Thai Industrial sentiment highest in 43 months

Optimism about the Kingdom’s economic prospects is growing as Thailand’s Industrial Sentiment Index rose to its highest level in 43 months in January, just weeks after consumer confidence hit its highest level in over two years.
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), which surveys businesses and formulates the index, said respondents cited the steady recovery of tourism and the government’s shopping tax rebate program that is stimulating consumption as the chief reasons for their rosy outlook.
“The economy is also expected to grow thanks to more tourist arrivals,” said Suchart Chantaranakaracha, Vice-Chairman of the FTI.
Thailand has long been a global tourism success story and the sector directly accounts for at least 10 percent of gross domestic product and as much as 20 percent indirectly. The chief pillar of the Thai economy is exports, and so policymakers have consistently been trying to raise consumption to provide more balance to the foundations of growth. The rebate program has produced some success in that regard.
The January index was based on a survey of 1,321 enterprises across 45 industry clubs that are part of the FTI. Founded in 1967, the federation is a private-sector organization the promotes industrial development in the Kingdom, including next-generation, digital and smart industries.
Consumer confidence also hit a 26-month high in January, signaling that optimism was widespread among various sectors of society.
Nonetheless, respondents to the industrial sentiment survey noted some areas of concern, including a labor shortage in the tourism industry and the possibility that the global economy may be headed for a downturn.