So September is over. The usual two difficult months of the year have passed, so what going forward? Thailand specifically, I suspect will begin to post better than expected tourism numbers during the 4Q19 – have a look at the google trends for searches on tourism sites in Thailand. I suspect export numbers will look better than expected, purely because when looking on a MoM basis one can argue that the reason for the poor export numbers in 2Q-3Q19 were due to the inventory stocking back in 2018. But for the market…let’s see, its not cheap nor expensive, and the consumer appears to be completely tapped out.

  1. Better tourist numbers, mainly Chinese, who spend less time in Thailand and generally spend less, offsetting the loss of western tourists who tended to stay longer and spend more. I don’t think the numbers reveal the true state of tourist revenues, some sectors like aviation services especially AOT can boast increase arrivals, but not many of them are reaching us in Prachuap province, where the tourist scene is dead as a dodo.

    • I disagree that Chinese tourists spend less. If you look at the VAT refunds increase over the past few years you’ll see that they are spending more.

  2. Nobody remembers Peter Lynch, sixties fund wunderkind, but he thought the man on the street was frequently better informed than the analysts–the observed “data” are right now. (He got thrown out of a store near the Street while observing consumers buying–or not buying–TAMPAX after a quarterly earnings miss. The consumers were still buying and Lynch accumulated a huge, very profitable position….) I walked into my branch of the second largest bank and the Asst Manager said, “Look! Monday! No customers!” This is 2km from the premier arts and crafts/hand-made furniture village in Thailand. Parking: no problem.

    • No customers doesn’t mean people are banking less, it just means digital banking is having a noticeable impact on physical branches.

      I worked for one of the largest banks in Australia a number of years ago and from the banks perspective, if your going to the bank to just make a withdrawal or deposit or pay a bill, the bank loses money on that transaction when you factor in the infrastructure and manpower required so you have counter to walk up to.

      If i were the Thai banks, I would encourage digital adoption as much as possible and cut as many physical branches that are in reality loss making to the Bank.

      • Agreed, 3-5 years of pain for the banks in this process.

        I do want to point out that I suspect some 50,000 Thai bank employees from 2018 until 2022 will be out of work. And with that salary loss (~2% of tax payers) I can suspect the mid income bracket of Thailand will continue to not drive the economy.

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