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Govt tells BOT to 'manage' baht

Apr 17. 2015
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By The Nation

Economic ministers call for monetary easing; Premier to announce govt's achievements over past six months
The council of economic ministers, chaired by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, yesterday signalled the Thai central bank to pursue a monetary-easing policy in an attempt to shore up the export sector amid the global economic slowdown.
Meanwhile, Prayut along with relevant ministers will today announce his administration’s achievements during its six months in power.
Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said after the meeting that the council had instructed the Bank of Thailand to manage the baht and ensure it does not strengthen against the US dollar to the detriment of the business sector. 
Speaking in his capacity as secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), Arkhom said the committee was also given a briefing about the economic situation. Gross domestic product in the first quarter grew by 3 per cent year on year, resulting from recoveries in tourism and automotive exports. 
The council also acknowledged the country’s current-account surplus of US$3 billion, derived from the drop in the global oil price.
He said NESDB was maintaining its forecast for Thai economic growth at 3.5-4.5 per cent. 
However, he believes 3.5-per-cent growth in exports this year is possible even though the export sector has not seen much of a recovery because of the sluggish global economy. 
Earlier, the Finance Ministry and the BOT had forecast GDP growth for this year in the range of 3.9 to 4.5 per cent despite exports contracting in the first two months by 4.82 per cent year on year.
In addition, the committee approved a Bt165.09-billion budget for the National Health Security Office for fiscal 2016.
Meanwhile, an event marking the government’s claimed achievements over the past six months 
will start at 9am at Government House. 
The prime minister will be the main speaker, while some key ministers will also be present to assist Prayut in providing details on specific issues. This event will be aired live on National Broadcasting Television’s Channel 11. 
In its report, the government will outline the work done under its policies in 11 areas as mentioned earlier in its policy statement delivered to the National Legislative Assembly.
Emphasis will be on the restoration of peace and security and the national reforms because the government seized power at a time when the country was plagued with conflict.
Other achievements to be announced include action on the problems of human trafficking and illegal fishing and the registration of migrant workers.

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