11 July 2024

Thailand’s “modern trade” confidence index in the second quarter of this year hit the lowest point in the past three years, at 45.3, as retail businesses are being hit hard by the pandemic and government measures, according to a joint press conference by The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) and the Board of Trade of Thailand yesterday (Monday).

Rector of the UTCC Dr. Thanawat Polvichai said that the index is predicted to continue to decline to 43.7, reflecting the concerns of modern trade operators that the business is tending to get worse and that the partial lockdown measures and curfew may be further extended by the government. He added that economic cost of the lockdown measures may soar to about 700 billion baht.

In the past seven months, retail businesses have lost an estimated at 270 billion baht and the pandemic has impacted more than 1.2 million small and medium-sized enterprises in the production chain of modern trade, which employs about 10 million people, according to Ms. Chalida Jansiripong, Corporate Relationship Director at the Central Group and a retail executive committee member at the Board of Trade of Thailand.

Retail business for the month of July fell to its lowest point in 16 months, she said, adding that travel restrictions imposed during the 9pm to 4am curfew have reduced the transport of supplies, especially fresh goods, from their sources to stores, by about 30%.

She urged the government to ease restrictions on retailers by allowing them to resume businesses in designated areas.

Mr. Surong Bulakul, an advisor to the Board of Trade of Thailand, meanwhile, proposed that the government increase the amount of support under the 50:50 co-payment scheme, revive the “Shop Chuay Chart” (Shopping to Save the Nation) scheme and raise the spending limit to 100,000 baht, to support trade which, he claimed, accounts for 70% of Thailand’s GDP.

He also proposed that the government extend the reductions of utility charges for households to cover the business sector and reduce taxes on land and construction until next year.