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Majority Thais See Little Improvement in Economy

Thailand’s once-booming gems and jewelry sector loses luster.Thailand’s once-booming gems and jewelry sector loses luster.

A majority of people see no or little improvement in the Thai economy in 2016 when compared to 2015, according to the result of an opinion poll conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration.

The poll was conducted on Dec 13-15 on 1,255 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country to compile their opinions on the Thai economy in 2016 and the government’s economic stimulus measures, OANA News reported.

On the question of whether the Thai economy has improved compared to last year, 40.32% of the respondents said they saw no or little improvement; 16.65% said it was even worse than last year; 9% said it was about the same as last year; and, 1.12% were uncertain. Only 28.69% said the economy had fairly improved while 4.22% said it had made considerable improvement.

Over government’s cash handouts of 1,500 and 3,000 baht ($41.81 and $83.63) to low-income earners at the end of the year to stimulate the economy, the respondents gave mixed opinions on the measure. Most or 42.15% said the measure was suitable as it would help low-income earners to survive in the present state of economy; 37.21% viewed it as not suitable and without sustainability; 21.04% said it had made considerable improvement.

Over government’s tax break that will allow shoppers an income-tax deduction of up to 15,000 baht on domestic purchases of goods and services between Dec 14-31, a majority or 43.67%, said it would cause the people to attach importance to collecting tax invoices; 18.01% viewed it as an unsustainable measure; 17.61% said it would help bring more shops into the value-added tax system; 10.52% said it would benefit only major retailers; 8.05% were of the opinion that it would not benefit people who are not eligible for a tax payment and 5.5% said it would not help stimulate the economy as much as expected.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s gems and jewelry exports will likely decline for a second straight year amid increased competition and a global economic slowdown, Kasikorn Bank’s research firm said on Friday.

Thailand’s jewelry segment has traditionally been a major export revenue earner. The Southeast Asian country is a regional manufacturing base known for its extensive network of diamond and gem artisans.

 

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