March 18, 2020 / 1:42 PM / 23 days ago

UPDATE 1-Thai financial markets to stay open during April 13-15

* Cenbank to ensure continuing financial services

* Banks asked to help more debtors hit by virus outbreak (Adds cenbank chief, virus cases)

BANGKOK, March 18 (Reuters) - Thailand’s financial markets will stay open during April 13-15, as the country’s New Year holiday has been postponed to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, the central bank said on Wednesday.

The central bank has cancelled the holiday for financial institutions and will decide a new holiday later, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the cabinet approved putting off the Songkran new year holiday which falls between April 13-15.

Thailand on Wednesday reported 35 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total to 212. One person has died.

In a separate statement, BOT Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said the BOT has asked financial institutions to prepare back-up plans and would work closely with them to ensure continuing financial services if the spread of the virus outbreak escalates.

The BOT has also asked financial institutions to help restructure debt for more debtors hurt by the outbreak, he said.

About 30,000 borrowers with a combined debt of 234 billion baht ($7.22 billion) have had their loans restructured to ease their debt repayment burden in the first two weeks after the BOT’s announcement of such measure on Feb. 28. ($1 = 32.40 baht) (Reporting by Orathai Sririg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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