Thai PM to keep pressing for rate cut, seeks chief meeting

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin — Reuters

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Thursday said he would continue pushing the central bank to cut interest rates and would meet its governor again to discuss the issue at an appropriate time.

Srettha said there was space for easing and the current rate of 2.50%, a 10-year-high, was hurting the public and could exacerbate Thailand's stubbornly high household debt levels.

"With 2.5%, there is still plenty of room if there is any crisis," he told reporters.

He said a cut of 25 basis points should not be a problem for the central bank in driving its policies.

On Tuesday, Srettha also asked the central bank to cut rates before its next scheduled meeting on April 10, saying the economy was at a "critical" stage.

Srettha, who is also finance minister, has been at loggerheads with the central bank over the direction of monetary policy, repeatedly saying rate cuts will help an economy he describes as being in crisis, as it confronts high household debt and China's slowdown.

Thailand's household debt ratio has been hovering at about 90% of gross domestic product.

The central bank chief has openly disagreed with Srettha and said Thailand's issues were structural and cutting rates or pumping stimulus into the economy, as the government is proposing, would not address weaknesses. - Reuters

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