November 10, 2017 / 8:01 AM / a year ago

Thai banks' loans may grow close to 4 pct this year -

BANGKOK, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Thai commercial banks’ loans may grow close to 4 percent this year, while non-performing loans are expected to peak in the final quarter of the year, a senior central bank official said on Friday.

In August, the central bank said banks’ loans could expand 4-6 percent this year. Last year, loans rose just 2 percent, the smallest pace in seven years.

“This year’s loan (growth) should be close to 4 percent, the low end of a 4-6 percent range,” Daranee Saeju, senior director of the Bank of Thailand’s financial institutions strategy department, told a news conference, citing some other sources of funding as a factor.

But loans are expected to pick up in the final quarter of the year, due to improving economic conditions and seasonal factors, she said.

In the January-September period, banks’ loans increased 3.3 percent from a year earlier, she said.

Banks’ NPLs rose slightly to 2.97 percent of total lending at the end of September from 2.95 percent at the end of June, the BOT said.

The central bank in September upgraded its economic growth forecast to 3.8 percent for both 2017 and 2018. But on Wednesday it said the economy was expected to expand at a faster pace than previously projected.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew 3.2 percent last year, less than regional peers.

Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Orathai Sriring; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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