Srettha and economic ministers to discuss household debt next week


Tackling Thailand’s soaring household debt would top the agenda of the next weekly meeting of economic ministers on Monday (July 15) at Government House, a news source said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has so far presided over two such meetings, scheduled a day before the weekly Cabinet meeting, with the aim of discussing economic issues faced by the public and private sectors.

The source said the PM would preside over the meeting next Monday, focusing on addressing the rising household debt as well as non-performing loans (NPLs) across several sectors. The meeting will also discuss a suitable framework on inflation, which the Finance Ministry will later discuss with the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to set a suitable policy rate.

The BOT earlier reported that Thailand’s household debt as of the fourth quarter of 2023 was at 91.3% of gross domestic product (GDP), with over 67% of the debt in personal loans and outstanding credit card dues.

In April, the BOT in collaboration with the National Economic and Social Development Council launched a debt restructuring programme for those with chronic debt problems with the intention of enabling them to pay off their debts in five years at an interest rate of not over 15% per year.

About 143,000 people applied for the programme, with a combined debt of 10.26 billion baht.

Meanwhile, the National Credit Bureau (NCB) reported the amount of NPLs in five months of this year stood at 1.14 trillion baht, higher than the 1.1 trillion baht during the Covid-19 pandemic.

New NPLs in May increased 3.2% from the previous month and jumped 11.3% year on year, the NCB said.

Most of these NPLs came from auto, housing, credit card and cooperative loans.

The credit bureau said the NPLs from auto loans saw the most significant increase, at 30.1% year on year, to over 250 billion baht across over 800,000 accounts.