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November 12, 2008

Thai central bank weighs growth risk as rate cut decision nears
Under pressure from different quarters, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Thai central bank will take economic growth risk into account  for its decision on the policy interest rate  at the next meeting on December 3, state news agency TNA quoted the bank’s deputy governor Bandid Nijathaworn as saying Tuesday.

Given the easing of inflationary pressure now, he said, the MPC must process and assess the latest economic data, particularly regarding the country's economic slowdown in the third quarter.

In the next meeting of the MPC, he said, the central bank is under more pressure  to use the policy interest rate to oversee the economy than it was in its previous meeting  in October because the inflation rate had begun to decline and the economy had  experienced a slowdown.

He said the BoT viewed that Thailand had not been directly affected by the global economic crisis, making it unnecessary to cut the policy interest rate immediately.

However, Bandid said the current policy interest rate, which remains at 3.75 per cent, is considered low when compared with the inflation rate.

Such a level of interest neither obstructed nor limited business expansion inf the private sector, as could be witnessed by the 10.8 per cent growth of loans dispersed in September.

He affirmed that the BoT had attempted to oversee the liquidity in the financial system to the utmost of its ability to prevent a possible shortage.

Liquidity in Thailand currently remains normal, he said, adding, that it might become somewhat tighter in the short run because deposits had grown at a slower rate than loans.

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