Bangkok (NNT/VNA) – Public confidence in the economy has improved for the first time in five months following clarity in the general election and with tourist numbers also up, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has projected that spending during the Valentine and Maka Bucha Day period will be no less than 6.3 billion THB.

Director of UTCC’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center Thanawat Polwichai today revealed survey results that found consumer confidence in January this year was 54.5 points, the first strong reading in five months. Most respondents attributed their optimism to clarity concerning the general election as well as improvements in the US-China trade war and a return of Chinese tourists. Increasing farm goods’ prices also contributed to the higher confidence.

The consumer confidence index for the next six months is also strong at 92.3 points.

Studies into Valentine’s spending have led the center to believe that no less than 3.7 billion THB will be circulated due to the holiday, down 3.17 percent from last year and the first decrease in 13 years. The weakened projection was attributed to Valentines falling in between other major holidays, namely Chinese New Year and Maka Bucha Day. Spending per person has been estimated at 2,300 THB with most intending to buy gifts, flowers, chocolate or dine outside the home.

For Maka Bucha Day, the center foresees 2.667 billion THB being spent, up 3.12 percent. Spending per person is estimated at 1,642 THB, mostly for alms offerings, merit making and tourism.-NNT/VNA