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Thai central bank makes mistakes - economist


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August 1, 2008

Thai central bank makes mistakes - economist
BANGKOK, Aug 1 Asia Pulse - The Bank of Thailand (BoT) should adjust its conceptual framework on a way to solve economic woes the country is facing now, according to a leading economist.

Speaking at a seminar on "The Future of the Thai Economy Under New Economic Geology," former finance minister Virabongsa Ramangkura that the central bank's decision to solve the economic problems through its monetary policy had mistakes and led to economic crisis on several occasions.

He said the Thai economy had been unusually affected by hefty oil prices and surging inflation rates.

Yet many observers fear that the Ministry of Finance, which supervises monetary policy, could bring about economic complications and troubles if it intervenes in the central bank's performance.

But, he emphasised, the fiscal policies adopted by the ministry to solve the economic problems had never put the economy into crisis, Virabongsa said.

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He predicted that a new economic crisis would be caused by the central bank once again if it failed to heed the opinions of other players, as on many occasions in the past. Should an economic crisis unfold, he warned the government not to put Thailand's economy under supervision of the International Monetary Fund again.

"Thailand has already learned a bitter lesson from seeking IMF assistance," Virabongsa warned.

The IMF had little understanding of Thai economic conditions, especially paying little attention to the production sector and employment aspects.
He brushed aside concerns regarding the current account deficit, saying the indicators had not yet exceeded 5 per cent of the gross domestic product and that international reserves continued to increase.

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