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Asia, Forex

Thai economy bottomed out in Q3 minutes

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BANGKOK, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Thailand’s economy bottomed out in the third quarter of this year and will continue to recover though uncertainty remains high, showed minutes of the central bank’s last policy meeting released on Wednesday.

As the Southeast Asian country deals with its worst coronavius outbreak, pent-up demand is expected to support the economic recovery throughout 2021, following progress on vaccination and an earlier-than-expected relaxation of containment measures, the minutes showed.

On Sept. 29, the Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy committee unanimously voted to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.50% for an 11th consecutive meeting.

The BOT next reviews monetary policy on Nov. 10, and analysts expect no rate change for the rest of the year.

The committee viewed that financial measures would be more effective than a further reduction in the already-low policy rate, the minutes showed.

Fiscal policy is the main driver of the recovery, while monetary policy must contribute to accommodative financial conditions, the minutes showed.

At the meeting, the BOT maintained its 2021 economic growth forecast at 0.7% but slightly raised its 2022 outlook to 3.9% growth from 3.7% projected in August.

The central bank will closely monitor the baht and ensure its movement does not hinder business and will expedite a new foreign exchange ecosystem, the minutes showed. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

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