BANGKOK, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's central bank on Wednesday decided to raise its key policy rate for a fifth consecutive meeting, by another 0.25 percentage point, to ease inflation growth while supporting economic growth.
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) monetary policy committee voted unanimously to raise the policy rate from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, effective immediately.
Wednesday's rate hike, in line with market expectations, has brought the key policy rate to its highest level since mid-2019.
Thailand's economic recovery continued to gain traction, driven by tourism and private consumption, while exports are expected to gather steam in the second half of this year, the BOT said in a statement on its website.
The statement said a gradual and measured policy normalization remains an appropriate course for monetary policy towards long-term sustainable growth, adding that the size and timing of policy normalization will be adjusted if needed.
The central bank expected the headline inflation to return to the target range of 1 percent to 3 percent in the middle of this year, given easing supply-side pressures. It projected headline inflation growth to fall to 2.9 percent year-on-year in 2023 before declining to 2.4 percent in 2024.
The BOT expected the country's economy to expand 3.6 percent year on year in 2023 and 3.8 percent next year, according to the statement.