Thailand keeps key interest rate unchanged, lowers 2021 economic outlook hinh anh 1People wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand. (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand’s central bank on June 23 decided to keep key rate unchanged at record low 0.5 percent and cut 2021 economic growth forecast following the complicated development of COVID-19 in the country.

Assistant Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) Titanun Mallikamas said the COVID-19 inoculation drive is the key to recover the economy. 

The BoT now expects Southeast Asia’s second largest economy to grow 1.8 percent this year, down from a previous forecast for 3.0 percent.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this week moved to allow more social activity in the capital, even as COVID-19 related fatalities rose to a record on June 23, which took total deaths to 1,744, since the pandemic began last year. As of June 21, about 11 percent of the population had received at least a first dose of anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

Thailand’s urgency in reopening stems from its dependence on tourism, which contributed about one-fifth of economic output before the pandemic. The Cabinet on June 22 gave final approval for the Phuket “sandbox,” which will allow quarantine-free travel for vaccinated visitors to the popular tourist island from July 1./.