The Federation of Thai Industries has urged the government to resolve the political unrest quickly to restore investor confidence after the Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) for January fell for the 19th straight month to its lowest level in 55 month
The FTI also wants relevant government agencies to help restore confidence with Thailand’s trading partners by assuring them that delivery deadlines will be met.
The organisation wants state banks to extend low-interest loans to reinforce liquidity for small and medium-sized enterprises and arrange more trade fairs to help producers distribute their goods to consumers.
FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsuthipol said the TISI findings were based on an FTI survey of 42 industry groups comprising 1,043 small (30.9 per cent of respondents), medium (41.6 per cent) and large-scale (27.5 per cent) businesses.
The survey separated respondents into regional zones – Central (43.1 per cent), North (14.9 per cent), Northeast (14.3 per cent), East (13.6 per cent), and South (14.1 per cent).
Of the respondents, 84 per cent sold products domestically and 16 per cent were export businesses. The TISI last month fell to 86.9 from 88.3 in December.
A score lower than 100 indicates low confidence, and the index has been below 100 for 19 consecutive months and now is at its lowest point since June 2009.
If the political unrest lasts any longer, it will weaken domestic consumption, SMEs and exporters even further, the FTI warns.
Payungsak said the emergency decree imposed by the caretaker government and the blockage of several state agencies and ministries by anti-government protesters had adversely affected economic growth, tourism revenue, exports and investment-business opportunities – all of which were of major concern to local business operators and their foreign trading partners.
Meanwhile, Surapong Paisitpattanapong, FTI vice chairman and spokesman for the body’s automotive industry group, said the number of vehicles manufactured last month reached 162,652 units – down 31.09 per cent year on year. He said the fall was the result of there being no urgency to produce vehicles after much demand had been fulfilled by the government’s first-time car-buyer programme.
Vehicles for export accounted for 57.3 per cent of total production, or 93,192 units while 42.7 per cent, or 69,460 units, were domestic sales.
Domestic-vehicle production in January was 2.36 per cent higher than the December figure, while total domestic car sales last month were 68,500 units, the lowest figure in 25 months.
Motorcycle sales hit 125,603 units, down 30.31 per cent from January 2013, and off 0.01 per cent from December.
Exports of completely built-up (CBU) vehicles hit 81,025 units, down 6.93 per cent from January 2013.
The total export value for January was Bt37.41 billion, down 5.51 per cent on the year.