The Bank of Thailand (BoT) on January 22 maintained its key interest rate at 2.25 percent in the face of growing worries about the impact of anti-government protests on the country’s economic prospects.

The bank said Thailand’s economic growth has been weaker than expected because of decreasing domestic demand, and the ongoing political situation weighs on the overall outlook for the country’s growth.

Additionally, Thailand’s export activities also slowed down in spite of recovery signs in several other fields.
In November last year, the BoT lowered its interest rate by 25 basis points.

The BoT said its interest rate can be lowered in the coming time, affirming that the bank will take suitable measures to support the economy if necessary.

According to the Tourism Council of Thailand, the application of the state of emergency, which took effect on January 22, will reduce the number of tourists to the country in the first quarter of this year by 30-40 percent.

Thailand’s tourism sector will suffer losses of about 10 billion baht, while foreign-invested project will also be suspended, the council said.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce forecast that the country’s economic and export growth in 2014 will be about 3-4 percent. Protests in Bangkok have caused an economic loss estimated at between 700 million to one billion baht per day for the country.

The credit rating agency Moody's has lowered its GDP growth forecast for Thailand in 2013 to around 3.0 percent from 3.7 percent, because of the impact of the protests in the final quarter of the year.-VNA