Markets to stay open April 13-15 as economist calls for 'blanket rescue'
published : 18 Mar 2020 at 21:05
updated: 18 Mar 2020 at 21:30
writer: Reuters and Dave Kendall
Bangkok Bank's chief economist on Wednesday evening called for a "blanket rescue" to prevent bankruptcies during the coronavirus crisis after the central bank earlier announced Thailand's financial markets will stay open during April 13-15.
The usual holiday for financial institutions has been cancelled and a new holiday will be decided later, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the cabinet approved putting off the Songkran new year holiday which falls between April 13-15.
In a separate statement, BoT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said the central bank has asked financial institutions to prepare back-up plans and would work closely with them to ensure continuing financial services if the spread of the virus outbreak escalates.
The BoT has also asked financial institutions to help restructure debt for more debtors hurt by the outbreak, he said.
About 30,000 borrowers with a combined debt of 234 billion baht have had their loans restructured to ease their debt repayment burden in the first two weeks after the BoT's announcement of such measure on Feb 28.
Speaking via live stream from the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand in Bangkok on Wednesday evening, Bangkok Bank chief economist Burin Adulwattana called for more fiscal stimulus, cash handouts and the general suspension of bill and debt payments.
“How can governments prevent this from becoming widespread bankruptcies," he asked. “You have to do a blanket rescue … We live in unprecedented times.”
Thailand on Wednesday reported 35 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total to 212. One person has died.