Thai central bank extends US$16b soft loan programme for SMEs

-A +A

(Oct 17): The Bank of Thailand extended its 500 billion baht (US$16 billion) “soft loan” programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by six months to help with the effects of the lingering Covid-19 outbreak, the central bank said on its website.

The central bank also relaxed rules to allow listed SMEs to join the low interest-rate lending programme, which started on April 23 and is due to end on Oct 22. Only 119 billion baht has been approved to 71,008 borrowers so far, according to the announcement.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is on course this year for its worst contraction on record, with the central bank predicting gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink 7.8% as effects of the pandemic cripple the nation’s trade- and tourism-reliant economy.