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Thailand’s household debt eases

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s high household debt level fell last year and should keep doing so gradually as the economy is recovering and people who bought cars under a state subsidy scheme are repaying their loans, the central bank governor said yesterday.
 
The ratio of household debt to gross domestic product (GDP) was 79.9 percent at the end of 2016 compared with 81.2 percent a year earlier, Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said.
 
“If the economy is recovering steadily without bumps, household debt will be on a downward trend but still slowly,” he added.
 
Kasikorn Research Center, part of a commercial bank, said 2016 was the first year in 11 years that the household debt-level declined.
 
Household debts have restrained consumption, traditionally a key driver of Thai growth. The central bank has forecast the Thai economy will expand 3.4 percent this year, after 3.2 percent last year.

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