Thai industrial sentiment falls slightly in February on slower domestic demand, exports

By Thomson Reuters Mar 12, 2024 | 10:54 PM

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The Thai industrial sentiment index fell slightly in February due to slower domestic demand and exports, though tourism lent some support, the Federation of Thai Industries said on Wednesday.

FTI said its industrial sentiment index in February slipped to 90.0 from 90.6 in the previous month.

Domestic demand was weaker than in January due to concerns about high living costs and household debt problems, while exports also slowed as the economies of trading partners remained weak, the FTI said.

Thailand’s household debt was about 91% of gross domestic product. The central bank has said a debt level higher than 80% of GDP could be a drag on long-term economic growth and pose risks to the country’s financial stability.

However, increased tourism, a hey driver of Thai growth, still supported sentiment, the FTI said, adding that another industrial index that projects sentiment over the next three months rose in February.

Thailand received 7.43 million foreign tourists from Jan. 1 to March 10, up 47% year-on-year, government data shows, with spending of 359 billion baht ($10 billion).

China was the biggest source market with 1.36 million visitors.

The government is aiming for a record 40 million foreign visitors this year, after recording 28.15 million arrivals last year.

($1 = 35.6800 baht)

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)