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» The Business Confidence Index fell 1 point In the Third Quarter of 2020
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14th January 2021, Siam Ratings Agency Company Limited (SRAL) announced the result of the survey about WVB Business Confidence Index in the third 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 November 2020 to late in December 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 95% of total enterprises participating in this quarter.

According to the survey, the Business Confidence Index (BCI) in the third quarter of 2020 reached 123 points, decreased by 1 point compared to the second quarter of 2020 (124 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 third quarter of 2020 as follows:

- On the general economic situation of Thailand today:
25.33% of surveyed enterprise claimed that the general economy of Thailand is now better than 12 months ago, 48.00% said that economic conditions in Thailand remain and 26.67% 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 third quarter of 2020 declined by 6.4 percent, improving from a 12.1-percent contraction in the previous quarter. After seasonal adjustment, the economy increased by 6.5 percent from the second quarter (%QoQ sa). In the first 9 months of 2020, the Thai economy contracted by 6.7 percent.

On expenditure side: government expenditure and public investment expanded, while private consumption, private investment, and export of goods declined at a slower pace compared with the previous quarter.
On production side: construction section accelerated, while the accommodation and food service activities, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and storage, wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply sectors all declined but at a slower pace than the preceding quarter. 

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

80.67% of enterprises believed that Thailand’s economy would be better in the next 12 months, 17.33% said that the economy would remain unchanged, and 2.00% 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 projected to decrease by 6.0 percent. Export value of goods in US dollar term is anticipated to decrease by 7.5 percent. Meanwhile, private consumption expenditure and total investment are expected to contract by 0.9 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Headline inflation is estimated to decline by 0.9 percent and the current account is projected to record a surplus of 2.8 percent of GDP.

Financial Conditions: In the third quarter of 2020, the policy interest rate kept unchanged at 0.50 percent per annum.

In both meeting on 5th August and 23rd September 2020, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to hold policy rate at 0.50 percent per annum, the historical lowest rate. The decision based on the assessment that the Thai economy in 2020 would contract with a slightly less than previous forecast and gradually recover following the easing of the lockdown or the control measures over the COVID-19. However, Thai economy in 2021 would expand at a lower rate than the previous economic outlook mainly due to the slow recovery of foreign tourist arrival. Similarly, major economies and other regional economies continued to keep their policy rates steady in this quarter. In particular, the Federal Reserve (Fed) had signaled to maintain its policy rate at a range of 0.00 - 0.25 percent per annum until labor market conditions reached levels of maximum employment and price stability goals. The Fed adjusted the term of achieving inflation target from the rate of 2 percent over the longer run goal to an inflation averages 2 percent for some time to increase flexibility on the stance of monetary policy over the long term. Likewise, Japan, China, Australia, England, Canada, India, Philippines, South Korea, and New Zealand also announced to kept their policy rate unchanged in this quarter. Meanwhile, Russia, Indonesia, and Malaysia lowered their policy rate by 25 basis points in July.

In October 2020, central bank of major economies and regional economies and announced to hold their policy rate unchanged in line with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

- Plans to use employees:

In the survey: 18.67% of enterprises expected to raise human resources; 69.33% of enterprises planned to remain and 12.00% enterprises will reduce the number of employees in the future.

According to (NESDC), Employment improved from the previous quarter, following the expansion in non-agricultural employment, whereas agricultural employment continued to decline. In addition, unemployment rate declined from the previous quarter, but still higher than the same period last year. In third quarter of 2020, employment increased by 1.2 percent which was the first time in six quarters. In details, non-agricultural employment increased by 1.8 percent, due mainly to the expansion of wholesale, retail sales, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles activities (4.6 percent), and construction activities (6.6 percent). In contrast, manufacturing activities and accommodation and food service activities were far below the level in the same period last year. On the other hands, employment in agricultural sector slightly declined by 0.1 percent, which improved moderately from a 0.3 percent contraction in the previous quarter. This was in line with the improvement of key agricultural products such as maize, poultry and paddy, etc. The rate of unemployment in the third quarter of 2020 stood at 1.9 percent declined slightly from a 2.0 percent growth in previous quarter, however this was still greater than 1.0 percent unemployment in same quarter of 2019. Besides, the average unemployment recorded at 737,649 persons compared with 394,026 persons in the same period last year.

- Investment plans for fixed assets:

58.00% of surveyed businesses planned to invest more costs for fixed assets, 38.00% of these still have no plan and 4.00% planned to reduce the cost for fixed assets in the next 12 months.

- The belief in revenue growth:

80.00% of participating enterprises were confident of an increase in sales, 19.33% of businesses said that the revenue would remain and 0.67% business is  concerned about the number of sales going down in the next 12 months.

- The belief in profit growth:

81.33% of enterprises believed that profit would rise in the following year, 18.00% of businesses believed that profit would remain and 0.67% business is concerned about the number of profit going down in the next 12 months.


According to (NESDC), Thai Economic Outlook for 2020: The Thai economy in 2020 is projected to decrease by 6.0 percent, contracting from a 2.4-percent growth in 2019. Headline inflation is expected to be at -0.9 percent and the current account is projected to record a surplus of 2.8 percent, compared with 7.0 percent in 2019.

In the November 16th 2020 press release, the NESDC forecasted that the Thai economy is expected to decline by 6.0 percent, upwardly revised from the range of (-7.8) – (-7.3) percent in the previous projection, released on August 17th, 2020, together with the revision in key growth components to be consistent with changing conditions and revised assumptions as follows;

1) The Thai economy in the third quarter performed better than expected, supported mainly by: (i) the private consumption recovered faster than anticipated due to business reopening and increased economic activities after the easing of containment restrictions. At the same time, the government also provided relief measures and a consumption stimulus package which resulted in the recovery of household expenditure in all categories; (ii) public investment notably accelerated more than expected in line with the expedition of the delayed FY2020 budget disbursement. Capital budget in the fourth quarter of FY2020 was disbursed at 171,036 million Baht, accounted for 30.8 percent disbursement rate of total capital budget, and higher than the projection of 26.9 percent, and (iii) the remarkable recovery of manufacturing and agricultural productions, following the improvement of domestic consumption and exports. In addition, the agricultural production improved due to a decrease at a slower pace of major crops while the livestock expanded consistently.
2) The revisions in key components to be consistent with the changes in economic growth in the first nine months of 2020 are as follows: (i) the upward revision of the world economy and trade volume in 2020 which are expected to decrease by 3.6 percent and 11.0 percent, respectively, an upward revision from 4.5-percent and 12.0-percent contractions in the previous assumption. This adjustment was in accordance with the better-than-expected economic condition in the third quarter in major economies, particularly the US, the Eurozone, and China which their economies recorded the highest growths in 3 quarters. Therefore, export value of goods in US dollar terms is revised upwardly from a 10.0-percent decline in the previous projection to a 7.5-percent contraction in this forecast; (ii) the upward revision of private consumption and private investment to be in accordance with the better-than-expected recovery in the third quarter, which are expected to decline by 3.1 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively in 2020, and (iii) the upward revision of public investment which is anticipated to grow by 13.7 percent, comparing with 8.6 percent in the previous projection. This was in line with the higher than expected budget disbursement in the fourth quarter of FY2020.





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Execution unit:
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.