Thailand’s cabinet approved new borrowing on Tuesday totalling about 820 billion baht ($21.6 billion) for the 2023 fiscal year, which starts on Saturday (October 1).
The loans will help finance a budget deficit, the finance ministry said, adding that the plan is part of loans totalling 1.05 trillion baht ($27.7 billion) for the fiscal year.
Some 233 billion baht will be borrowed by state enterprises and other government agencies, the ministry said in a statement.
Thailand’s public debt is expected at 60.43% of gross domestic product at the end of the fiscal year, still within an approved limited of 70% of GDP, it said.
The government projects a budget deficit of 695 billion baht ($18.34 billion) for the fiscal year, it added.
The old debt will be used to stimulate the economy through infrastructure investment and to help mitigate impacts on the economy of global oil price volatility and unrest between Russian and Ukraine.
World Bank Sees 3.1% Growth This Year
Meanwhile, Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 3.1% this year, the World Bank said on Tuesday, backed by private consumption and exports.
The bank has lifted the forecast it made in June of 2.9%, but it cut Thailand’s growth forecast for 2023 to 4.1%, from a previous outlook of 4.3%.
The global economy is expected to slow down next year and depress demand for exports, but the Covid-19 pandemic should ease and support a tourism recovery, the bank said in a report.
The Southeast Asian country expects eight million to 10 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, and says it has received five million so far.
The tourism-reliant economy saw nearly 40 million visitors in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
The Thai government has said it expects the economy to grow by 3% to 3.5% this year.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard
NOTE: This report was updated on Sept 27, 2022 and the headline changed when details of the Cabinet’s borrowing for the 2023 fiscal year were added.