Thai economy expanding as policy rate nears stability level – central bank minutes

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s economy should continue to expand as the policy rate is approaching a level consistent with long term stability, minutes of the central bank’s Aug. 2 monetary policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

Public consumption and investment were expected to decline from a year ago due to a delay in the budgeting process, the minutes said, but should recover in 2024, the minutes showed.

On Aug. 2, the Bank of Thailand’s policy committee voted unanimously to increase the one-day repurchase rate by a quarter point to 2.25%, citing lingering inflation risks.

“The committee judges the economy to expand toward the potential level driven mainly by tourism and private consumption,” the minutes said, and that exports which contracted in short term should pick up as global economic activity gains momentum.

The committee expects risks in growth from export delays, the impact from the El Niño weather pattern and domestic political uncertainty.

Thailand has been under a caretaker government for five months as deadlock prolongs following the election-winning Move Forward party’s failure to form a government.

The BOT will next review the rate on Sept. 27, when some economists expected no policy change, marking the end of the tightening cycle.

The BOT has hiked the key rate by 175 basis points since August last year.

“Monetary policy should keep inflation sustainably within the target range and foster longer-term macro-financial stability by preempting the build-up of financial imbalances,” the minutes said.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Martin Petty)