Thai election – a tonic for the consumer

Thai consumer confidence has risen for the second straight month, according to the latest survey by the Thai Chamber of Commerce, which cited the elections as a major driver. Scheduled for 24 March, Thailand's elections will be the first since the military coup in 2014.

Elections are typically a boost for consumer spending, as campaigns involve consumer handouts and stimulus packages. There was an upsurge in consumer spending in the elections in 2006, 2011 and 2014, which saw stronger sales of key consumer items such as liquor, basic food and snacks.

Incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha’s THB86.9bn (US$2.8bn) handout to the poor and senior citizens will also buttress consumption. We expect an increase in the consumption of discretionary food items, snacks and liquor.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) estimated that there will be direct spending of THB50bn (US$1.6bn) ahead of the polls, with printing and billboards representing a fifth of this amount. The rest would be expenses on food and liquor for the supporters. It is typical for candidates to fund an army of supporters and well-wishers.



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