The Bank of Thailand kept its policy rate unchanged on Wednesday after last Friday’s unscheduled rate cut of 25 basis points, while trimming its economic growth forecast for 2020 to a 5.3% contraction.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 4-2 to hold the policy rate at a record low of 0.75%, said MPC secretary Titanun Mallikamas.
The rate-setter agreed that fiscal policy should be a main tool to alleviate the impacts from Covid-19 spread, he said.
The central bank late Friday slashed the rate by a quarter percentage point, saying the impact of the coronavirus would be more severe than previously expected and the situation would take time to return to normal, which would adversely affect the Thai economy. The rate cut was the fourth since August, and Friday’s special meeting was the first since 2003.
The central bank also downgraded the country’s economic forecast for this year to a 5.3% contraction from a 2.8% growth previously predicted.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that he would invoke the emergency decree from March 26 in an effort to contain the coronavirus epidemic after confirmed cases surged to more than 900, with death toll of four.