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BANGKOK, Feb 17 -- About 4.7 million workers in Thailand may face job loss due to the fresh wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand in mid-December last year.
The Bank of Thailand’s (BoT) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in the minutes of its policy meeting on Feb 3 published today said workers that may face income loss include daily-hired and self-employed workers in the non-farm sectors as well as workers in the hotel industry.
“Of these workers, around 1.2 million could become unemployed or underemployed,” it said.
The latest COVID-19 outbreak from Samut Sakhon province, the epicentre of the latest outbreak in Thailand, recorded 20,724 cases and 22 fatalities since mid-December last year.
On Feb 3, BoT has maintained its policy rate at a record low of 0.5 per cent to support economic recovery amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The MPC unanimously voted to maintain the benchmark interest rate for a sixth straight meeting.
The minutes said Thailand’s economic recovery remain highly uncertain, therefore limited monetary policy room should be preserved to act at the appropriate and most effective timing to maximise its effectiveness.
It said the Thai economy would expand slower than the 3.2 per cent previously assessed due to the impact of the new wave of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economy.
“Nevertheless, recoveries across sectors were likely to be more uneven. Therefore, additional measures should thus be more targeted in line with the need and potential prospect of businesses,” it said.
The minutes said the committee viewed the rapid appreciation of the baht could affect the economic recovery.
“The committee will closely monitor developments in foreign exchange markets and capital flows as well as consider the necessity of implementing additional appropriate measures to ensure that the exchange rate movements would not hinder the economic recovery,” it said.
Thailand’s economy shrank by 6.1 per cent in 2020, its biggest fall since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.
The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council downgraded its 2021 economic growth forecast for Thailand to 2.5-3.5 per cent from its previous forecast of 3.5-4.5 per cent as the COVID-19 pandemic crisis ravaged the country’s economy,
The BoT next reviews its monetary policy on March 24.