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Thai central bank views Omicron outbreak as key risk to economic recovery

Bangkok : The spreading of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Thailand could have a more severe and prolonged impact than expected on the country’s economic recovery, according to the minutes the Bank of Thailand released on Wednesday.

“Although under the baseline scenario the Omicron outbreak would not derail the overall Thai economic recovery, the outbreak situation remained highly uncertain,” revealed the minutes of the central bank’s monetary policy meeting.

The spread of the Omicron variant is a key risk that could hinder the economic recovery going forward, and thus warrants close monitoring, it said, adding that the severity of the outbreak and the strictness of the government’s containment measures will define the level of impact that Omicron has on this year’s economic rebound, Xinhua news agency reported.

The central bank expected the Thai economy to expand 3.4 per cent and 4.7 per cent in 2022 and 2023, respectively, with growth driven by domestic spending, a gradual improvement in foreign arrivals, as well as the recovery in various business sectors.

On December 22, the Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy committee unanimously voted to keep the benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5 per cent for a 13th consecutive meeting to support the economic recovery.

As of Tuesday, the Southeast Asian country has detected 2,062 Omicron cases of Covid-19.

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