(Sept 15): Thailand’s new finance minister said he will work smoothly with central bank Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul to help support the economy and the currency.
“Between the two of us, we will be able to work smoothly, no fighting,” Finance Minister Sommai Phasee, 70, said in his first interview after taking office last week. “I appreciate what he is doing now on the currency. I think he is doing a very good job on that. Basically, I agree.”
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the former military chief who seized power on May 22, has pledged to quicken spending, promote investment and tourism, and create jobs to spur economic growth after months of political uncertainty. The Bank of Thailand, which cut its policy interest rate earlier this year, may leave it unchanged for a fourth meeting on Sept. 17, according to all 19 economists in a Bloomberg survey.
The baht slipped 0.1 percent to 32.278 against the U.S. dollar as of 12:04 p.m. local time. It has strengthened about 1.3 percent so far this year, among the best performers in Asia of 11 currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
Prayuth assumed the post of prime minister last month after he was appointed by his hand-picked legislature, more than half of them military personnel. Sommai, who was part of the government that was installed following Thailand’s last coup in 2006, was named to his new post by Prayuth earlier this month along with 11 military officers in the 32-member cabinet.
Thailand avoided a technical recession last quarter after gross domestic product grew 0.9 percent from the previous three months when it shrank 1.9 percent, data showed. The state planning agency forecasts full-year growth at 1.5 to 2 percent.