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Pattaya Daily News

02 June 2011 :: 08:06:25 am 54341

Thailand steps up fight against inflation

BANGKOK, 1 June 2011 - Thailand raised its key interest rate on Wednesday for the seventh time in under a year to tackle inflation - the latest effort by a fast-growing Asian economy to prevent overheating.
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The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to increase the cost of borrowing to 3.0 percent, up from 2.75 percent previously.

It has lifted its key rate by a total of 175 basis points since July 2010.

“We think inflation is likely to rise following the increase in food, oil and commodity prices. Our policy interest rate will be increased gradually to suit the actual conditions,” said assistant governor Paiboon Kittisrikangwan.

The move came just hours after official figures showed consumer price inflation increased to 4.19 percent on-year in May, from 4.04 percent in April.

Around much of Asia, stimulus measures introduced in response to the 2008-9 global financial crisis are being rolled back, leading to an influx of foreign investment attracted by increased yields.

This flood of hot money is presenting new challenges such as strengthening Asian currencies – which are bad for exports – and fears of asset price bubbles as investors seek opportunities outside debt-laden Europe.

Thailand raised its key interest rate in July last year for the first time in almost two years as the economy recovered from the financial turbulence and the fallout from deadly political unrest in Bangkok in early 2010.

Economists expect the rate rises to continue as tackling inflation is a priority for policymakers.

“We think the Bank of Thailand will raise the policy interest rate by 0.25 percentage points at their next meeting in July,” said Nalin Chutchotitham, an economist at Kasikorn Bank.

The Thai economy returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 on the back of solid exports and private consumption, snapping out of a brief technical recession.

Economic growth accelerated to 2.0 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months to March, the quickest pace in a year, helped by surging exports, the government said last month.

The Bank said Japan’s March earthquake-tsunami disaster – which has hit Thai auto production due to a parts shortage – is expected to reduce growth in the second quarter of this year.

“But we believe that the situation will improve sooner than expected,” Paiboon added.

Report by : channelnewsasia

Photo : Internet   Category : Business News

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