Banks brace for holiday outlay
Commercial banks' net cash withdrawal from the Bank of Thailand to prepare for the public's spending over Chinese New Year is estimated to increase to 62.5 billion baht from 46 billion a year earlier, says a senior official at the central bank.
Demand for banknotes during the festive period is higher than normal, and the central bank urged commercial banks to prepare new banknotes to keep pace with people's demand, said Somboon Chitphentom, assistant governor of the banknote management group.
Chinese New Year falls on Feb 5.
Bangkok Bank (BBL) plans to allocate cash reserves worth 50 billion baht during Chinese New Year through 1,000 micro-branches located in department stores and 10,000 ATM terminals nationwide.
The bank is also preparing new banknotes for Chinese red envelopes, according to its statement.
To ensure it has sufficient money for ATM withdrawals during the holiday, BBL plans to increase the frequency with which it refills cash in ATM machines, said the bank.
Kasikornbank (KBank) prepared 48 billion baht in cash reserves at its branches and ATMs across the country for the holiday, said the bank.
Of that total, 22.3 billion baht is allocated for branches, with 9.2 billion for Bangkok branches and 13.1 billion for branches in other provinces.
The rest is for 9,369 ATMs across the country, with 13.2 billion for those in Bangkok and 12.5 billion for provincial ATMs.
KBank has 960 branches around the country.
Bank of Ayudhya said it earmarked cash reserves worth a combined 21.6 billion baht for withdrawals from Jan 28 to Feb 5. Cash reserves this Chinese New Year are projected to be 2.5% higher than a year ago.
Of the total, 11.9 billion baht will be allocated for 6,680 ATM terminals and 9.75 billion for 664 branches nationwide.
Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research), the research arm of KBank, forecast Bangkokians' spending during the Chinese New Year to increase 0.9% year-on-year to 13.6 billion baht, with the bulk used for merit-making and travel.
The estimated higher spending could be attributed to the 5% value-added tax refund scheme for spending between Feb 1 and 15, K-Research said.
The research house estimated spending for god and ancestor worship during this year's festival will be steady from a year before, while money given in red envelopes will decline significantly.
The survey found red envelope recipients will likely deposit money rather than spend it, meaning the money will not immediately be circulated in the economy.