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Thai banks' bad loans to decline as economy improves

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Thai banks' non-performing loans (NPLs) are expected to fall over the next six months as the economy is improving, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

[BANGKOK] Thai banks' non-performing loans (NPLs) are expected to fall over the next six months as the economy is improving, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

A rise last year in NPLs reflected economic conditions that are worse than current ones, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong told reporters.

"So over the next six months, NPLs will improve... It's banks' cycle. That's why we are trying to get the economy fully recovering," said Mr Apisak, who was former Krung Thai Bank chief.

The minister gave no numbers on NPL levels. At the end of September, they accounted for 2.89 per cent of total Thai lending up from 2.55 per cent at the end of 2015, central bank data showed.

Market leader Bangkok Bank said its NPLs were at 3.2 per cent of lending at the end of 2016, up from 2.8 per cent at end-2015.

The finance ministry has forecast economic growth at 3.6 per cent this year and 3.2 per cent for 2016.

REUTERS

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