Thursday, 9 December, 2021

Thailand raises public debt ceiling to fight corona outbreak

Thailand raises public debt ceiling to fight corona outbreak

BANGKOK: Thailand has increased the ceiling of its public debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio to 70% from 60%, the finance minister said on Monday, allowing the government to raise more funds to help a struggling economy.

The Southeast Asian country is dealing with its biggest COVID-19 outbreak to date and stricter containment measures have hit economic activity although some have been eased from this month, report agencies.

The higher debt ceiling will provide room for the government to borrow more for fiscal policies in the medium term if required, while maintaining good debt servicing ability, Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said in a statement.

The new debt limit was approved by the fiscal and monetary policy committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. It will be reviewed at least every three years.

As of July, the debt-to-GDP ratio was at 55.59%.

Last month, Arkhom said Thailand’s debt-to-GDP ratio was still low compared with other countries despite significant borrowing to finance the outbreak response.

The government has introduced a range of stimulus and relief measures since the pandemic with 1.5 trillion baht ($45.86 billion) in borrowing, including a 500 billion baht plan approved this year.