Business & Economy

Thai consumer confidence at 7-month low on slow growth, political uncertainty

People buy street food at a market as Thailand is to inject $15.2 bln into economy next year through its digital wallet policy, in Bangkok

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai consumer confidence dropped for a third straight month in May, falling to its lowest level since October last year on concerns over a slow economic recovery and political uncertainty, a survey showed on Thursday.

The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 60.5 in May from 62.1 in April, the university said in a statement.

Thai courts will convene on a trio of politically charged cases next week, including one that could potentially lead to the prime minister’s dismissal, increasing the prospect of more government instability in the Southeast Asian country.

Consumers were not confident about whether the economy would recover quickly, especially when the current political situation became uncertain, the university said.

However, consumer confidence was likely to improve if the government sped up budget disbursements and helped stimulate an economic recovery in the second half of this year, it said.

The economy grew 1.5% in the first quarter from a year earlier, slowing from 1.7% growth in the prior quarter, lagging regional peers.

The central bank predicts growth of 2.6% this year, after last year’s 1.9% expansion.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Thanadech Staporncharnchai; Editing by John Mair)

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