Thai central bank slashes interest rate
Thailand's central bank slashed interest rates Wednesday by the largest amount in eight years, attempting to stave off recession as the economy reels from the global downturn and a week long shutdown of Bangkok's airports by anti-government protesters, AP reported.
The Bank of Thailand said it had cut the key lending rate by 1 percentage point to 2.75 percent, its lowest level since mid-2005.
"Domestic political problems are likely to have greater repercussions on economic growth than previously assessed, particularly to confidence and tourism," assistant governor Duangmanee Vongpradhip said in a statement.
Protesters were ending their occupation of the Thai capital's international and domestic airports Wednesday but the damage to the nation's vital tourism industry was expected to be long-lasting, with more than 300,000 travelers stranded by the airport chaos.
A court on Tuesday dissolved the ruling party for vote buying, forcing Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and other top government ministers out of office - meeting a key demand of the protesters.
The central bank said the global financial crisis has led to a significant and worse-than-expected slowdown in the industrialized economies, which will hurt Thailand's exports, a mainstay of economic growth.