BANGKOK, June 2 (Reuters) - Thailand’s economic outlook is highly uncertain because of the coronavirus’s impact on the global economy, with risks to the outlook tilting downward, the central bank said on Tuesday.
At last month’s policy review, the policy committee expressed concern over the strength of the baht, which could derail the economic recovery, Titanun Mallikamas, assistant central bank governor and secretary of the Monetary Policy Committee, said in a statement.
The committee had emphasized that developments in financial markets and foreign exchange markets warranted close monitoring, he said.
On Monday, the Bank of Thailand said it was ready to take steps to curtail the strength of the baht.
The country’s monthly current account is likely to be nearly balanced until tourist revenues recover, down from a historical average of $3 billion to $4 billion in surplus per month during the past few years, Titanun said.
In April, Thailand had a current account deficit of around $0.7 billion. Excluding gold, there was a deficit of around $3.1 billion, the largest deficit since 1990s, he said.
“Looking ahead, the recovery in global oil prices and a prolonged shortage of inbound tourists are expected to weigh on the current account outlook,” Titanun said.
“This trend represents a shift in the current account balance and exchange rate dynamics following the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The current account is not expected to be the main driver of baht appreciation pressure in the forthcoming period, he said.
In March, the central bank forecast Southeast’s Asia’s second-largest economy would shrink 5.3% this year, the biggest contraction the biggest contraction since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
It will release updated economic projections on June 24, when it next reviews monetary policy. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring, editing by Larry King)