Thai Finance Minister says plans more overseas borrowing

11/24/2020 | 07:53am

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand plans to borrow more from international lenders while its public debt level will not exceed its limit, the country's finance minister said on Tuesday, as the government tries to revive an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign borrowing costs are not much different from domestic funding and will help reduce the impact on domestic liquidity for the private sector, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.

"Right now, the private sector still needs domestic liquidity during the COVID crisis, so the government should look at more foreign borrowing," he told reporters.

Last week, the ministry signed a $1.5 billion loan deal from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help finance coronavirus response measures.

The loan is part of a bigger 1 trillion baht ($32.9 billion) borrowing plan aimed at alleviating the outbreak impact and reviving Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, which Arkhom expects to contract 6% this year.

The country's public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) will not exceed its 60% limit from 49.34% currently, he said.

In a statement, the ministry said it planned to seek new debt worth about 1.47 trillion baht in the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

That would include some 623 billion baht for financing the budget deficit and 550 billion baht under the coronavirus response borrowing plan. For the debt plan https://www.pdmo.go.th/en/plan-debt/plan-debt-public-management.

($1 = 30.4000 baht)

(Reporting by Kitphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

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