Thai cabinet approves borrowing plan, loans for farmers | Reuters – Reuters


BANGKOK Aug 30 Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday
approved new borrowing of 614 billion baht ($17.77 billion) for
the next fiscal year starting on Oct. 1, and loans for farmers
to help the struggling rural economy.

The previously announced borrowing plan will include 390
billion baht for the budget deficit and the rest for investment.

That is part of a wider debt management plan worth 1.56
trillion baht for the fiscal year.

The cabinet also approved soft loans of 8.6 billion baht to
cassava and rice farmers in a bid to lower production costs and
increase competitiveness for the world’s second-biggest rice
exporter after India.

“We believe the loans will help farmers cut costs by 20
percent and increase yields by 20 percent,” Nattaporn
Jatusripitak, an adviser to the commerce minister, told
reporters.

The loans follow various stimulus measures as the
military-government has struggled to revive the economy since
seizing power in May 2014 to end months of street protests, with
exports and domestic demand still weak.

Low commodity prices have cut farmers’ incomes while high
household debt levels have restrained domestic consumption.

The central bank, the Bank of Thailand, expects the economy
to grow 3.1 percent this year, up from 2.8 percent last year,
but its recovery remains fragile.
($1 = 34.5500 baht)

(Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Pairat
Temphairojana; Editing by Orathai Sriring and Robert Birsel)

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