Category : International, SE Asia
Bangkok. Thailand's central bank will keep its benchmark interest rate near record lows again, a Reuters poll showed, as inflation is benign and the economy is improving but high household debt levels remain a concern.
The baht is at more than two-year highs against the US dollar, but that should not prompt a rate cut, as policymakers have said Thailand's export competitiveness has not been dented by the currency's strength.
All 21 economists in the poll forecast the Bank of Thailand's one-day repurchase rate will be kept at 1.50 percent when its monetary policy committee meets on Aug. 16.
The rate has been steady since a quarter-point cut in April 2015.
Annual headline consumer prices rose just 0.17 percent in July, well below the Bank of Thailand's 1-4 percent target range.
All 18 analysts in the poll who gave a view on year-end rates also expected no change throughout 2017.
At its July 5 review, the MPC said policy should remain accommodative as domestic demand was not sufficiently broad-based.
Growth in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy still lags regional peers. The Bank of Thailand predicts growth of 3.5 percent this year after 3.2 percent in 2016.