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Thai central bank holds policy rate steady, cuts 2021 growth forecast

Abstract : The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country's central bank, on Wednesday maintained the policy rate at a low level amid efforts to support economic recovery, but lowered its economic growth forecast for 2021.

BANGKOK, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country’s central bank, on Wednesday maintained the policy rate at a low level amid efforts to support economic recovery, but lowered its economic growth forecast for 2021.

The BOT’s monetary policy committee held the policy rate unchanged at 0.5 percent, saying the economy continued to recover but downside risks and uncertainties remained high in the period ahead.

“The committee voted to maintain the policy rate at this meeting to preserve the limited policy space in order to act at the appropriate and most effective timing,” according to a statement on the BOT website.

It expected the economy to shrink 6.6 percent in 2020, better than previously expected contraction of 7.8 percent, due to improvement in private consumption and merchandise exports.

However, it lowered the 2021 growth forecast to 3.2 percent from previous 3.6 percent over concerns about the tourism industry and the situation of COVID-19.

The committee also expressed concerns over the baht’s potential rapid appreciation, which would further weigh on exports, saying it would consider the necessity of implementing additional appropriate measures.

The Thai economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism and exports, was hit hard by COVID-19. It shrank 12.2 percent year on year in the second quarter of the year, the worst contraction since the Asian financial crisis in 1998. The economic growth declined 6.4 percent in July-September from a year ago. Enditem

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Source: Thai central bank holds policy rate steady, cuts 2021 growth forecast

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