UTCC’s confidence index in Thailand drops by 46.5 points
By The Nation
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) Centre for Business and Economic Forecasting has announced that the confidence index has dropped to 46.5 points, the lowest in 19 months.
Thanawan Polvichai, the centre’s director, said entrepreneurs are facing cashflow problems as people’s purchasing power has dropped. The economy is also being affected by the ongoing US-China trade war, a fluctuating baht as well as low prices for agricultural products.
However, he said, the private sector believes the lowest point has passed after the economy grew by 2.3 per cent in the second quarter, the lowest growth figure in five years.
He added that stimulus packages and agriculture price guarantees should help revive the economy.
“The agriculture price guarantee project should determine whether the economy will recover,” he said. “The money that rubber, rice and palm farmers get will help them plan their finances. In the past four or five years, there were no schemes like this, which is what caused uncertainty in the income of farmers.”
The centre has forecast that the Thai economy will expand by 2.6 per cent in 2019, but additional economic stimulus and guarantee schemes may push the figure to 3 to 3.2 per cent.
Saowanee Thairoongroj, UTCC’s dean, said the private sector wants the government to initiate stimulus packages as swiftly as well as strengthen measures for natural disasters, boost the quality of Thai products for export, provide low-interest loans to businesses to help them maintain their cashflow and develop technology.
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