Thailand’s social conditions in last year’s 4th quarter saw reduced unemployment but a higher amount of household debt, particularly for vehicles, according to a state planning agency.

National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) Deputy Secretary-General Suwannee Kamman said in the 4th quarter, Thailand’s unemployment rate stood low at 0.48 per cent or 190,000 persons, from 0.63 per cent year-on-year, while employment increased 1.7 per cent with 39.6 million persons employed nationwide, and mostly in the agricultural sector.

The unemployment rate stood on average at 0.66 per cent throughout 2012.

The unemployment rate of those graduating in liberal arts, journalism, and information technology still ranked first at 2.2-3.8 per cent.

Rice farmers Thailand
39.6 million persons are employed nationwide, mostly in the agricultural sector.

Ms Suwannee said the Bt300 minimum wage has not yet led to overall layoffs, but the situation must be closely monitored, for 16,900 juristic persons last year closed their businesses.

Meanwhile, she said that household debt has increased, particularly on vehicles. Despite that, default on payments has not been seen, though it must be monitored again this year.

Household savings tended to decrease, she said, while the number of households nationwide failing to save rose to 45 per cent.

Q4 2012 shows lower unemployment rate, higher household debt |

The excessive withdrawal of deposits from two specialised state-operated banks–Bt4.8 billion in 20 days–will not affect the country’s financial institutions system, Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said today.

He said the two institutions – the Thai Islamic Bank (IBank) and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank) – are wholly owned by the Finance Ministry and their market shares are minimal.

Regarding a call for the BoT to supervise the two banks, Mr Prasarn said the Finance Ministry wants to oversee the six special purpose banks while the BoT merely informs the ministry if it finds unusual or unscrupulous financial activities.

The BoT is willing to supervise the six banks if requested by the Finance Ministry, he said.

In addition to the IBank and SME Bank, the four other specialised banks supervised by the Finance Ministry are the Government Savings Bank, the Government Housing Bank, the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Export-Import Bank.

The unusual withdrawal of deposits from the IBank and the SME Bank was due to their very high level–Bt24 billion–of non-performing loans. (MCOT online news)

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