June 4, 2020 / 8:08 AM / a month ago

Thai consumer mood improves for first time in over a year as virus lockdown eases -survey

BANGKOK, June 4 (Reuters) - Thai consumer confidence in May picked up for the first time in over a year, helped by government stimulus steps and the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, a survey showed on Thursday.

The consumer confidence index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce rose to 48.2 in May from 47.2 amid the spread of the coronavirus in April - the lowest reading since the survey began in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis.

Until last month, the index had fallen every month since February 2019.

Consumer spending is likely to slow sharply for at least the next three to six months until the outbreak situation improves and wider economic activity resumes, the university’s president, Thanavath Phonvichai, told a briefing.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy after Indonesia may shrink 3.5% to 5.0% this year, with the sharpest contraction of about 10% in the second quarter, he said, adding the economy could show growth in the final quarter.

The government has introduced steps worth billions of dollars to mitigate the impact of the outbreak, which was first reported in the country in January.

Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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