BOT Says Tightening of Monetary Policy Will Be Gradual, But Challenges Remain

Thailand’s rate committee on Wednesday reiterated its commitment to gradual and moderate monetary tightening, though it did note that this stance was subject to change if the economy and inflation outlook diverged from forecasts.

Given a tradeoff between managing inflation at a time of increased demand-side inflationary pressures amid a better economic outlook and supporting the recovery while some businesses and consumers remained weak, the minutes said monetary policy will confront greater challenges in the future.

To lower inflation, the Bank of Thailand (BOT)’s monetary policy committee unanimously raised the interest rate by a quarter point to 1.50% on Jan. 25.

Most analysts expect another rate hike when it next reviews policy on March 29.

The BOT expects the economy to rise by 3.7% this year. A boost in tourism, according to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow last week, could push growth to 4% this year.

At the minute, the economy would keep growing, with tourism and private consumption picking up speed as a result of the flood of returning Chinese travelers.