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Thai PM says finance minister's surprise exit won't impact policy

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s prime minister said on Wednesday there would be no impact on economic policies and plans from the sudden resignation of the finance minister, whose replacement will be made at an appropriate time.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a family photo session with new cabinet ministers at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

“If there is no minister, then there are deputies and assistants,” Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters. “I also drive the policy myself as head of the economic team.”

His comments come a day after the surprise resignation of Predee Daochai, who quit after less than a month in office.

Prayuth said the replacement for Predee, who resigned due to health reasons, would be announced at an “appropriate time” and he saw no impact on confidence from his exit.

Predee’s departure could create uncertainty in policy-making as the government rolls out billions of dollars of stimulus to aid the economy through the global pandemic, analysts and investors say.

The baht dropped as low as 31.3 in early day trade.

The benchmark index climbed 0.2% in the morning trade session.

“A new minister should be found as quickly as possible so there is no vacuum and to restore confidence,” said an executive from a foreign business group, who declined to be named and was not authorized to speak to media.

“We hope it would be a technocrat or one with business experience rather than a politician.”

The economy could shrink by a record 8.5% this year, according to the finance ministry.

Prayuth urged the public to have faith in the government.

“I want everyone to be confident and I want to convey my message overseas. We are moving forward in all dimensions like before,” he said.

Additional reporting by Kitphong Thaichareon and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Ed Davies and Martin Petty

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