Sentiment up in November

Sentiment up in November

Highest level in 45 months

A customer pushes his shopping cart at a discount chain in Bangkok. (Photo: Patipat Janthong)
A customer pushes his shopping cart at a discount chain in Bangkok. (Photo: Patipat Janthong)

Consumer confidence rose for a fourth straight month in November, hitting the highest level in 45 months, driven largely by the government's policies to reduce the cost of living and stimulus measures.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) reported on Thursday the consumer confidence index rose to 60.9 in November, up from 60.2 in October, 58.7 in September, 56.9 in August and 55.6 in July.

"The consecutive improvement in consumer confidence is attributed to people regaining trust following the formation of the government, measures to reduce the cost of living and myriad stimulus policies such as electricity and fuel subsidies introduced by the new administration," said Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the UTCC.

Despite the improvement, the confidence index is still below the fulcrum of 100, indicating that consumers are not entirely confident about the economic situation, job opportunities and future income.

Concerns persist regarding political stability, energy prices and global economic risks, which may delay Thailand's economic recovery and job creation in the future, leading to uncertainty in consumer income, he said.

According to Mr Thanavath, potential interest rate hikes in Thailand and globally, along with prolonged conflicts between Russia and Ukraine as well as Israel and Hamas may have negative psychological impacts on domestic purchasing power, tourism, exports, general business activities and future employment opportunities.

"The Thai economic recovery remains uneven and people are cautious about spending," he said.

"The economy is showing signs of a slowdown and is uncertain. The swift and effective implementation of government policies is seen as crucial for a rapid recovery, with GDP expected to grow by more than 3% in the coming year, especially after the allocation of the fiscal 2024 budget and higher private sector investment."

The UTCC forecast GDP to grow by 3-3.5% next year, helped by a tax refund scheme for shopping and the government's policy to address unorganised loans.

The cabinet on Monday approved a tax refund scheme for shopping to stimulate domestic spending early next year and promote wider use of electronic invoices.

Under the "Easy E-Receipt" programme, individuals can receive a tax deduction of up to 50,000 baht for purchases of goods and services from business operators backed by the e-tax system between Jan 1 and Feb 15 next year.

Excluded from the tax rebates are purchases of alcoholic drinks, tobacco, cars, motorcycles, boats, vehicle fuel, utility bills, phone, internet services, long-term service fees and non-life insurance.

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