BoT governor hints at recovery in early 2023

BoT governor hints at recovery in early 2023

State policies must be accommodative

Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput (Bank of Thailand photo)
Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput (Bank of Thailand photo)

Thailand's economy could return to levels logged before the pandemic in the first quarter of 2023, according to the Bank of Thailand governor.

The recovery will be slow and uneven across business sectors, governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said on Wednesday at the MFA CEO Forum hosted by the Foreign Ministry.

The pandemic severely hurt the economy, especially the tourism sector, which accounts for 12% of GDP, he said.

In 2019, Thailand recorded nearly 40 million foreign arrivals. The central bank expects about 6 million foreign tourists next year.

Mr Sethaput said Thailand has to ensure its economic recovery remains intact and fiscal and monetary policies stay accommodative to support the recovery.

In a separate event, the central bank announced yesterday financial institutions will offer commercial loans via digital supply chain financing this month as part of the Smart Financial and Payment Infrastructure for Business project.

These commercial digital loans will allow greater access to finance, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, assistant governor for payment systems policy and financial technology group.

The central bank, in collaboration with related parties in the government and private sector, has been developing this project to support the country's digital-based trading system.

The project will help increase business efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve the country's competitiveness, she said.

As part of the project, related parties have developed a digital trading system as a central infrastructure in three core areas: e-invoices, e-tax invoices and e-payment for businesses.

These three areas are expected to be operational in the second half of next year, Ms Siritida said.

Thailand's business trade still mainly consists of paper-based transactions. With a comprehensive digital infrastructure, it would save on operating expenses for businesses, she said.

For instance, an e-invoice project in Germany cut businesses' operating costs by 60-80% compared with paper-based transactions.

"For Thailand, the project development also supports SMEs building up a digital footprint and facilitates the segment's access to bank loans with reasonable interest rates," said Ms Siritida.

"The project also supports businesses expanding to use innovative goods and services."

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