The FTI conducted a regular confidence survey of manufacturers in various industrial groups in January.
The index dropped from 88.3 in December 2013 to 86.9 in January, its lowest point since June 2009. The index has now languished below 100 points for 19 consecutive months, showing low overall confidence among manufacturers, the chairman said.
Mr Payungsak attributed the decline in industry confidence to a decline in overall domestic orders, sales volume, output, poor business performance and manufacturers’ concerns over the current political turmoil after anti-government protesters sealed off several business areas and state offices.
Industry confidence for the next three months also dropped from 100.9 in December 2013 to 100 in January, mainly due to the impact of political uncertainty that affected domestic consumption and overseas orders for Thai products, he said.
The FTI chief said the survey found that manufacturers want the government to settle the drawn out political dispute by peaceful means as soon as possible to restore confidence among investors.
Manufacturers also want the government to help find financial sources to provide low-interest-rate soft loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase their liquidity, he said.
He added that relevant state agencies should help create confidence among importers of Thai goods by promoting the fact that Thai manufacturers are still able to produce and export ordered products as scheduled.