Bangkok Post

Apisak blasts Ruengkrai’s comment


Finance Minister Apisak Tantivoraw­ong has defended the Bank of Thailand, saying its net loss stemmed from implementa­tion of monetary policy.

His comment came after local media reported that Ruengkrai Leekitwatt­ana of the Pheu Thai Party’s legal team had asked Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to probe the central bank’s net loss.

“I would like to ask him [Mr Ruengkrai] whether the Bank of Thailand’s loss is good for the country,” Mr Apisak said. “The central bank must implement monetary policy and there is no point in launching a probe for such a loss.”

The Bank of Thailand recently said its net loss narrowed to 80.8 billion baht in 2016 from 89.1 billion in 2015.

Last year’s net loss could be attributed to foreign exchange rate losses and interest payments from liquidity absorption through the central bank’s monetary policy management, he said.

At the end of 2016, the Bank of Thailand’s accumulate­d losses widened to 725 billion baht from the 635 billion and 573 billion recorded in 2015 and 2014.

Krisada Chinavicha­rana, directorge­neral of the Fiscal Policy Office, said the Finance Ministry had acknowledg­ed the central bank’s loss and was not surprised.

Thailand’s foreign reserves stood at about US$200 billion and recorded a loss when the baht appreciate­d against the greenback, Mr Krisada said, adding that the central bank would book a profit if the baht depreciate­d.

“The Bank of Thailand does not have the same goal as a business,” he said. “It must take care of the baht, so it is not a worry if it records a loss from that duty.”

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