Web Stories Thursday, February 22

BANGKOK : Thailand will establish an asset management firm in the first quarter of this year to help resolve its stubborn problem of high household debt, the prime minister said on Monday.

Household debt management had many challenges as some creditors refused to enter the process, Srettha Thavisin told a press briefing on debt.

Thailand has one of the region’s highest ratios of household debt, at 90.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) as the end of September 2023. Use of illegal loan sharks is rife among lower-income families unable to get bank loans, with many people trapped by debt with high interest rates.

The asset management firm would be set up by the Government Savings Bank and would mainly tackle persistent debts, Srettha said, without giving details.

The new company would offer more relaxed rules in managing debt, according to another official.

His populist government has announced debt measures, including lowering interest rates and debt suspensions to manage the country’s 16 trillion baht ($446 billion) worth of household debt.

Srettha has cited the debt problem as a major impediment to strengthening Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy, which his government is seeking to revive with big stimulus and programmes to boost its important tourism sector.

($1 = 35.88 baht)

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