Bank of Thailand 'ready' to adjust monetary tightening pace BoT governor: Baht was not "unusually weak"

A woman walks past a foreign exchange kiosk on Khaosan Road, Bangkok. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is ready to adjust the pace of tightening monetary policy if needed and would be prepared to hold an off-cycle meeting if necessary, the central bank chief said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the central bank raised its key interest rate by a quarter point at its regular meeting to 1.00% to curb inflation.

The country’s core inflation is expected to peak in the fourth quarter, while Thailand’s economic recovery remains intact, BoT governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told reporters.

He said a weak Thai currency was being driven by a strong dollar and was not “unusually weak”, but would be ready to act on excessive moves.

The baht has been trading at 16-year lows against the dollar. It has depreciated 12.4% against the greenback so far this year.

Meanwhile, headline inflation was 7.86% in August, a 14-year high, and far above the central bank’s target range of 1% to 3%.

The BoT on Wednesday predicted average headline inflation of 6.3% this year and 2.6% next year.

The central bank maintained its 2022 economic growth outlook of 3.3% seen in June, and trimmed its 2023 growth forecast to 3.8% from 4.2% for 2023. The economy grew 2.5% from a year earlier in the April-June period.

Last year, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy expanded just 1.5%, among the slowest pace in the region.