Thailand’s consumer confidence index (CCI) reached a 38-month high in April 2023, according to a survey conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
The CCI rose to 55.0 in April from 53.8 in March, marking the 11th consecutive month of growth.
The survey, which interviewed 2,238 respondents across the country, revealed that consumers’ outlook on current and future economic conditions, job prospects and income expectations improved significantly, thanks to several factors such as:
- A rebound in tourism, as Thailand beat its target for tourist arrivals in the first quarter, recording 6.15 million visitors in the January to March period. The Tourism Council, an industry body, said at least 30 million tourists were expected to visit the country this year and spend 1.5 trillion baht (USD 43.74 billion).
- A reduction in petrol prices, which eased consumers’ cost of living and boosted their purchasing power.
- A hotel subsidy scheme, which encouraged domestic travel and stimulated spending on accommodation and related services.
- An upcoming general election, which raised hopes for political stability and economic recovery.
However, the survey also noted that the overall index remained below a normal level of 100, indicating that consumers were still cautious and concerned about some risks and challenges, such as:
- Slow economic recovery, as Thailand’s GDP growth forecast for 2022 was revised lower to 2.6% from 3.2%, affected by the severe slowdown in exports amid poor global demand. The economic outlook for 2023 was also revised downwards to expand between 2.7% to 3.7%, compared to previous estimates of 3% to 4%.
- High inflation, as consumer prices rose by 1.9% year-on-year in March, the highest rate since November 2019, driven by higher food and energy prices.
- Foreign banking crises, as some European banks faced liquidity problems and credit rating downgrades due to their exposure to troubled borrowers.
The UTCC president, Thanavath Phonvichai, told a news conference that consumers’ willingness to spend on tourism continued to be a key driver of growth, reaching a level not seen in over nine years. “Thais are ready to travel again, and this will reenergize the economy,” he said.