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10 July 2009

Thai confidence rebounds after loan bill gets approval

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Confidence among Thai consumers rose for the first time since February after parliament approved government plans to borrow funds for a second economic stimulus package, AFP reported, quoting a local poll.

Overall confidence in June registered at 72.5 points, edging up from May when the index was logged at 71.5 points. A score below 100 indicates pessimists outweigh optimists. The index has now been below 100 for 60 consecutive months.

"The index gained for the first time in five months... but overall the index is still below 100-points... which reflects consumers' ongoing uncertainty," the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

It said the outbreak of swine flu in Thailand, along with continued fears for the country's political and economic stability, continued to hamper sentiment.

But some confidence was gained in mid-June after parliament authorised the government to borrow 800 billion baht ($23.5 billion) in a mix of domestic and overseas loans for a three-year stimulus package.

Pollster Thanavath Phonvichai said despite the improvement, sentiment was not likely to pick up significantly until the unemployment rate and cost of living were reduced, which could happen in the third quarter of 2009, he said. The survey polled 2,245 people across the country.


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