pandemic, said the federation.
"These factors will help drive the manufacturing sector and the economy, though the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war remains," said Mr Supant.
The war broke out on Feb 24 and Thailand has been gripped with worries over the global oil price surge and increasing inflation since then, he said.
However, the TISI increased from 86.7 points in February to 89.2 points in March, the highest level since March 2020.
The adjustment of the Test and Go scheme on March 1 helped facilitate the entry of foreign tourists, though the FTI insists the government needs to abandon Covid-19 screening to further boost tourism.
"Many countries allow fully vaccinated tourists to enter freely, so Thailand should do the same," said Mr Supant.
The government must adjust screening measures to suit its plan to declare Covid-19 endemic in July, he said.
The March TISI was based on a survey of 1,303 enterprises across 45 industries.
The global oil price hike was at the top of respondents' concerns with 78.5% of votes, followed by the spread of Covid-19 (62.2%) and worry over a global economic slowdown (55.2%).
The FTI reiterated its call for the government to deal with the problem of increasing production costs.