The consumer confidence index dropped to 50.3 points in March from 64.8 points in February, said Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
In addition, the economic confidence index in March stood at 41.6 points, down from 52.5 points in February, while the confidence index on job opportunities contracted from 61.4 points to 49.3 points. Confidence in future income also fell from 80.4 points to 59.9 points.
“The total confidence index was under 100 points, which shows that consumers believe that the economy has been damaged by the Covid-19 crisis,” Thanavath said. “In response to this, consumers will delay their spending by three to six months.”
Apart from the Covid-19 crisis, the factors contributing to the drop in confidence are the invocation of the Emergency Decree, closure of department stores and other businesses and the subsequent unemployment. “The other contributing factors are drought, the monetary policy committee’s cut in growth forecast and the drop in exports,” he said. “The Covid-19 is expected to cost the Thai economy between Bt1 trillion and Bt1.5 trillion in the first half, with Bt700 billion coming from the tourism industry, Bt300 billion from the drop in consumption and the remainder from other sectors.” He went on to say that the total daily purchasing power of Thais, which normally stands at Bt20 billion, will be brought down to Bt5 billion due to social-distancing measures.