Salem Radio Network News Thursday, July 29, 2021

Business

Thai consumer confidence hits record low in June amid virus outbreak

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai consumer confidence dropped to a record low in June, dented by the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak up to date, a survey showed on Thursday.

The outbreak has seen the most infections and deaths so far and the Southeast Asian country reported on Thursday a daily record of 75 new fatalities and 7,058 cases.

The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 43.1 in June from 44.7 in May.

Thailand’s slow vaccine rollout and sluggish economic recovery combined with political uncertainty has also undermined consumer confidence, university president Thanavath Phonvichai told a briefing.

“The economy is facing a severe risk. Businesses and consumers felt the economy was very bad and even worse than the Tom Yum Kung crisis,” Thanavath said, referring to the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

With the government set to discuss further virus containment measures on Friday, Thanavath said tough restrictions such as in 2020 could cost the economy between 200 billion to 300 billion baht ($6.17 billion to $9.25 billion) per month, Thanavath said.

Even without additional restrictions, the economy may grow only zero to 1% this year versus the 0.6% to 1.2% growth seen earlier, he said.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy contracted 6.1% last year, the deepest slump in over two decades, as tourism collapsed.

($1 = 32.43 baht)

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Kitiphong Thaichareon, Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Ed Davies)

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