Thailand may bow out of IMF program

BANGKOK, Aug 17 (AFP) – Thailand has enough foreign reserves to bow out of its IMF program and abandon the remaining 3.7 billion dollars available in loans under the rescue package, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi said today. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disbursed about 13.5 billion dollars to Thailand out of its 17.2 billion dollar loan package approved in August 1997. “If we have enough reserves, there is no need to commit to the IMF policies and we can terminate if we want,” Supachai said. “Reserves are not the most critical issue any more,” he told reporters ahead of a weekly cabinet meeting. Thailand’s foreign currency reserves stood at 31.9 billion dollars at the end of July. “The money from the IMF is only to shore up reserves. Now the finance ministry is considering whether to go ahead with further drawdowns from the IMF,” Supachai said. In May, Finance Minister Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda said it was too early to consider abandoning the unused balance of Thailand’s package. Tarrin said Thailand would discuss with IMF officials in August whether Bangkok would continue to receive funds. Thailand signed the agreement with the IMF two years ago this month after its economy plunged into crisis in the wake of the de-facto devaluation of the baht. Under the rescue plan, Thailand agreed to make sweeping changes to its economic infrastructure, a number of key elements of which have not as yet been accomplished.

Phuket News

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