Economists expect the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to leave its key policy rate unchanged at 2.25% on Wednesday (27 Sep) and likely through 2024, marking an end to a year-long tightening cycle, though some economists still expect one final hike.
Despite inflation in Thailand edging up slightly to 0.88% in August, it remained below the central bank’s 1-3% target range for a fourth consecutive month, suggesting little need for the BOT to continue hiking.
Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput recently said both economic growth and inflation were expected to be lower than previously forecast due to softer tourism spending and a weak economic outlook for China, the kingdom’s major trading partner.
A strong majority of economists in a September 18-22 poll, 21 of 27, expected the BOT to keep its benchmark one-day repurchase rate at 2.25% on Wednesday. Only six forecasts another quarter-point hike to 2.50%.
None expected the central bank to raise interest rates at the following meeting in November. Median forecasts showed interest rates remaining at 2.25% through next year.
However, there was a split among those with a longer-term view on rates, with 47% of economists, nine of 19, expecting the BOT to keep rates at 2.25% until end-2024, while six predicted another hike to 2.50%, and four anticipated a cut — three to 2.00% and one to 1.75%. (NNT)