Thailand

Thailand’s central bank will take further steps to ease restrictions on capital outflows in coming months as it tries to curb gains in the baht, Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said, Bloomberg News reported. The Bank of Thailand plans to increase the amount of proceeds exporters can hold overseas, liberalize foreign-currency deposit accounts and take steps to enable insurance companies to invest more abroad, Veerathai said in an interview Wednesday at his Bangkok office.

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Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved loan measures worth 260 billion baht (6.54 billion pounds)to help small and medium-size companies, affected by weak exports amid global trade tensions and a strong currency, a finance ministry official said, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. That includes soft loans worth 195 billion baht and 65 billion baht in loan guarantees to be arranged by state banks, Lavaron Sangsnit, head of the finance ministry's fiscal policy office, told a briefing.

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BAAC Rejigs to Focus On Communities

The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) is set to revamp its branches' tasks to focus on community business development to boost the income of rural people and step up efforts to fight poverty, the Bangkok Post reported. Some 20% of the bank's 20,000 employees across the country will prioritise development of community business and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) farming, said president Apirom Sukprasert.

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Thailand is set to end 2019 at the weakest pace of growth in five years and little to cheer about next year, as South-east Asia’s second-largest economy faces headwinds from global trade tensions, a surging baht and rising political risks, Malay Mail reported. The export-reliant country has been sharply hit by the Sino-US trade conflict. Exports may fall 3.3 per cent in 2019 before rising just 0.5 per cent in 2020, according to the Bank of Thailand (BOT).

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Debt Steady From Weak Housing Sales

Thailand's household debt in the second half this year has slowed from the first half thanks to weak housing demand, excess supply in the property market and tighter lending from financial institutions, the Bangkok Post reported. Car loans slowed down because of lower car and motorcycle sales, while most financial institutions retained strict scrutiny for credit lending, according to a report to the cabinet yesterday by state planning unit National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). Yet loans for other personal consumption increased, mainly for credit cards.

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Thailand’s Pace Development Corp., owner of gourmet grocer Dean & DeLuca, said it’s in default on 2.6 billion baht ($88 million) of debt owed to one of the nation’s top banks, Bloomberg News reported. Siam Commercial Bank Pcl has asked the firm to repay outstanding amounts by Nov. 4, Pace Development said in a stock exchange filing on Monday. The company said it will accelerate discussions with the lender to prepare financial restructuring and debt management plans so it can continue developing projects.

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Teachers threatening to stop repaying loans from the Government Savings Bank are risking bankruptcy and disqualification from government service, deputy justice permanent secretary Tawatchai Thaikyo warned on Tuesday. He was responding to the announcement by leaders of a network of professional teachers' organisations meeting in Maha Sarakham on Saturday that their 450,000 members would stop paying off debts to the state-owned bank next month in protest at increasing interest rates, the Bangkok Post reported. "Be prepared to become bankrupt if you owe more than 1 million baht...
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Thailand's Central Bankruptcy Court has approved a business plan for Sahaviriya Steel Industries Pcl (SSI), Thailand's biggest steel maker, to restructure debts worth 69.2 billion baht ($1.94 billion), Reuters reported. The court cleared SSI to implement the restructuring plan after some 91.90 percent of its creditors voted in favour in September, SSI said in a statement on Thursday. Progress on restructuring SSI's debt will be positive for the Thai banking sector as bank creditors will be able to reduce reserves related to SSI loans.
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Thai hotel group Minor International has made its biggest ever acquisition with a 294 million euro ($320 million) deal to buy 14 Tivoli chain hotels that belonged to the collapsed Espirito Santo Group, Reuters reported. The purchase of the properties in Portuagl and Brazil is part of Minor's aggressive eoverseas expansion plan. The group said last year that it wanted to have 190 hotels by 2019. The Tivoli deal lifts its tally to 145.
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Thailand’s newly-minted central bank governor said Monday that the country’s economy is entering a difficult transition, and that he stands ready to tailor the bank’s policies to support more growth while strictly managing price pressures, the Wall Street Journal reported today.
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