September 16, 2019 / 10:42 AM / a month ago

Thailand sees small impact on inflation after Saudi attacks

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand expects little impact from surging oil prices on its inflation rate and exports following attacks on Saudi oil facilities, a commerce ministry official said on Monday.

Saturday’s drone assaults on Saudi oil facilities shut 5% of global crude output and caused the biggest surge in oil prices since 1991 after U.S. officials blamed Iran and President Donald Trump said Washington was “locked and loaded” to retaliate.

But the situation is not expected to drag on and should lift Thailand’s inflation by just 0.01 percentage point, official Pimchanok Vonkorporn said in a statement.

The ministry is maintaining its 2019 headline inflation forecast of 0.7%-1.3%, she said, adding that the impact of oil prices on inflation is less than that of a strong baht THB=TH, Asia's best performing currency this year.

The strengthening baht, which has gained 6.7% against the dollar so far this year, might keep inflation less than 1% this year, Pimchanok said.

In January-August, headline inflation was 0.87%.

Oil-related exports may improve only slightly and the ministry is sticking to the government’s annual export growth target of 3% in the second half of 2019, Pimchanok said.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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