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Household debt levels to rise further

Empty chairs are seen on a beach, which is usually full of tourists, amid fears of coronavirus disease in Pattaya on March 27. (Reuters photo)

Household debt levels, already at the highest in 17 years, are expected to rise further, the central bank governor said on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic hammers its trade-and tourism-reliant economy.

The economy suffered its biggest contraction in 22 years in the second quarter and could shrink a record 7.8% this year, the Bank of Thailand has forecast.

“The pandemic had cut jobs, reducing households’ income and debt servicing ability,” governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told reporters.

“The employment situation has not yet returned to normal,” he said, noting the economy would not get back to pre-Covid levels until the third quarter of 2022.

As of June,…

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