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Financial News: Thailand CB Holds Rate Unchanged Citing External Risks

Thailand CB Holds Rate Unchanged Citing External Risks

05/24/2017 - 06:08:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Thailand's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged again in May, saying that the improved growth outlook was still subjected to risks that warranted close monitoring.

The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to maintain the policy rate at 1.50 percent, the Bank of Thailand said in a statement on Wednesday. The decision was in line with economists' expectations.

The benchmark rate has been at the current level since April 2015, when it was reduced by a quarter point.

"With the economy gaining momentum and price pressure benign, it was no surprise that the Bank of Thailand (BoT) left its policy rate on hold at 1.50% today," Capital Economics economist Krystal Tan said.

"Looking ahead, we expect the BoT to keep interest rates unchanged for the rest of this year and next."

The economist also noted that this extended period of inaction by the BoT was unusual by historical and regional standards.

Policymakers assessed that the Thai economy's growth outlook improved further despite facing risks especially on the external front. The improvement was attributed to the continued recovery in exports as main trading partner economies gained momentum.

The risks to the growth outlook include US economic and foreign trade policies, China's economic structural reforms, and geopolitical risks, the bank said.

While headline inflation was forecast to fall below the target in some periods mainly due to supply side factors, it was projected to rise during the latter half of the year.

Overall financing conditions remained accommodative and conducive to economic growth with ample liquidity in the financial system and low real interest rates, the bank said.

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