Thailand plans higher borrowing in 2024 to boost economy – sources

by | Sep 20, 2023 | Economy

BANGKOK (Reuters) -Thailand’s new government plans to borrow about 2.4 trillion baht ($66.4 billion) for the fiscal year 2024 starting on Oct. 1, up 9% from the current year, according to market sources briefed by the finance ministry.

The plan comes as the government, which took office last month, chalks out fresh policies, including a digital wallet handout worth 560 billion baht ($15.5 billion), to stimulate a sluggish economy weighed down by weak exports and low investor confidence.

The government plans to sell up to 272 billion baht ($7.5 billion) of government bonds in October-December, said three sources with knowledge of the plan who participated in a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Asked about the plan, the finance ministry’s public debt management office earlier on Wednesday did not provide details but said a quarterly schedule for bond auctions would be released next week.

The sources, who declined to be identified because the information was not public, said the government also planned to sell 180 billion baht of treasury bills in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Of the total borrowing for the fiscal year, more than 700 billion baht will be fresh borrowing and 1.7 trillion baht will be for refinancing or restructuring existing debt, they said.

The government plans to issue 1.25 trillion baht of government bonds in the fiscal year 2024, up from 1.09 trillion baht this fiscal year, the sources said.

The borrowing will also be financed through treasury bills, savings bonds, bond switching and promissory notes, they said.

The higher borrowing will partly be used for government stimulus spending, the sources said.

Concerns over government debt supply pushed the yield of 10-year bonds to a more than 16-month high on Wednesday.

The new cabinet this week approved higher budget spending of 3.48 trillion baht for fiscal year 2024, along with a larger budget deficit of 693 billion baht, to revive the economy.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew 1.8% in the April-June period on the year, sharply lower than the previous three months.

It is now expected to grow 2.8% this year, less than the finance ministry’s previous projection of 3.5% growth.

($1 = 36.14 baht)

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Satawasin Staporncharnchai and Kitiphong Thaichareon; Editing by Martin Petty and Kim Coghill)

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