BoT extends RM66.5b soft loan programme for SMEs

BANGKOK The Bank of Thailand (BoT) extended its 500 billion baht (RM66.47 billion) “soft loan” programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by six months to help with the effects of the lingering Covid-19 outbreak, the central bank said on its website.

The central bank also relaxed rules to allow listed SMEs to join the low interest-rate lending programme, which started on April 23 and was due to end Oct 22. Only 119 billion baht has been approved to 71,008 borrowers so far, according to the announcement.

South-East Asia’s second-largest economy is on course this year for its worst contraction on record, its deepest contraction in 22 years in the second quarter as the pandemic battered tourism and domestic activity.

The central bank predicts GDP will shrink 7.8% as the effects of the pandemic cripple the nation’s trade-and tourism-reliant economy. — Bloomberg