EXIM set to extend debt relief

EXIM set to extend debt relief

Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand) is poised to extend the two-month debt relief period that began last month for its customers until the end of the year to ease their burden from the impact of the pandemic, said the bank's president Rak Vorrakitpokatorn.

Last month the Bank of Thailand, with the cooperation of the Thai Bankers' Association and the Association of International Banks, introduced a measure to suspend principal and interest payments for two months for individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) suffering from the effects of lockdown measures to combat the pandemic.

The measure targets employees and employers nationwide who have temporarily closed businesses as a result of the lockdown. The debt suspension measure began with monthly debt payments in July.

Mr Rak said if customers still have financial problems after the end of the two-month debt relief period, the bank is ready to extend the principal and interest suspension period for them until the end of the year.

He said the bank has already provided liquidity of around 2.2 billion baht to four out of eight local airlines.

Mr Rak said with the pandemic intensifying across the world, several countries have started to adapt to and cope with the situation to ensure continuity of business operations.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted global economic growth of as high as 6% this year fuelled by economic growth of more than 6% in large economies such as the US, China and some European countries, which represent more than 50% of global GDP.

Growth forecasts of this nature have been attributed to these countries' production of Covid-19 vaccines and rapid broad ranging vaccination rollouts for their populations coupled with their financial availability to accommodate their stimulus schemes for the relief of impact of the pandemic.

The EXIM Thailand president said the economy has yet to recover as a consequence of the new wave of the pandemic.

The government has imposed lockdown restrictions in some areas due to their high infection rates causing temporary closure of some manufacturing facilities while domestic demand has remained fragile and a tourism revival is not expected in the foreseeable future.

This has prompted several research houses to forecast the economy this year to grow by a mere 1%. In view of this, exports should sustain and drive the economy in the second half in continuation from the first half, which saw export growth of as high as 15.5%.

This has been supported by global economic recovery, improving commodity prices, good response of certain Thai goods to new normal trends and the weakening baht.

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