(8 November) Thai economy continues to take the toll from the ongoing political crisis, according to a number of experts, with data showing that consumers confidence has hit the bottom in the past year and half.
Mr. Thanawan Phonwichai, the director of the Business and Economics Forecasting Center at the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), said that the consumer confidence index in October 2013 revealed the lowest numbers in 19 months at 76.6.
The lowered resulted is believed to have been partly due to political instability, weakened economic growth, and the uncertainty of global economic performance.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mr. Kittirat Na Ranong, said that the prospect of Thai Economy is to expand 5% in 2014, but admitted the possibility of failing to achieve the expected GDP in 2013 due to the current political restraints, as thousands of protests took to the streets to protest the government′s plan of ?blanket amnesty?.
“I have asked every party to understand about forgiveness, but I do not think I had succeeded” said Mr. Kittirat, “The current situation is that we are not yet ready to forgive.”
Ms. Saowanee Thairungrojna, Rector of UTCC, also unveiled the result of an opinion survey conducted by the university. The survey, she said, noted that 65.4% of 1,200 subjects disagree with the Amnesty Bill, whereas only 22.5% agree.
The UTCC rector suggested that there are four possibilities for Thai Economy to grow in the coming year; first, if the conflict dissolve within 1-2 weeks, 2013 GDP could remain at 3.5% while 2014 GPD is aimed to be 5.1%, and 20 trillion baht would be lost in the political turmoil.
Second, if the political restraint last until the end of the year, 2013 GDP should be 3.3-3.4% and 5.1% in 2014.
Third, if the protest lasts until the end of this year and is escalated to a violent stage, the country may suffer 30 – 60 trillion baht losses, as 2013 GDP remains 3 – 3.2%.
Fourth, if the protest resulted in violence situation until next year, this year GDP would result in 3 – 3.2% and 4.5 – 4.7% in 2014. The total loss could be up to 200 trillion baht.
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