Bank of Thailand keeps policy rate at record high as Covid-19 outbreak eases


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The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee decides to keep its key rate unchanged for 11 consecutive meetings. (Reuters photo)

The Bank of Thailand kept its policy rate unchanged on Wednesday as the Covid-19 epidemic in the country eases, allowing the government to ease movement restrictions to boost local demand and tourism.

The bank’s monetary policy committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to keep the overnight rate at a record 0.5% for an 11th consecutive meeting, as 19 out of 22 economists predicted in a report. Bloomberg survey. The other three expected a reduction of 25 basis points.

Thailand is joining other countries in Southeast Asia in slowly easing pandemic restrictions as it balances virus containment measures with measures to revive the economy. The government has promoted a ‘living with Covid-19’ strategy and stepped up its vaccination campaign, followed by a decision on Monday to reduce the quarantine period, shorten the nighttime curfew and allow more businesses to reopen.

Thailand reported 9,489 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, its lowest tally since July 15. About 33% of the population has been vaccinated, up from 18% a month ago.

Earlier this month, the central bank relaxed the rules on its low-interest lending program and stepped up incentives for banks to encourage debt restructuring.

The government raised the public debt-to-GDP ratio to 70%, from 60% from September 20, to allow an increase in public borrowing to fight the epidemic. The cabinet also approved a public debt management plan for the fiscal year beginning October 1, which includes 1.34 trillion baht in new borrowing primarily to finance the budget deficit, government investments and projects related to the virus.

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