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» The Business Confidence Index rises 5 points in the First Quarter of 2020
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9th July 2020, Siam Ratings Agency Company Limited (SRAL) announced the result of the survey about WVB Business Confidence Index in the first quarter of 2020.

SRAL Co., Ltd. conducts the survey quarterly. The main objects of the survey are companies which have the most well- known brand, the largest number of Total Assets, Total Revenues and Employees. Being performed from the middle of May 2020 to the late in June 2020, the survey attracted 150 Companies which active in many different fields in Thailand, such as Agriculture, Automotive, Construction, Technology, Energy, Electronics, Telecommunications, Services… In particular, large and small enterprises accounted for over 90% of total enterprises participating in this quarter.

According to the survey, the Business Confidence Index (BCI) in the first quarter of 2020 reached 122 points, increased by 5 points compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 (117 points), This shows that companies in Thailand have a negative perspective on the current economy. Most companies say that it is difficult to predict. Besides, many enterprises still have a positive attitude about economic growth.

Summary of investigation results of 6 components building Business Confidence Index (BCI) in the first quarter of 2020 as follows:

- On the general economic situation of Thailand today:

20.67% of surveyed enterprise claimed that the general economy of Thailand is now better than 12 months ago, 67.33% said that economic conditions in Thailand remain and 12.00% of businesses think that economic conditions in overall are worse than 12 months ago.

According to the National Economic and Social Development Council of Thailand (NESDC), The Thai Economy in the first quarter of 2020 contracted by 1.8 percent compared with a 1.5-percent expansion in the previous quarter (%QoQ sa). After seasonally adjusted, the economy declined by 2.2 percent from the fourth quarter last year (%QoQ sa).

On expenditure side: private consumption slowed down while government consumption expenditure, and total investment declined. In addition, total export declined as a result of a notable contraction in export of services while export of goods returned to a positive growth.

On production side: accommodation and food service activities sector, manufacturing production sector, agricultural sector, transportation and storage sector, and construction sector declined. Nevertheless, wholesale and retail trade sector, electricity, and gas sector, information and communication sector, and financial and insurance activities sector expanded.

  • Prediction of Thailand general economic situation in the next 12 months:

76.00% of enterprises believed that Thailand’s economy would be better in the next 12 months, 22.67% said that the economy would remain unchanged, and 1.33% of businesses are worried about Thailand’s economy in the future.

According to the National Economic and Social Development Council of Thailand (NESDC), The Thai economy in 2020 is expected to show a contraction in the range of (-6.0) - (-5.0) percent, due to (i) the severe downturn of global economy and merchandised trade, (ii) the sharp decline in number and revenues from foreign tourists, (iii) the limitations from the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand, and (iv) the drought condition. In all, it is expected that export values of goods, private consumption expenditure, and total investment will decline by 8.0 percent, 1.7 percent, and 2.1 percent respectively. Meanwhile, the headline inflation is expected to be in a range of (-1.5) - (-0.5) percent, and the current account tends to register a surplus of 4.9 percent of GDP.

Financial Conditions: The policy rate decreased by 50 basis points to 0.75 percent per annum, throughout the first quarter of 2020. At the meeting on the 5th February and 20th March 2020, the Monetary Policy Committee decided to reduce the policy rate by 25 basis points from 1.25 percent per annum to 1.00 and 0.75 percent per annum, respectively. The decision based on the assessment which indicated that Thai economy would markedly contracted in 2020 due to the pandemic of COVID-19 particularly in tourism and merchandise exports industry. Moreover, major economies and regional economies were also believed to experience a slowdown. Such economic difficulties would obviously affect the income of both businesses and households. In response, the Government of Thailand issued more relaxed financial policies, which were in alignment with other countries across the world. Examples of financial policies to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic were as followed. First, the Federal Reserve (Fed) of the United States reduced its policy rate twice in March by 50 and 100 basis points to a range of 1.00 - 1.25 and 0.00 - 0.25 percent per annum, respectively. Moreover, Russia also reduced its policy rate in February from 6.25 to 6.00 per annum. As in the ASEAN region, the Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia announced to decrease the policy rate in second quarter of 2020, from 5.00 to 4.50 percent per annum, 4.00 to 3.25 per annum, and 3.00 to 2.50 per annum, respectively. Several advanced economies had also implemented more flexible monetary policies and continuously extended the Quantitative Easing (QE) programs, for instance, the United States announced the implementation of unlimited budget measures, the European Union increased budget approximately 20,000 million euros per month, while the United Kingdom also increased budget at about 6.45 hundred billion pounds sterling.

  • Plans to use employees:

In the survey: 28.00% of enterprises expected to raise human resources; 58.67% of enterprises planned to remain and 13.33% enterprises will reduce the number of employees in the future.

According to (NESDC), Employment: decreased for four consecutive quarters due to a decline in agricultural employment, whereas non-agricultural employment rebounded, and unemployment rate remained low. Employment in Q1/2020 declined by 0.7 percent improved from the 1.1-percent contraction in the previous quarter. In details, agricultural sector employment dropped by 3.7 percent, which was a continuous decline for five consecutive quarters due to the contraction in major agricultural products. Nevertheless, non-agricultural sector employment expanded by 0.5 percent due to an expansion in education activities, accommodation and food service activities sector, and human health and social work activities sector. However, employment in manufacturing activities, wholesale, retail sales, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles activities declined. Overall, the rate of unemployment in the first quarter of 2020 stood at 1.0 percent, while the average unemployment was recorded at 390,000 persons compared with the 350,000 unemployment in the same period last year.

  • Investment plans for fixed assets:

46.67% of surveyed businesses planned to invest more costs for fixed assets, 45.33% of these still have no plan and 8.00% planned to reduce the cost for fixed assets in the next 12 months.

  • The belief in revenue growth:

79.33% of participating enterprises were confident of an increase in sales, 19.33% of businesses said that the revenue would remain and 1.33% business is concerned about the number of sales going down in the next 12 months.

- The belief in profit growth:

77.33% of enterprises believed that profit would rise in the following year, 21.33% of businesses believed that profit would remain and 1.33% business is concerned about the number of profit going down in the next 12 months.

According to (NESDC), Economic Projection for the Thai Economy in 2020: The Thai economy in 2020 is projected to decline in the range of (-6.0) - (-5.0) percent (with the midpoint of -5.5 percent), compared with a 2.4 percent expansion in 2019. Headline inflation is estimated to lie within the range of (-1.5) - (-0.5) percent and the current account is anticipated to record a surplus of 4.9 percent of GDP.

In the press release dated on May 18th, 2020, the NESDC forecasted that the Thai economy is expected to decline in the range of (-6.0) - (-5.0) percent (with the midpoint of -5.5 percent), revised downwardly from an expansion of 1.5 - 2.5 percent (with the midpoint of 2.0 percent) in the previous projection, released on February 17th, 2020, together with the revision in key growth components to be consistent with changing conditions and revised assumptions.

The Thai economy in 2020 is likely to confront with additional limitations and risk factors including: (i) the contraction of the 2020 global economy and trade volume which could induce exports, industrial production and private investment to decrease more than expected; (ii) decline in tourism revenues; and (iii) shifts in behaviors of consumers and businesses, during increasing COVID-19 infected cases period in Thailand and, therefore, government has to impose the lockdown and travelling control measures as to prevent and control the outbreak from severely impacts people’s health and lives as well as overall economy and society.






Current condition of economy



Prediction of economic condition



Prediction of extent of change in labor



Plans to invest in fixed assets



Prediction of revenue growth



Prediction of profit growth



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Siam Ratings Agency Company Limited.

78/11-12 Moo 5, Sub-District Angsila,

District Meuang Chonburi 20000, Thailand.

Website: http://www.siamcr.com

Tel: (+66) 38 397 457.