Survey predicts holiday outlay of B45bn

Survey predicts holiday outlay of B45bn

Shoppers seek auspicious items to buy as they celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend, perusing at a shop on Phlap Phla Chai Road in Bangkok yesterday. (Photo: Warunwipa Kasempongpanit)
Shoppers seek auspicious items to buy as they celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend, perusing at a shop on Phlap Phla Chai Road in Bangkok yesterday. (Photo: Warunwipa Kasempongpanit)

Spending during the Chinese New Year festival, which starts on Friday, is expected to be the most active in three years, helped by the country's economic recovery and a revival in tourist arrivals.

In its annual survey of consumer spending during Chinese New Year, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) estimated outlays for the festive season to tally 45 billion baht, a rise of 13.6% from the previous year.

"People's spending aligns with Thailand's uneven economic recovery that is K-shaped, driven largely by middle-income earners who are ready to spend, while low-income earners remain cautious about spending," said UTCC president Thanavath Phonvichai.

According to Mr Thanavath, the survey predicted higher spending across all categories, such as goods purchases, monetary gifts, offerings and travel.

He said the revival of Chinese tourism after China reopened the country on Jan 8 and the upcoming Thai general election are expected to stimulate the economy, notably in provincial areas.

The UTCC forecast the economy to grow by 3.6% this year, with an expansion of 3.4-3.5% in the first half and 3.7-3.8% in the second half.

Mr Thanavath said earlier the economy could grow by nearly 4% this year thanks to the anticipated surge in foreign tourists, especially from China.

Chinese tourist arrivals are estimated at 5 million in the second quarter and could reach 7-8 million for the whole year, which could raise the total number of foreign arrivals to 26-27 million this year, according to the university.

The UTCC said global oil prices are estimated at US$80 per barrel in the first half as the Russia-Ukraine war is unlikely to ease.

The general election, which is expected to be held in the second quarter, should also boost economic activity, he said.

The UTCC expects the election to generate 40-50 billion baht worth of spending, raising economic growth by 0.3 percentage points.

Mr Thanavath said people are still concerned about Covid-19 infections in this quarter, particularly for those living in crowded areas or communities.

Given the anticipated flood of Chinese tourists after the reopening, he said people are worried most about ineffective preventive and management measures if Covid outbreaks occur.


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