Thai central bank ready to provide more support measures as coronavirus escalates

BANGKOK, May 13 (Reuters) - Thailand’s central bank said it will announce new measures on Friday to help households and small businesses during the pandemic and could provide further monetary and credit support if needed as the country deals with a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Thailand is suffering its biggest outbreak so far, with overall cases tripling to 93,794 and deaths increasing fivefold to 518 in the past six weeks, after a year of success in containment.

The central bank said it would hold a briefing on Friday to unveil details of new support measures for indebted households and businesses and will give an update on the outbreak’s impact on Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism.

Separately, Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, in a recorded interview with television channel PPTV, aired late on Thursday, said the bank was ready to provide further support if needed. However, he said the bank will have to work with other agencies in solving the economic problems.

Sethaput reiterated that quantitative easing was not suitable for Thailand as liquidity remained ample and interest rates were not high.

The latest outbreak of COVID-19 has affected domestic spending and prospects for a recovery in foreign tourism.

The central bank has already provided support for businesses to help them weather the pandemic, including most recently a financial package announced in March in conjunction with the government. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai Editing by Susan Fenton)