The Thai PM Is Urging, Not Intervening with the Central Bank

Thailand’s economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the year as a whole missed expectations so bad that it prompted another barrage by the prime minister at the policymakers to cut rates.

Fourth quarter GDP rose 1.7%, but missed expectations from a Reuters poll that sees growth at 2.5%. Meanwhile, Thai 2023 GDP grew 1.9%, also missing expectations for 2.4% growth as well.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Tuesday that the economy was in a critical situation, something that he always says after taking office last year. This crisis needs a helping hand from the Bank of Thailand to drop the benchmark rate by a quarter point.

It began as a suggestion from the government or a point of view from the Finance Minister, which is the PM himself. However, the tone has shifted to urging the central bank to do so, and promptly as well.

Weak economic data could be an indicator for future rate cuts, but the PM said that policymakers should call an urgent meeting to cut interest rates, not waiting until the next meeting scheduled for April.

Srettha added that all sectors have done their parts. There is a debt freeze measure for farmers, easing cost of living, free visa and other measures to support the economy. Now it is the central bank’s turn to do so, while saying that there are no costs to cut rates.

Still, the Thai PM ceaselessly stated that the government sector will not intervene with the operation of the central bank, which is also the norm of other countries as well.

The governor of the Thai central bank has yet to respond to the latest statement from the prime minister, but he said last time that the Thai economy is not in a crisis situation.