Thai Consumer Confidence Rises as Economy Recovers
Supunnabul Suwannakij and Suttinee Yuvejwattana

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s consumer confidence rose in November after falling a month earlier as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy began to recover from its recession.

An index measuring sentiment advanced to 69.1 last month from 68 in October, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said in Bangkok today. The gauge tracks a nationwide survey of 2,242 respondents.

“Signs of economic recovery and the government’s economic stimulus spending helped improve consumer confidence,” Thanavath Phonvichai, an economist at the university, said in Bangkok today.

Thailand’s economy shrank 2.8 percent last quarter, the smallest contraction in a year, as an export slump eased. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has stayed in power for about a year, longer than his two predecessors, enabling the government to implement a 116.7 billion-baht ($3.5 billion) stimulus package in the first half of 2009.

The government plans to spend 1.3 trillion baht on transportation, logistics, health-care and education projects over three years to spur growth. It expects the $261 billion economy to expand this quarter after contracting for the past year, and the Bank of Thailand forecasts growth of as much as 5.3 percent next year, driven by an improving global economy and fiscal spending.

The baht has climbed more than 4.6 percent against the dollar this year as the global economic recovery revived demand for exports by Thai companies including Hana Microelectronics Pcl and Aapico Hitech Pcl.

The Bank of Thailand last week kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a five-year low of 1.25 percent, saying accommodative policies are still needed and the economic recovery will be “gradual.”