Industrial activity sluggish in April

Thailand's overall industrial activity slowed in April but the political change in May is expected to revive it.

Withoon Simachokedee, industry permanent secretary, said on Wednesday the industrial economic indicator (IEI) fell from 45.45% in March to an unusually low 36.36% in April this year.

The decline was evident in all indicators — manufacturing, the number of applications for investment promotion and confidence.

He also said the industrial leading index stood at 98.52 points in April, pointing to an industrial recession in the next three months.

Somchai Harnhirun, director-general of the Office of Industrial Economics, said the manufacturing production index in April this year was at 156.63, falling by 3.9% year-on-year and 12.27% from March this year.

The industries facing a decline were automobiles, beer, canned and frozen seafood, household electrical appliances and hard disk drives.

In April, capacity utilisation stood at 56.58%, down from 64.46% in March this year and lower than the same month last year.

Natthapol Natthasomboon, director-general of the Industrial Works Department, said factory businesses fell by 10.67%, 9.8%, 4.23% and 36.01% year-on-year for the number of factories, their investment, their labour and their horsepower respectively.

Udom Wongviwatchai, secretary-general of the Board of Investment, said the business sentiment index was lower than normal at 39.03 points and showed that operators lost their confidence due to the economic slowdown, the increasing production costs and political concerns.

He said the political change should boost confidence comprehensively.

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