Thailand’s gradual policy tightening still appropriate – central bank
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s gradual, measured policy normalisation is still an appropriate approach, as the economy continues to recover on the back of increased tourism and domestic spending, the central bank said.
The strategy has helped prevent the private sector’s cost of borrowing from rising too fast and given room for every sector to adjust, Deputy Governor Mathee Supapongse said in a statement released on Friday.
But the Bank of Thailand (BOT) was ready to adjust the pace and timing of its policy tightening should the outlook for the economy and inflation shift from its assessments, he said.
The BOT has raised its policy rate by a total of 100 basis points since August to 1.50%. It is expected to hike the rate again by a modest quarter point at its next meeting on March 29, when it will also update economic projections.
In November, it predicted economic growth of 3.7% this year and 3.9% in 2024.
Headline inflation should ease further and return to the BOT’s target range of 1% to 3% in the second half of the year, Mathee said.
Thailand’s external stability remained good with low foreign debt and high international reserves, he said.
“The external strength has helped Thailand withstand with the impacts of external factors,” he added.
(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong; Editing by Martin Petty)