Thai fiscal and monetary policy to help ensure a full recovery in 2024 – Finance Minister

BANGKOK: Thailand’s fiscal and monetary policies are still working together to achieve 4 percent economic growth this year and ensure a full economic recovery, its finance minister said Thursday.

The central bank had expected Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which grew 1.6% last year after a 6.2% contraction in 2020, to fully recover in 2024, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said .

“Coordination between monetary and fiscal policy will continue until we are satisfied that the economy is fully recovered,” he told a business seminar.

Arkhom said the escalating crisis involving Russia and Ukraine could affect Thailand not only in terms of trade but also tourism, as many of its visitors come from Russia.

In January, about 18% of some 134,000 tourists to Thailand were Russians and in the year before the pandemic, Russians spent 102 billion baht ($3.14 billion) in the country, according to official data.

Thailand’s central bank left its key rate at a record low of 0.50% for three cuts in 2020 to support the economy, while the government introduced various measures with planned borrowing of 1.5 trillion baht since the pandemic.

There remains 100 billion baht available to help the economy and a new borrowing plan has not yet been considered, Arkhom said.

The government will mainly borrow domestically due to high liquidity and will borrow about $500 million from Japan this year, he said, adding that further foreign loans would be considered if needed later.

He expects public debt to reach 62% of gross domestic product by the end of the current fiscal year ending in September, up from 59% in December.

($1 = 32.45 baht)

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Ed Davies, Martin Petty)

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