May 14, 2018 / 9:21 AM / a year ago

Thai banks' loans seen up 5-6 pct this year -

BANGKOK, May 14 (Reuters) - Commercial banks in Thailand are likely to see a loan growth of 5-6 percent this year, a central bank official said on Monday, down from the 6-8 percent rise projected in February, as more companies are now raising funds through stocks and bonds.

In 2017, banks’ loan growth stood at 4.4 percent.

“As we’ve discussed with banks, they expect loans to grow 5-6 percent this year, which is in line with the BOT’s expectations, and are quite satisfactory,” Daranee Saeju, a senior director of the Bank of Thailand (BOT)’s financial institutions strategy department, told reporters.

In January-March, banks’ lending grew 4.7 percent from a year earlier, but loans to large businesses fell 2.6 percent, due partly to debt repayments, the BOT said.

Non-performing loans have likely peaked and should be falling, Daranee said.

Banks’ NPLs rose slightly to 2.92 percent of lending at the end of the first quarter from 2.91 percent in the previous period, the BOT said.

The central bank has forecast economic growth of 4.1 percent this year, after last year’s 3.9 percent expansion, which was the best in five years. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring Editing by Sunil Nair)

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