Thai c.bank will not extend debt moratorium, but plans targeted measures

Credit: REUTERS/© Jorge Silva / Reuters

Thailand's central bank will not extend a broad-based debt moratorium but will introduce targeted measures to help debtors affected by the coronavirus pandemic, an assistant governor said on Friday.

By Satawasin Staporncharnchai

BANGKOK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Thailand's central bank will not extend a broad-based debt moratorium but will introduce targeted measures to help debtors affected by the coronavirus pandemic, an assistant governor said on Friday.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy posted its deepest contraction in over two decades in the second quarter and the pandemic has battered tourism and domestic activity.

The central bank will monitor the situation closely and did not expect rapid and large defaults after the six-month debt holiday ended on Thursday, Assistant Governor Roong Mallikamas told a briefing.

"The central bank will introduce debt measures, but not for everyone, to help financial institutions assist each debtor," she said.

Small-and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with combined debt of about 1.35 trillion baht ($43 billion) had been under the debt moratorium - part of the total debt of 6.89 trillion baht which had received overall relief measures including repayment extensions and interest reductions, she said.

Of those SMEs loans, about 400 billion baht owed to specialised state banks has received another three-six month debt moratorium, while SMEs owing some 950 billion baht to commercial banks and non-banks would be mostly able to service their debt, Roong said.

The BOT will ask banks to maintain until the end of this year the status of their debtors in restructuring talks so that they will not become non-performing loans, Roong said.

Banks can also extend debt repayment periods for six months after the end of 2020, she said.

"The situation today is different from six months ago and we should be able to better separate and select appropriate medicine for each group," Roong said.

($1 = 31.22 baht)

(Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Ed Davies)

((orathai.sriring@tr.com; +662 0802309;))

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