The Bank of Thailandís Monetary Policy Committee on Wednesday unanimously decided to retain the benchmark interest rate at 1.5 percent.

Mr Chaturong Chantharangsi, the central bankís assistant governor for monetary policy, said it was the 19th time that the committee decided to retain the policy rate at 1.5 percent which will enable the economy to further expand.
Although there are clearer signs of increased demands, he said that the Monetary Policy Committee was still concerned and would continue to closely follow up the recovery of domestic demands and would attach importance on economic growth.

The central bank has assessed that economic expansion would be stronger than earlier forecast as a result of export expansion and steady domestic demand recovery with the tendency of increased inflation rate but at a slower rate than earlier predicted due to price drop in fresh food, said Mr Chaturong.

Although government investment has slowed down with the disbursement of investment postponed somewhat, he noted that the overall investment capital has not decreased whereas the consumption of the private sector is gradually expanding in line with the not so strong purchasing power.

The central bank has projected economic growth rate for the whole year at 3.8 percent from previous projection of 3.5 percent with consumption of the private sector projected at 3.3 percent from 3.1 percent, private sectorís investment projection of 2.3 percent from 1.7 percent, government sectorís investment projection of 5 percent from 7.7 percent and government sectorís consumption projection of 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.

The central bank has projected export expansion for the whole year at 8 percent from 5 percent; imports at 14 percent from 10.9 percent with export expansion for next year projected at 3.2 percent from 1.7 percent and imports at 6.3 percent from 5.4 percent.

Benchmark interest rate kept at 1.5 percent for the 19th time - Thai PBS English News