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COVID-19 brings first consumer confidence drop in 3 months

Consumer confidence in December 2020 was measured at 50.1 points, down from 52.4 the previous month. Economic confidence was also down to 43.5 from 45.6 points.

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – Concerns linked to the new wave of COVID-19 infections has weighed on both daily life and business, resulting in the first drop in the Consumer Confidence Index in 3 months.

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Consumer confidence in December 2020 was measured at 50.1 points, down from 52.4 the previous month. Economic confidence was also down to 43.5 from 45.6 points.

Employment confidence dropped from 50 points to 47.5 and confidence in future revenue prospects retracted from 61.6 to 59.2. The downtrend was seen across the board in all regions of the country and in all instances was attributed to the new bout of COVID-19 infections.

President of the Economic and Business Forecasting Center of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thanawat Polwichai surmised that if the situation persists for more than three months, the economy will grow in only a 0.9 to 2.8 range with a worst-case scenario being a contraction of 0.3 percent.

He said government economic stimulus is needed pointing to the co-pay scheme, while mentioning that if the situation improves in three months, recovery could be seen as soon as Quarter 2.

The president said a private sector suggestion to widen eligibility for the co-pay scheme and increase its cap from 3,500 to 5,000 baht per person would spur circulation, projecting the state needs to inject 200 to 300 billion baht into the economy to keep it afloat, or 400 to 600 billion baht to trigger growth.

He said further loans by the state are not yet needed, especially if economic stimulus can be pulled off soon as to trigger tax payments.

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Reporter : Praphorn Praphornkul
Rewriter : Rodney McNeil
National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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Customs Department Considers Measures to Help SMEs

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Customs Department is seeking ways to reduce the impact of the exemption on import tax and value-added tax (VAT) for imported goods worth up to 1,500 baht, as such measures are hurting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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