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Update January, 2020

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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern

OSMEP says Thai SMEs to grow in 2020

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotions (OSMEP) has reported that the Thai economy is showing positive signs in early 2020, as startup entrepreneurs are learning ways to apply innovations and technology to enhance their business operations. The acting Director-General of the OSMEP, WimonkanKosumas, said today her agency expected the country’s economic growth to be 2.7 to 3.2% this year, while Thai SMEs are expected to grow 3.0 to 3.5%, thanks to the government’s economic stimulus measures and major infrastructure investments. Tourism and e-commerce are also expected to grow this year.

Risk factors for Thai SMEs include the global economic slowdown, the trade war between the United States and China, the baht’s appreciation, the high level of household debt and the problem of financial accessibility. However, businesses are adapting to the digital economy by creating new products, and this is a positive sign.

This year, the OSMEP continues to focus on equipping new entrepreneurs with greater knowledge on utilizing innovations and technology to strengthen their operations. The agency will also help Micro SMEs raise the quality standards of their products and services and use technology to expand their businesses. The OSMEP plans to increase the competency of some 380,000 SMEs this year.

The situation in the Middle East has affected some sectors, but demand for Thai SMEs’ food and consumer products is still high. The OSMEP is closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East.

BOT orders banks to revise interest rates

BANGKOK (NNT) - Good news for the general public and SMEs as the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has ordered commercial banks to revise their interest rates, and the fees they charge for their financial products and services including ATM and debit card fees, to help reduce the burden borne by customers.

The BOT now recommends commercial banks impose advance refinance fees on personal loans, with SME loans to be based on the remaining loan balance, as opposed to the entire loan amount, as well as offering a period of grace where fees are not imposed.

As for housing loans, SME loans, and personal loans, the interest rates for default cases will now be calculated on the amount due, as opposed to the remaining loan balance. A period of Grace will be offered to customers facing extraordinary circumstances. These new interest rate guidelines are effective from now until 31st December 2021.

Banks are now required to return customers annual ATM and debit card fees in cases of cancellation, by refunding the unused portion of the fee based on the time of year in all cases. With the issuance of replacement cards or pins, no fee should be collected unless there are significant costs associated with the replacement. This directive is effective indefinitely.

BOT Governor VeerathaiSantiprabhob said today the change in guidelines will help boost customer confidence in financial companies and the overall monetary system of the country. The Bank of Thailand will be asking the banks to revise their current interest rates and fees to reflect true costs, reduce the customers’ burden, reduce redundant fees, and fully disclose fees associated with other products and services.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] : 

OSMEP says Thai SMEs to grow in 2020

BOT orders banks to revise interest rates