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UTCC forecasts strong rally

THE UNIVERSITY of the Thai Chamber of Commerce sees the economy galloping ahead at 4 per cent a month on average in the remaining quarters, thanks to improving consumer confidence and the junta's measures to stimulate investment and spending.

"Rising consumer confidence is a good sign for economic expansion in the rest of the year. The economy will show clearer signs of recovery this quarter, following the government's budget disbursement of Bt100 billion, rebound in exports and tourism growth," Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the university's Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said yesterday.

The university's survey found that the establishment of a new government and better confidence in the economy would spur spending over this long weekend to Bt5.26 billion.

Spending on Asanha Bucha Day tomorrow, Buddhist Lent on Saturday and the rest of the weekend will grow by 5.43 per cent from Bt4.97 billion last year.

Since the university had expected no growth in the first half, the economy should expand not less than 2 per cent for the full year, assuming upticks of 3-4 per cent in the third quarter and 5-6 per cent in the fourth.

Exports and tourism are starting to look better this quarter and should gain momentum next quarter. According to the Thai National Shippers Council, exporters are facing a shortage of cargo and vessels for shipping overseas because of reduced imports, but higher demand for exports in the third and fourth quarters.

There are still some worrisome factors that could stifle consumer appetite in the second half, such as the low prices of farm commodities and slow state-budget disbursement to each province.

Of the 1,200 respondents, 56 per cent believe the economy will be better than last year.

Wachara Kuntaweethep, assistant director of the centre, said it seemed that more people would make merit during the long weekend. About 60 per cent of respondents said they would spend more this year, 27 per cent would spend the same as last year and 12 per cent would spend less.

Businesses that will benefit from the long weekend are shops selling monk supplies, restaurants and hotels.

Sources of funds are mainly salaries at 64.5 per cent, savings at 23.7 per cent and bonuses and extra money at 11.8 per cent.

Most respondents agreed with the stringent measures to stamp out gambling, regulate foreign workers and overcome problems with taxis and public transport, as the government needs to solve social as well as economic problems.


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