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Thailand CB Holds Rate Unchanged After November Cut

Thailand's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged after lowering them in the previous month, citing the outlook for below-target inflation and slower growth due to weaker exports.

The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to hold the policy rate unchanged at 1.25 percent, the bank said in a statement. The move was in line with economists' expectations.

In November, the rate was cut by 25 basis points.

"In deliberating their policy decision, the Committee assessed that the Thai economy would expand at a lower rate than the previous forecast and below its potential due to a decline in exports which affected employment and domestic demand," the central bank said.

The Bank of Thailand expects headline inflation to be below the lower bound of the inflation target, due to lower-than-expected energy prices.

"The Committee viewed that more accommodative monetary policy in the recent period would contribute to economic growth and support the rise of headline inflation toward the target," the bank added.

"We think the central bank will cut once more this cycle, with rates being lowered to just 1.0 percent by early next year," Capital Economics economist Gareth Leather said.

The economist said the bank may chose one more rate cut due to the poor outlook for growth, as a defense against the threat of a period of deflation, and to put downward pressure on baht.

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