Thailand: Oil Fund borrowing bumps up public debt-to-GDP ratio

Thailand’s public debt-to-GDP ratio rose to 61.4% in fiscal 2023, above an earlier estimate of 60.4%, after the inclusion of the Finance Ministry’s total guarantee for the Oil Fuel Fund’s borrowings — tallying 110 billion baht — in the country’s public debt management plan.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said a meeting of the ministry’s public debt committee approved the first adjustment to the management plan for fiscal 2023.

The key adjustment comprised the addition of the ministry’s loan guarantee for the Oil Fuel Fund of an additional 80 billion baht in the debt management plan, adding to the existing 30-billion-baht guarantee included in the plan.

With the adjustment, raising the ministry’s loan guarantee total to 110 billion baht, the public debt-to-GDP ratio inched up to 61.4%, Mr Arkhom said.

Before including the loan guarantee total of 110 billion baht into the plan, the ministry estimated the public debt-to-GDP ratio in fiscal 2023 at 60.4%.

The ministry plans to forward the adjusted debt plan to the cabinet for consideration, he said.


An executive decree from Oct 5 last year allows the ministry to provide a guarantee of up to 150 billion baht for loan repayment and borrowing by the fund, with the aim of propping up the fund’s liquidity and helping it deal with rising domestic energy prices.

Mr Arkhom said there was no need for the ministry to provide the full guarantee amount of 150 billion baht to the fund, given the decline in global energy prices.

He said the Energy Ministry wants the Finance Ministry to provide the full loan guarantee amount to the fund.

However, the Finance Ministry could step in to provide an additional loan guarantee to the fund in the future if required, said Mr Arkhom.

The debt management plan has maintained borrowing of 695 billion baht to offset the budget deficit for fiscal 2023, in line with the ongoing economic recovery.

He said the ministry met its targets for revenue collection in many areas.

Mr Arkhom said the ministry is still considering whether to extend the 5-baht reduction in the diesel excise tax beyond the expiry date of Jan 20, given lower global oil prices.

Fiscal Policy Office director-general Pornchai Thiraveja said the government collected net revenue of 425 billion baht in the first two months of fiscal 2023, exceeding the target by 15% or 55.4 billion.

This figure is 18.5% higher than was attained during the corresponding period last year.