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10 Feb 2021

Econ Digest

New COVID-19 outbreak caused KR-ECI to drop from the previous month

        The KR Household Economic Condition Index (KR-ECI) in January 2021 and the 3-month Expected KR-ECI both fell from the previous month to 37.2 and 38.8, respectively, due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in the middle of December 2021, which led to the reintroduction of virus prevention and control measures, albeit without the same level of strictness seen during the first outbreak. Nonetheless, economic activities once on the verge of recovery were again entering a period of stagnation, raising concerns about income and job security among households.

        KResearch asked Thai households about the effects the ‘new wave’ pandemic has had on their daily lives compared to the first outbreak. A majority of respondents (44 percent) replied that they had been moderately affected, had grown familiar with coping strategies and were able to lead generally normal lives. Another 24 percent reported that they had been highly affected (equally worried by the situation as during the time of the first wave). The survey also revealed that certain households continued to be affected by the issue of reduced working hours, which led to varying degrees of income loss. Therefore, the government’s relief measures may still be necessary to ease the impact of COVID-19 on affected households. The survey results also found that most of the programs implemented by the government were in line with households’ needs. Most households are in favor of financial assistance in the form of cash handouts (50.6%). In light of the previous outbreak, Thai households are calling for an increase in subsidies for businesses to maintain employment.
        The COVID-19 situation in Thailand has shown improvement from the previous month, with proactive testing revealing a gradual decrease in the number of daily cases. At the same time, there has been increased relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, such as an extension of operating hours for fitness centers and restaurants, which have only recently resumed their operations. Moreover, the hope presented by the vaccines’ arrival beginning in February should help to boost confidence among households. Nevertheless, social distancing practices need to be observed until herd immunity is achieved through mass vaccinations. For the time being, household consumption behaviors are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in a longer path to economic recovery.

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Econ Digest