Thais pessimistic about the economy ahead of 2019 election
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Thais pessimistic about the economy ahead of 2019 election

THAILAND’S economic performance is a major gripe of its citizens according to recent opinion polls, as the ruling military junta prepares to return the country to democracy early next year.

Data released this week by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce found that more than half of consumers surveyed (56.5 percent) said that Thailand’s economy in its current state is bad or getting worse, while only 5.8 percent think it is good or getting better.

The recent Suan Dusit Poll conducted in late May found that 63.46 percent of Thais cited a poor economy as a major complaint, reported the Bangkok Post. Many said their incomes were inadequate to meet higher costs of living, pushing them to take loans.

A recent spike in petrol prices has spurred inflation in the price of other commodities and the cost of living. The second most complained about issue was “political chaos”, with 40.59 percent of people stating that it had affected the country’s economy and image.

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Earlier this year, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha pledged to hold a democratic election “no later” than February 2019.

Corruption in the use of state budgets was cited third in the Suan Dusit Poll, with 31.75 percent of respondents stating that harsher penalties should apply for corrupt officials.

“Political anxiety, as the election has been postponed to February 2019, impacts the people and investors’ confidence,” Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting said as quoted by Khaosod English.

“Whether the cabinet reshuffle will affect confidence depends on which minister will be in charge, if people have confidence that a new person is capable of continuing ongoing policies.”