September 15, 2023
BANGKOK – Consumer confidence improved after a new government was finally formed months after the May 14 general election, although concerns over the rising cost of living could buck the trend, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said on Thursday.
It based its statement on a survey conducted by its Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, which found that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) increased in August after a decline in July, the first in 14 months.
UTCC president Assoc Prof Thanavath Phonvichai said the decline in July came after a delay in the formation of a new coalition government.
The CCI in August rose to 56.9 from 55.6 a month earlier although it was still much lower than the “normal” level of 100, he said.
Thanavath, who is also chief adviser to the centre, said there was still concern among Thai consumers about a slow economic recovery, the higher cost of living, rising interest rates, and a possible global economic contraction.
These negative factors have weakened purchasing power and undermined consumer confidence, he added.
He also pointed out that interest-rate hikes implemented by central banks globally to restrain inflation could lead to a global recession, which would weaken purchasing power.
The survey found that consumer confidence for the future in August rose to 64.2 from 62.8 in July.
The survey also found that confidence in the general economic situation, job opportunities, and future incomes all improved in August from July.
Thanavath said on Thursday that the findings pointed to a return of consumer confidence after a stable coalition government was formed.
“Consumer confidence should improve further in the future, particularly if the new government is able to stimulate the economy for a quick and concrete recovery,” he said.