Thai central bank holds rate as expected, lowers 2021 growth forecast

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BANGKOK, March 24 (Xinhua) — The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country’s central bank, on Wednesday held its policy rate unchanged at a record low level and slightly lowered its growth forecast for 2021 as new COVID-19 outbreak weighs on the economy.

The BOT Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) held the policy rate steady at 0.5 percent, its seventh straight hold, saying economic recovery continued but downside risks and uncertainties remained high in the period ahead.

Titanun Mallikamas, secretary of the MPC, said the committee voted to maintain the policy rate to preserve the limited policy space to act at the appropriate and most effective timing.

The monetary policy must remain accommodative, while fiscal measures must continue to sustain the economy, according to Titanun.

The central bank said it expected the Thai economy to expand by 3.0 percent in 2021, slightly lower than its previous forecast of 3.2 percent, over concerns about the tourism industry and a new wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the Southeast Asian country.

Thailand’s economy is projected to grow 4.7 percent in 2022, according to the BOT.

The country’s tourism-reliant economy contracted 6.1 percent last year in its sharpest decline since 1998. Enditem

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