Interesting article which certainly seems to give empirical evidence to the sentiment one hears in private from business leaders in Thailand. In particular the fact that costs continue to rise during this time of tepid growth is of concern.
We often read that GDP growth is expected to improve in the second half of the year - mostly due to an increase in government disbursements - but there is usually a lag between these and its effect on the economy. There also does not appear to be much global growth available to power this too leading to a certain amount of skepticism in this view from many local economists.
However today it was also announced that Thailand had risen 2 places in the IMD World Competitiveness Centre rankings which is welcome news. However in reading the detail there is concern in another systemtic issue which is also much cited: labour productivity is low at 55th (from 61 countries).
INVESTORS have expressed a lack of confidence in Thailand’s economy because of a decline in exports, the drought-induced expected slowdown in domestic consumption, and the sluggish global economy. Somkiat Anuras, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber's Business Confidence Index was only 42, while the Economic Confidence Index stood at a very low 22.8. Scores above 50 indicate positive confidence. He cited the aforementioned factors for the lack of confidence, along with continuing low agricultural prices that resulted in a drop in farm incomes and more debt. According to a recent survey of five chambers of commerce around the country, 43.7 per cent of business operators reported a drop in sales and 34.8 per cent reported no change.