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Thailand’s Consumer Confidence Index Drops to 16 Month Low

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s consumer confidence index edged down to 75.6 in April, the lowest in 16 months due to the country’s unclear political outlook, says an economist.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), said that after falling in March for the first time in three months, the Consumer Confidence Index dropped for the second consecutive month in April.

The Index lowered to 75.6 in April, a 58-month low since July 2014, he said.

The gloomy outlook was caused mainly by concerns over political development amid uncertainty following the March 24 election, he said.

Due to the complications in the election of which official results would be announced next week, people lacked confidence of the outcome, Thanavath said.

After the Election Commission’s planned official results, a new prime minister is expected to be declared in June and the new Cabinet would then be formed.

The formation of the new government would determine the confidence in the economy and the prospect for growth this year, Thanavath said, pointing the likelihood of unstable government with low parliamentary majority.

Despite political situation, the Center believed the Thai economy would grow 3.5-3.8 percent this year, he said.

Another key factor would be policy implementation of the new government and its ability to inject fund in the economy through public spending, said Thanavath.