BANGKOK Feb 5 The Bank of Thailand's monetary
policy committee (MPC) thought risks to economic growth had
increased substantially from political unrest and that the
impact could be bigger if it was prolonged, according to the
minutes of a Jan. 22 policy meeting.
"The committee agreed that the downside risks to growth have
increased substantially. Some members noted that any benefits of
global growth pick-up this year on Thai exports and tourism
could be restrained by the ongoing political situation," the
minutes published on Wednesday said.
"Growth impact could be more pronounced if a prolonged
unrest were to cause a switch of export orders to other
countries, with potential knock-on effect on domestic spending,"
At the meeting, the MPC voted 4-3 to leave the policy rate
unchanged at 2.25 percent, a three-year low. A
majority of economists had expected the rate to be cut by a
quarter of a point.
Three members voted for a cut of 25 basis points, seeing a
greater role for monetary policy in shoring up private
confidence and supporting the economy, given higher risks to
growth, the minutes said.
Thailand held a general election on Sunday but
anti-government protests disrupted voting in a fifth of
In November, soon after the protests began, the MPC
unexpectedly voted 6-1 to cut the policy rate by 25 basis