Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kittiratt vs Prasarn: Sport topics are great; interest rates too hot for dinner

Central bank governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul had a dinner appointment with Finance Minister Kittiratt na Ranong the other day and the whole of Thailand wanted to know how it went.
The minister had publicly said he wanted the governor replaced for not reducing policy interest rates. The governor has stuck to his gun, arguing that interest rates weren't the real reason behind the strengthening baht.
"The first half an hour of the dinner was fine because we were talking about sports. But when the topic was interest rates was raised, the atmosphere became somewhat tense because we still had different ideas on the issue. The minister still wanted the policy interest rate to be reduced by 1%," Prasarn told Matichon in an interview published today.
Obviously, the two left the dinner the same way they had met earlier in the evening: Both agreed to disagree.
Asked whether he had given up on the fight? Prasarn responded: "I would have to make a decision if we hit a situation where we can't find a way out and if my continued presence causes damage to the country. But the fact remains that our economy remains reasonably stable with a proper balance."
My take? Prasarn isn't giving in easily. He is here for the long haul.

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