Thai economic recovery intact but inflation could impact growth – central bank chief

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s economic recovery is intact but inflation risks could weigh on the country’s growth outlook, the central bank governor said on Wednesday.

There was upside inflation risk brought on by the El Nino weather pattern pushing up food prices, plus higher oil prices, Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told a business forum.

Higher wages and government policies would also contribute to future inflation, he said.

His remarks come as the new government seeks to revive the sluggish economy with stimulus plans to boost consumer spending.

He said the central bank and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had differences of opinion on the economy but both were listening to each other.

Thailand’s overall financial system was strong and could withstand external shocks, Sethaput said, adding there was from fragility over household debt.

Household debt to GDP was 90.7% in the second quarter this year.

The BOT last month unexpectedly raised key interest rates to 2.50%, cutting this year’s growth forecast to 2.8% from 3.6% projected earlier

It raised 2024 outlook’s to 4.4% from 3.8%. Last year’s growth was 2.6%.

“The country’s capacity for long-term growth needs to be examined,” he said.

Fiscal spending should be limited because it would impact the economy, instead improving the ease of business and reducing regulations to draw more investment was more important, Sethaput said.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Martin Petty)