Thailand’s economy in recession, needs a boost, says top official

January 29, 2024 11:24 am | Updated 11:35 am IST

Cargo ships are pictured near the port in Bangkok. File

Cargo ships are pictured near the port in Bangkok. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Thailand's economy is in a state of recession due to a high level of household debt, a deputy Finance Minister said on January 29, reiterating the need for stimulus to jumpstart the economy.

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat said the Government was committed to delivering on its signature 500 billion baht ($14.05 billion) handout plan of transferring 10,000 baht to 50 million Thais, and hoped a delay in its rollout would not be long.

The Government last week slashed its 2024 growth projections to 2.8% from an earlier forecast of 3.2% on weaker exports and lower foreign tourist numbers. It also lowered the 2023 growth estimate to 1.8% from 2.7%. That compared to growth in 2022 of 2.6%.

"If you ask, now it's at the dangerous level. It's a kind of economic recession," Mr. Julapun told reporters. "This is caused by a situation where the household debt burden is high. People's debt burden is high, private sector debt burden is high." He added: "It's difficult to drive the economy forward. That's why we've seen economic growth that has always been sluggish."

Mr. Julapun also said Thailand is planning to issue bonds overseas in the next one or two years in dollar, yuan and yen. He said there would be a sale of government savings bonds worth about 100 billion baht ($2.81 billion) in the 2024 fiscal year, with the first batch in march.

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