Bank of Thailand, lenders offer more help for pandemic-hit debtors

The Bank of Thailand and the Thai Bankers’ Association said on Friday they would offer more support measures for debtors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want debtors, SMEs and individuals who were impacted to receive the necessary fixes in the face of uncertainty,” Deputy BoT Governor Ronadol Numnonda told a news conference, adding that debt restructuring measures will help with liquidity.

Commercial banks remain strong and able to support debtors he said, and measures will be fair to creditors and debtors and will avoid creating moral hazards, said Mr Ronadol.

The Southeast Asian country has reported over 1.2 million cases and over 12,000 deaths, most of which came after April this year brought on by the Alpha and Delta variants.

Containment measures have crippled activity in Thailand’s crucial tourism sector, which in a normal year accounts for 11-12% of GDP and 20% of employment. Increased exports and fiscal measures have lent the economy some support.

The majority of debtors for the programme are in the travel and supply chain industries, said Thai Bankers’ Association chairman, Payong Srivanich.

Construction and real estate have also been affected.

Last month, the government cut its 2021 economic growth forecast to 0.7% to 1.2% from 1.5% to 2.5%, the third time it has done so.