According to a survey on household economic conditions for February, views of Thai households across the country toward economic conditions and the cost of living over the next three months remained unchanged. This is reflected in the 3-month Expected KR-ECI that was static at 47.1 in February. Households still had positive views toward income and employment, given the daily minimum wage rise slated for April 2018, while prices of some key agricultural produce, namely “Hom Mali” rice and cassava, have begun to increase. However, households were concerned about growing debt.
The KR-ECI fell to 46.3 in February, partly because of a seasonal factor, i.e., the Chinese New Year that forced many households to incur extra expenses. Their debt also increased on a substantial rise in credit card spending. However, they were more positive toward product prices, which were consistent with a 0.23 percent MoM decline in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in February.
It is expected that household economic conditions and the cost of living in March will improve as seasonal spending will decline, while product prices have become more stable. However, close attention must be paid to uncertainty in agricultural produce prices as they may pressure grassroots purchasing power.