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Thai Government Decides to Raise Public Debt Ceiling to 70% of GDP


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BANGKOK (NNT) - Thailand’s State Monetary and Fiscal Policy Committee has decided to raise the ceiling of the public debt-to-GDP ratio from 60% to 70%, which will allow further public sector borrowing to rehabilitate the economy battered by COVID-19.

 

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the decision is intended to provide the government with more fiscal maneuverability should the need arise for the government to borrow more money to carry out medium-term financial policies.

 

He said the ministry will propose the new limit at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting and assured that the government still has the ability to repay debts. The government has, so far, borrowed 1.5 trillion baht to fund COVID-19 relief and stimulus programs, 500 billion baht of which was approved this year.

 

Mr. Arkhom said the raising of the ceiling is in line with Section 50 of the 2018 State Fiscal and Financial Discipline Act, which authorizes the committee to revise the ratio every three years. The committee is made up of representatives from the Finance Ministry, Bank of Thailand, the National Economic and Social Development Council and the Budget Bureau.

 

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12 hours ago, phetphet said:

With the massive amounts of people who are now unemployed, businesses that have gone bust, and loss of tourism and exports, where is Thailand's tax base to recoup money to repay all these loans?

Coming soon I would imagine, taxes will rise somehow.

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So let me understand this, I have lost my job, spent all my savings, and now I am going to up the limit on my credit card. What could go wrong.

 

 

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2 hours ago, hotchilli said:

Coming soon I would imagine, taxes will rise somehow.

I agree.  I don’t think the government really has a lot of choices here.. If they don’t deficit-spend, there’s going to be massive social/economical and political cost to be paid for that lack of government intervention.

 

but… longer term, high debt levels also poses risks, naturally the “payback” issue is front-and-center, but it could also extend to things like having your national/sovereign debt being placed on “watch/review” status by the international ratings agencies (Moody’s, Fitch etc).. or worse, an actual downgrade… which can then translate into much more expensive borrowing costs in the medium to longer term.

 

So, to me, this is kind of a loose-loose on that they have to do it.. but there’s going to be a “cost” that’s going to also have to be (re)paid for it. 

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Just for the record the US debt ratio is 133% that of the UK 85,4%, Netherland 54,6% so all in all the Thai debt ratio is not really that high. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, hotchilli said:

Coming soon I would imagine, taxes will rise somehow.

Well it is not as if they spent massive amounts on the people who lost jobs...... 

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6 hours ago, Peterw42 said:

So let me understand this, I have lost my job, spent all my savings, and now I am going to up the limit on my credit card. What could go wrong.

 

 

Except you don't control your own currency nor do you control the interest rate on the "loan".  they do. As long as the debt is Baht denominated, and inflation is not to bad, they can issue as much as they want.  One just has to look to Japan, their public debt to GDP ratio is 270%, If the Thai central bank issues a loan to the Thai treasury with no payment date and zero % is that really a loan ?

 

IMO as long as they are on top of inflation, public debt is irrelevant, private debt is the main issue, that usually goes awry when you have stupid property prices. eg in Australia is up around 210%

 

The issue becomes inflation, once politicians start being profligate on stupid projects that add nothing to the economy eg Submarines, they mostly become unwilling to stop spending eg Zimbabwe had that issue

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