Positive sentiment among Japan firms in Thailand at 6-year high

BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese companies operating in Thailand are upbeat about the business climate thanks to recovery in the automobile sector and its spillover effects to other sectors, with a diffusion index for the second half of this year reaching the highest level in six years.

The index for the direction of the business climate in the July-December period rose to 40, up 4 points from the first half of this year, for the sixth straight half-year improvement, according to a survey by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok. It was the highest positive figure since the latter half of 2012 when the index stood at 41.

According to the survey, the indexes for manufacturers and non-manufacturers in the latter half of this year came to 36 and 45, up from 32 and 41 from the first half, respectively.

Business sentiment in sectors such as textiles, general machinery, transportation machinery, trading and retailers improved, while that in sectors like chemicals and construction fell.

Hiroki Mitsumata, director of the economic research group at the chamber and head of the Japan External Trade Organization's Bangkok office, said, "Automobile sales in the domestic and overseas markets are recovering, bringing positive effects to other sectors."

The chamber polled 1,749 member firms in May and June this year, of whom 557 responded.

Seventy percent of the respondents said their sales in the 2018 business year will rise, up 5 percentage points from the previous year, the survey said, adding 84 percent said their pretax profits will increase, up 6 points. (NNA/Kyodo)