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Thai central bank seen holding key rate steady despite weak growth: Poll
December 19, 2016 / 5:45 AM / 7 months ago

Thai central bank seen holding key rate steady despite weak growth: Poll

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Thailand's central bank logo is seen at the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand April 26, 2016.JorgeSilva/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's central bank is expected to leave benchmark interest rate steady for a 13th straight meeting at its policy review this week despite a slow economic recovery, a Reuters poll found.

All 18 economists surveyed forecast the central bank's one-day repurchase rate THCBIR=ECI would be kept at 1.50 percent, near a record low, when its monetary policy committee (MPC) meets on Wednesday - its last review of the year.

Thailand's policy rate has been unchanged since April 2015, and is just a quarter-point above the record low implemented during the global financial crisis.

Economists expect rates to remain on hold thanks to recent stimulus measures, such as a value-added tax break for consumers and cash handouts for low-income earners, which will help boost domestic activity as tourism slows. [L3N1CB1YX]

Most analysts predict no policy change throughout 2017, while two others expect a rate increase at the end of next year to stem capital outflows in response to higher U.S. interest rates.

Headline consumer prices rose on an annual basis for an eighth straight month in November but remained benign, allowing policymakers to keep rates low and reducing the need for a cut.

At its Nov. 9 meeting, the MPC unanimously voted to hold the policy rate steady, saying it already supported the economy.

Reporting by Pairat Temphairojana; Additional reporting by Shaloo Shrivastava in Bengaluru; Editing by Orathai Sriring and Eric Meijer

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