Thai Consumer Confidence Hits Yearly Low Amid Political Instability

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Thai consumer confidence has plummeted for the third consecutive month, reaching its lowest level since October last year, according to a recent survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC). The consumer confidence index dropped to 60.5 in May from 62.1 in April, reflecting growing concerns over the country’s economic recovery and ongoing political uncertainty.

The UTCC highlighted that upcoming court cases, particularly those with significant political implications, have added to the instability. These cases could potentially lead to the dismissal of the prime minister, further complicating the political landscape and negatively impacting consumer sentiment.

The university’s report noted widespread apprehension regarding the economy’s ability to rebound swiftly amidst the current political turmoil. This decline marks the lowest consumer confidence level recorded this year.

However, the UTCC suggested that confidence could rebound if the Thai government expedites budget allocations and implements effective measures to stimulate economic growth in the latter part of the year.

In related economic news, Thailand’s first-quarter growth rate was reported at 1.5%, down from 1.7% in the previous quarter, lagging behind other countries in the region. The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has projected a growth rate of 2.6% for the year, following a 1.9% expansion last year. Despite government pressures to reduce borrowing costs for economic stimulation, the BoT has decided to maintain its key interest rate unchanged for the third consecutive meeting.

The current economic and political uncertainties have heightened concerns among consumers. The UTCC emphasised the importance of swift and decisive government actions to restore confidence and support economic recovery efforts.

The outcome of next week’s court decisions is expected to be pivotal in shaping Thailand’s political stability and economic trajectory. These decisions could influence government policies and have significant implications for future consumer confidence levels, as reported by the Bangkok Post.