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March 26, 2009

Thai PM brushes aside report on $400m China loan request
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday denied a report that the government was looking for a $400 million loan from China to help the economy.

Asked by reporters whether the government was seeking such a loan, he replied: "No, we aren't. Today our borrowing sources are only the World Bank, the ADB and JICA."

The government is in the process of borrowing $1 billion from the World Bank and $500 million each from the Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The lending was approved by parliament late on Tuesday, so the government can now formally begin talks on the seven-to-ten-year loans.

The final terms of the loans will also have to be approved by the cabinet and parliament. The government has said it expected to receive the funds in the third quarter of the year.

The Nation newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Finance Ministry was to seek a $400 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to help the economy with further stimulus measures.

It said the request would be submitted to the bank via Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who is in Thailand until Thursday.

Abhisit said he would meet with Yang later on Wednesday but would only discuss general economic cooperation and preparations for a regional summit in Thailand in April.

Like other governments around the world, Thailand has launched stimulus measures to limit the impact of the economic slowdown. Abhisit has also spoken recently about huge infrastructure projects and ministers will discuss this on Wednesday.


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