“WE ARE positive that the Business Confidence Index (BCI) for manufacturers will rise in the next three months”, Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said yesterday during a press conference.
BCI in August slumped to 92.5 from 93.2 in July, according to the FTI. One of the key factors behind the decline in confidence was the frequent downpours during the month, causing flooding in a number of manufacturing areas.
“This had caused the total sales of Thai manufacturers to decrease, leading to a fall in the BCI”, says Montri Mahaplerkpong, vice chairman of the FTI.
Another factor was the rising cost of production due to higher oil prices, interest rates and most importantly, appreciation of the baht, among others. There were worries that the baht was appreciating in value, causing the prices of Thai exports to increase , thus, damaging export sales. Hence, representatives of the FTI would like the government to implement necessary measures to balance the value of the baht with other currencies in the region, says Montri.
“However, if we look back to the past 5 to 6 months, the BCI were always above 90”, he says. This indicates that the manufacturing industry in Thailand has been relatively healthy and is expected to grow in the next three months.
Meanwhile, prospects for the automobile manufacturing industry remain promising. The production of 1-tonne pickup trucks reached 101,864 trucks in August , a 0.15 per cent rise from the same month last year, while the output of pickup trucks from January to August this year totalled 813,136 trucks, increasing 10.92 per cent from the same period last year.
The rise in production and sales of pickup trucks mirrors the state of the country’s economy, says Surapong Paisitpatnapong, vice chairman and spokesman of the Automotive Club of the FTI.
Prospects of the cement industry is also promising , despite a 2 per cent reduction in total transactions in the first half , according to Siva Mahasandana, chairman of FTI’s Cement Industry Club.
“We expect the total transactions to grow by 3 per cent in the next three months”, he says.
“Growth in the cement industry mirrors that of the construction industry. Given that there is a clear government policy to invest in Thailand’s infrastructure both in Bangkok and in the Eastern Economic Corridor as well as an increase in mega projects in the private sector, the cement industry is likely to strengthen in the second half of this year,” Siva said.