Thai central bank to deliver final rate hike

FILE PHOTO: Thailand's central bank is seen at the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK: The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is expected to raise its key interest rate by 25 basis points (bps) tomorrow and then hold it at that level for the rest of this year and the next, marking an end to a modest tightening cycle, a Reuters poll shows.

Unlike most economies in South-East Asia, inflation in Thailand has already returned to the central bank’s target range of 1% to 3%, and the commerce ministry expects it to ease sharply in May due to a high base in 2022 and lower fuel prices.

But governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said last month inflation risks remained and needed monitoring, suggesting the central bank’s policy moves are data-dependent.

A strong majority of economists polled, 17 of 22, expected the BoT to raise its benchmark one-day repurchase rate by 25 bps to 2% at its meeting tomorrow. The remaining five forecast no change.

If the majority view prevails, interest rates will be twice as high as they were before the Covid pandemic. — Reuters

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