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» The Business Confidence Index increased slightly in the First Quarter of 2021
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21st May 2021, Siam Ratings Agency Company Limited (SRA) announced the result of the survey about WVB Business Confidence Index in the first quarter of 2021.

SRA 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 April 2021 to the middle of May 2021, 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 medium enterprises accounted for over 97% of total enterprises participating in this quarter.

According to the survey, the Business Confidence Index (BCI) in the first quarter of 2021 reached 128 points, increased by 3 points compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 (125 points), This index shows that companies in Thailand have a positive perspective on the current economic situation, which most companies also say they are still confident that the Thai economy will improve in the next phase. Besides, there are also many enterprises that believe that the current economy has many fluctuations and it is difficult to predict due to the volatility of the global economy and Covid-19 variant in 2021.

Summary of investigation results of 6 components building Business Confidence Index (BCI) in the first quarter of 2021 as follows:

- On the general economic situation of Thailand today:
Only 23.33% of enterprises participating in the survey said that Thailand's overall economy is now better than 12 months ago, 52.67% of enterprises said that the economic conditions of Thailand remained the same. 24.00% of enterprises said that economic conditions were somewhat 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 2021 contracted by 2.6 percent, recovering from a 4.2-percent decrease in the previous quarter. After seasonally adjusted, the economy expanded by 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020 (%QoQ sa).

On expenditure side: the main supporting factors were the return to positive growths of export of goods and private investment, the continual expansions of government expenditure, and the accelerated government investment while private consumption and export of services declined due to the impact from a resurge in the new COVID-19 infections. Private consumption expenditure dropped by 0.5 percent, compared with a 0.9-percent growth in the previous quarter. Consumption of semi-durable products continued to decline by 10.8 percent, following the decreases in the expenditure on furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house and clothing and footwear.

On the production side, the manufacturing sector and the construction sector returned to expansion, while the agricultural sector, the information and communication sector, and the financial and insurance activities sector continued to expand. On the other hand, the accommodation and food services sector, the transportation and storage sector, the electricity, gas, stream, and air conditioning supply sector, and the wholesale and retail trade sector continued to decline.

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

 86.00% of enterprises believed that Thailand’s economy would be better in the next 12 months, 14.00% said that the economy would remain unchanged, and 0.00% of businesses are worried about Thailand’s economy in the future.

- Plans to use employees:

In the survey: 26.67% of enterprises expected to raise human resources; 67.33% of enterprises planned to remain and 6.00% of enterprises will reduce the number of employees in the future.

According to (NESDC), Employment improved following an increase for the third consecutive quarter according to the steady increase in job prospects in the agricultural sector, while non-agricultural workers are declining. The unemployment rate has increased slightly from the previous quarter and was higher than the same quarter last year. In the first quarter of 2021, employment continued to increase by 0.4 percent, Agricultural sector employment (share 29.46 percent) increasing by 2.8 percent. And it was the second consecutive quarterly increase in line with the increase in production of several key agricultural products such as paddy, cassava, and maize, etc. In addition, non-agricultural employment (share 70.54 percent) decreased by 0.5 percent, as a decrease in employment in construction (down 2.1 percent), wholesale, retail, and automotive repair sectors (down 0.9 percent), and accommodation and food service sectors (down 0.2 percent).

However, employment in the construction field increased for the third quarter to 4.5 percent, the unemployment rate in the quarter was 2.0 percent, slightly increased compared to 1.9 percent in the previous quarter, but higher than the unemployment rate (1.0 percent) in the same quarter last year, the average number of unemployed was at 7.6 hundred thousand people, compared with 3.9 hundred thousand people in the same quarter last year.

- Investment plans for fixed assets:

          60.67% of surveyed businesses planned to invest more costs for fixed assets, 35.33% 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:

          86.00% of participating enterprises were confident of an increase in sales, 14.00% of enterprises said that the revenue would remain and 0.00% business is concerned about the number of sales going down in the next 12 months.

- The belief in profit growth:
86.00% of enterprises believed that profit would rise in the following year, 14.00% of enterprises believed that profit would remain and 0.00% business is concerned about the number of Profit going down in the next 12 months.

According to (NESDC), Thai Economic Outlook for 2021: The Thai economy in 2021 is expected to show an expansion in the range of 1.5 – 2.5 percent, improving gradually from a 6.1-percent contraction in 2020, mainly supported by (i) the significant recovery of the global economy and merchandised trade, (ii) the government expenditure, and (iii) the low growth base in 2020. In all, it is expected that export values of goods, private consumption expenditure, private investment and public investment will increase by 10.3 percent, 1.6 percent, 4.3 percent, and 9.3 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the headline inflation is expected to be in a range of 1.0 – 2.0 percent, and the current account tends to register a surplus of 0.7 percent of GDP.

Key growth components include as follows:

1) Total consumption: (i) Private consumption is expected to grow by 1.6 percent, improving from a decrease of 1.0 percent in 2020, but downwardly revised from a 2.0-percent growth in the previous estimation. This adjustment is mainly due to the resurge of domestic infections which has been more severe than expected and tends to impact consumer spending particularly of those in a close-contact transaction. In addition, the government has had to uplift disease control measure in certain high-risk areas of infection. This is in line with a consumer confidence index in April that hit the record low of 40.3; and (ii) Government consumption expenditure is estimated to expand by 5.1 percent, accelerating from a 0.8-percent growth in 2020, but remained unchanged from the previous projection. This is in line with the unchanged assumptions of disbursement rates for the current budget under the FY2021 and the 1-trillion bath loan decree at 98.0 percent and 80.0 percent of total budget at the end of FY2020.

2) Total investment is projected to rise by 5.3 percent, compared with a 4.8-percent decrease in 2020, and revised downward from 5.7 percent growth in the previous anticipation. (i) Public investment is estimated to increase by 9.3 percent, revised down from a 10.7-percent expansion in the previous prediction due to a downward adjustment in the assumptions of FY2020 capital budget disbursement to 70 percent of total budget from 75 percent in the previous 5 projection. This adjustment was in line with the lower-than-expected actual capital budget disbursement in the first half of FY2020. (ii) Private investment is projected to grow by 4.3 percent, compared with a decrease of 8.4 percent in 2020, and an upward revision from a 3.8-percent growth in the previous prediction. This adjustment is corresponding to the recovery
trends of the world economy and global trade volume assumptions.

3) Export value of goods in US dollar terms is anticipated to grow by 10.3 percent, improving from a 6.6-percent contraction in 2020, and an upward revision from a 5.8-percent expansion in the previous projection. Export volume is forecasted to grow by 7.3 percent, revised upwardly from 3.8 percent in the previous projection due to the improvement of the world economy and merchandize trade assumption. Moreover, the export price is expected to be higher than the previous assumption following an escalating crude oil price in the global market and the upward tendencies of commodity prices. Nevertheless, the export of services is expected to decline in tandem with the expected decline in number of foreign tourists to be at 0.5 million persons in 2021, a downward revision from 3.2 million persons in the previous estimate. Consequently, the export quantity of goods and services in 2021 is estimated to increase by 1.8 percent, compared with a 0.2-percent contraction in the previous projection, and a 19.4-percent decline in 2020.





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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.