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Thai Bank Loan Problem Said Better

October 13, 1999

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand’s central bank governor said Wednesday that the level of problem loans in the country’s financial system have peaked.

Chatu Mongol Sonakul told Cable News Network that lower interest rates and a more stable exchange rate have helped stabilize the level of loans not being repaid on time. Such problem loans have hobbled recovery from the Asian economic crisis.

Problem loans fell to 47.10 percent of outstanding lending as of the end of July, down from 47.41 percent in June, Chatu Mongol said.

Many Thai companies were unable to pay their debts after the currency collpased two years ago, which sparked Asia’s financial and economic meltdown.

Chatu Mongol also said the central bank wouldn’t push interest rates higher to boost the level of its currency, the baht.

Thailand’s currency weakened to just short of 41.70 to the U.S. dollar last month, mainly due to capital outflows for debt repayment. On Wednesday, the baht closed at 39.74 per dollar.

At its lowest point during the crisis, the baht traded at around 56 to the dollar.

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