Thai c.bank will cut 2019 growth forecast again as risks rise -governor
* Says trade protectionism is escalating, far from over
* Says worried about baht strength, will act on excessive
* Finmin says stimulus package can add 0.55 pct point to
(Adds details, quotes)
By Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai
BANGKOK, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Thailand's central bank will
lower its 2019 economic growth forecast of 3.3% as growth is
slowing amid "escalating trade protectionism, which is likely
far from over", the governor said on Monday.
Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob also told a
seminar in Khon Kaen in the Thai northeast that strength in the
baht, Asia's best performing currency this year, remains a
The central bank will review its economic forecasts at the
next monetary policy meeting, on Sept. 25.
In June, the BOT cut its forecasts for 2019 GDP growth and
exports for the third time in six months, to 3.3% from 3.8%,
with exports flat, rather than rising 3%.
In 2018, Southeast Asia's second-largest economy grew 4.1%,
the best in six years but still less than regional peers.
Veerathai's comments came hours after the state planning
agency reported 2.3% annual growth in the second quarter, the
weakest in nearly five years.
While concerned about the baht's strength, the BOT has only
acted on excessive moves in the currency, Veerathai said.
"We are not comfortable as the baht has strengthened against
the currencies of trade partners and competitors," he said.
"The central bank will have to intervene when there are
large foreign funds coming in. If we don't do it, the baht will
appreciate too rapidly. To prevent that, we will intervene".
The baht has strengthened 5.5% against the dollar
this year, putting pressure on Thailand's trade-dependent
The government planning a $10 billion stimulus package which
Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said should boost economic
growth by 0.55 percentage points, lifting 2019's pace to at
On Aug. 7, the BOT cut its policy rate for the
first time since April 2015, by a quarter point to 1.50%, just
25 basis points above the record low. Most economists expect
more easing this year.
However, Veerathai said Thailand's current policy rate is
considered "very low" compared with those in neighbouring
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)
First Published: 2019-08-19 08:49:00
Updated 2019-08-19 12:28:48
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