Food price inflation eased and fuel prices were fairly stable. Despite
picking up in the fourth quarter because of an increase in electricity
tariffs and higher excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, in...
flation for 2012
was the lowest in 3 years (Figure 3.30.3).
The Bank of Thailand, the central bank, lowered its policy interest
rate to 3.0% to assist economic recovery after the floods, and reduced
the rate again in October 2012 to 2.75%, slightly below the inflation rate
(Figure 3.30.4). Lending interest rates declined, and commercial bank
lending expanded by 13.7% in 2012, with a 21.6% surge in consumer loans.
Fiscal policy also stimulated the economy. The fiscal deficit widened
to 4.1% of GDP in FY2012 (ended 30 September 2012) from 1.3% in
FY2011. About 90% of planned spending was disbursed, though this fell
to 66% for the capital budget owing to delays in approving the FY2012
budget after a change of government in August 2011 and shortages of
construction materials after the floods. The wider deficit reflects new
government subsidies and tax breaks to support households, farmers, and
businesses, including a cut in the corporate tax rate to 23% in 2012.
Moreover, considerable spending was funded off-budget. Parliament
approved an emergency decree allowing the government to borrow the
equivalent of $11.7 billion by June 2013 to be spent over several years on
water management projects. About $100 million of this was spent in 2012.
CEIC Data Company; Bureau of Trade and
Economic Indices. http://www.price.moc.go.th (both
accessed 2 April 2013).
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