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Thai finance minister says economy not good, with growth worsening

by Uma
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Thai finance minister says economy not good, with growth worsening

Thai finance minister says economy not good, with growth worsening

BANGKOK (Reuters) -Thailand’s economy has not been good for a long time, with growth deteriorating as it faces structural problems, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

The government was working to lift economic growth to 3% this year from current projections of about 2.5%, Pichai Chunhavajira told a business seminar, adding growth was low compared with rates of close to 6% in the past.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy expanded 1.9% last year, lagging regional peers, as it faced weak exports and high household debt and borrowing costs. Average economic growth was 1.73% over the past decade.

Pichai said tourism would help drive the economy, as at least 35 million foreign tourist arrivals were expected this year. In 2019, before the pandemic, there was a record of nearly 40 million visitors.

He also said current household debt at more than 90% of gross domestic product needed to be urgently tackled amid rising bad loans.

Pichai said he was hoping the central bank would relax loan-to-value regulations for mortgages to support the property sector.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Kitiphong Thaichareon and Thanadech Staporncharnchai; Editing by John Mair)