Thai economy hit bottom in third quarter – central bank minutes

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BANGKOK: The Thai economy hit a low in the third quarter of this year and will continue to recover although uncertainty remains high, according to the minutes of the latest central bank policy meeting released on Wednesday.

As the Southeast Asian country faces its worst coronavius ​​outbreak, pent-up demand is expected to support economic recovery through 2021, following progress in immunization and an earlier-than-expected easing of measures containment, according to the minutes.

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On September 29, the Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy committee voted unanimously to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record high of 0.50% for an 11th consecutive meeting.

The BOT then reviews monetary policy on November 10, and analysts do not expect any rate changes for the remainder of the year.

The committee felt that financial measures would be more effective than a further cut in the already low key rate, according to the minutes.

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Fiscal policy is the main driver of the recovery, while monetary policy should contribute to accommodating financial conditions, according to the minutes.

At the meeting, the BOT kept its economic growth forecast for 2021 at 0.7%, but slightly raised its 2022 outlook to 3.9% from 3.7% expected in August.

The central bank will keep a close watch on the baht and make sure its movement does not hamper business and accelerate the creation of a new currency ecosystem, according to the minutes.

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(Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

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