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Pattaya Daily News

18 July 2007 :: 12:07:19 pm 22978

Finance Ministry Mulls New Foreign Debt Ceiling To Ease Baht Pressure

BANGKOK, July 18 (TNA) – In yet another attempt to ease the currency appreciation, the Finance Ministry is pondering adjustment of the cap on foreign currency debt for the new fiscal year which begins in October. At the same time, the Ministry intends to encourage state-owned enterprises to restructuring foreign currency debt into baht as much as possible.
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TNA has learnt from informed sources that in drafting the offshore borrowing plan for the 2008 fiscal year, the Finance Ministry intends to adjust downwards the ceiling of offshore borrowing currently at one billion US dollars. The new rate could be effective in August, subject to discussion with state enterprises and the public sector.

On another front, the Ministry plans to confer with state agencies and enterprises to speed up restructuring of foreign currency debt into baht with a view to lending a helping hand to cool down the Baht.

Efforts to convert foreign currency debt into baht will be focused on big borrows in the infrastructure sector, including the underground train operator MRT, power generator EGAT and airport operator AOT. While the currency swap of the debts by EGAT and AOT is making good progress, MRT is yet to finalise details.

Thailand’s balance sheet looks pretty healthy, with the country’s debt figure stood at 1.7 billion dollars. The country has recently paid off major loans such as those owed to Japan’s Bank of International Cooperation.

Of late, foreign loans incurred in the public sector reduced to $1.7 billion because the government repaid around $300 million to Japan Bank for International Cooperation on June 29 and is set to service around $400 million more.

In the past eight months, the ministry had managed to restructure 50.83 billion baht in foreign debts incurred by state agencies and enterprises, reducing the outstanding debts by 19.5 billion baht and interest burden totalling nearly 900 million baht. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Business News

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