Consumer Confidence Index at 35 month high
Consumer confidence rose from 78 in November to 79.2 in December, a 35 month high according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. The Center for Economic and Business Forecasting at UTCC reported that the December consumer confidence index (CCI) rose for the fifth consecutive month to 79.2, the highest in 35 months. The rising number was due to improvement in economic condition, the steady growth of exports, strong tourism numbers, the government’s stimulus measures before the end of the year, and more stability in the political arena. The CCI remains below 100 because of concerns over price declines in many agricultural products and weak purchasing power in rural areas. However the center predicts agricultural prices should gradually rebound in the second quarter of 2018. The UTCC forecasts the Thai economy to grow by 4% in the first half of 2018 and 4.5% in the second half, with full-year growth in the range of 4.2-4.5%.
The Department of Airports launched a ten-year plan to increase capacity at the 28 airports under its management. After the ICAO lifted the red flag on Thailand’s civil aviation industry airlines have shown an increased interest in expanding destinations to smaller airports. The DOA plans on moving forward with a 10-year plan to invest 38 billion baht to increase the annual capacity of 28 airports to 30 million passengers in 2025 and 58 million in 2035. The DOA is looking to expand air access, accommodate increased traffic, adhere to international standards, and effective governance, to make Thailand an aviation hub of the region. The Department of Airports oversees such airports as Krabi, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang in the South, along with the North Eastern airports such as Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Roi Et, and Sakhon Nakhon as well as Northern airports like Mae Sot in Tak, Mae Hong Son, Nan, and Pai. However the department is looking at handing over management of Udon Thani and Tak airports to the Airports of Thailand.
The National Minimum Wage Committee will be meeting on January 15 where it is expected they will propose a 15 baht a day rise in the minimum wage and workers are expected to see that rise by the end of January. At the meeting the committee members will review the livelihood of workers, cost of living, employer’s affordable payment and their competitiveness, and minimum wage in neighboring countries in order to determine the appropriate rate. There hasn’t been a rise in the daily minimum wage in three years.