(Refiles to fix spelling of one word in 1st paragraph)
* Private university's index rises for 1st time in more than
* Survey was done after army seized power on May 22
* Sentiment lifted by army move to restore order, pay rice
By Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon
BANGKOK, June 3 Consumer confidence in Thailand
rose in May after falling for 13 straight months, according to a
university survey carried out after the army seized power and
said it will end political unrest and revive a stumbling
The privately-owned University of the Thai Chamber of
Commerce's consumer confidence index rose to 70.7
in May from 67.8 in April, which was the lowest level since
November 2001. Confidence had fallen for 13 months in a row.
The latest reading is the highest since January this year.
"The main factor boosting sentiment was confidence in the
future due to political clarity. People were more confident that
the economy would get better," Thanavath Phonvichai, an
economics professor at the university, told a briefing.
The university said its survey had 2,251 respondents - about
40 percent of them in Bangkok and 60 percent in the provinces.
Months of anti-government protests in Bangkok contributed to
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy shrinking 2.1 percent
in the first quarter from the previous three months, and
Political unrest has hurt confidence, domestic demand,
investment, public spending and tourism, while adding to worries
for Thai producers already suffering from poor exports.
In April, domestic car sales tumbled 33 percent from a year
earlier. Tourism, which accounts for about 10 percent of the
economy, has taken a hit, with arrivals down nearly 5 percent in
January-April from a year earlier.
From December until May 22 - the day the army took control -
Thailand had a caretaker government with limited powers.
The junta says it is seeking to rebuild confidence and
revive economic activity. It started paying about 90 billion
baht ($2.7 billion) arrears owned to hundreds of thousands of
farmers under a controversial rice-buying scheme.
It has said the new state budget will start on time on Oct.
1 and it has prepared emergency economic measures to kick start
the domestic economy.
Economic growth forecasts for Thailand have been cut several
times since late 2013. But some economists think the outlook may
improve on optimism over the new government and its economic
Last week, the Finance Ministry said it was aiming for 3
percent growth this year. Before the coup, the ministry said it
planned to cut its recent forecast of 2.6 percent.
In 2013, Thailand's economy expanded 2.9 percent.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)