Thai PM says 25 bps rate cut won't cause large capital outflow as 'critical' economy needs urgent stimulus


BANGKOK (Reuters): Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Monday an interest rate cut of 25 basis points would not cause large capital outflows that could overly weaken the baht currency.

If that scenario were the case, however, it would be good for exports and tourism, he said on social media platform X. Srettha has been urging the central bank to cut rates, saying the current 2.5% level was hurting the economy. (Reporting by OraThai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

Thailand's economy is in a "critical situation" that requires urgent stimulus measures and a potential rate cut, officials from the prime minister's office also said on Monday, as the country pushes to draw new investments from the likes of EV maker Tesla.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who took power last August, has been pushing to revive South-East Asia's second-biggest economy, which has suffered from weak exports and a slow recovery from the pandemic compared with regional peers.

"Figures show we are not in good shape," Prommin Lertsuridej, chief of staff to the prime minister, told reporters, outlining a series of challenges ranging from low industrial capacity utilisation to ballooning household debt.

The economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter of 2023 and policymakers have downgraded the growth outlook for this year, adding to pressure on the central bank to give in to the prime minister's near-daily demands for an interest rate cut.

Prommin, a veteran political strategist, said there was room to reduce rates, which would help struggling households by putting more money in their hands, but said the government would not intervene in the central bank's decision making.

Srettha has outlined ambitions to make Thailand a regional hub for several sectors including electric vehicles (EVs), aviation, finance and the digital economy. He has also urged lawmakers to boost Thailand as a food, wellness and tourism hub.

"We are doing everything we can," Prommin said, referring to measures including visa-free tourism, policies to address household debt, and support for the critical agriculture sector.

A key election promise to give away 10,000 Thai baht ($279) to 50 million Thais to spend in their local communities was still in the pipeline, with implementation likely by late May, he said.

Critics have cautioned that the government's raft of measures - especially a $14 billion "digital wallet" handout scheme - may not be fiscally viable and could stoke inflation.

TALKS WITH TESLA

Thailand is continuing talks with auto major Tesla for a potential investment in the country, an official from the prime minister's office said.

The government has offered the EV maker access to 100% clean energy for a facility in Thailand that could encompass EVs and battery production.

"It is up to Tesla right now," Supakorn Congsomjit said, declining to provide further details.

Late last year, Tesla surveyed potential locations in the country, he added.

Long dominated by Japanese carmakers such as Toyota Motor and Honda Motor, Thailand has seen a wave of investment by Chinese EV makers, including BYD and Great Wall Motor, amounting to more than $1.44 billion.

In a bid to draw more foreign investment, Prommin said the government was working on multiple fronts, including easing visa regulations, amending laws for improving ease of doing business and upgrading physical and digital infrastructure. ($1 = 35.8100 baht)

(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal and Panu Wongcha-um; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Martin Petty and Alex Richardson) - Reuters

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Thailand , PM , BPS , Go down , won't hurt economy

   

Next In Aseanplus News

Alamak! Japanese dance team wows Malaysians by dancing to viral hit 'Alamak Raya Lagi'
Cambodia sees over 110,000 foreign tourists traveling across country during traditional New Year
Yingluck to follow in Thaksin’s legal footsteps on return: lawyer
Upcoming China train station looks like a sanitary pad, ridicule netizens
Pritam Singh appoints ex-prosecutor to defend him in court over his alleged lies to Parliament
Apple plans to invest more than $250 million to expand Singapore campus
Bursa Malaysia mixed at midday break, key index up
Mt Ruang eruption: Air travellers in Kuching stranded as flights cancelled
Mt Ruang eruption: Volcanic ash in Kota Kinabalu FIR affects multiple air routes, airports
Ruang eruption: Batik Air now cancels flights from KL to Sabah, Sarawak

Others Also Read