BANGKOK, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's central bank said on Monday it expects Thai commercial banks to post strong loan growth this year as large businesses will seeking credit due to the staggering economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Loans grew 4.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2 percent in the whole of 2019," said Tharith Panpiemras, director of Banking Supervision and Risk Assessment Department of the Bank of Thailand (BOT).
Non-performing loans (NPLs) are likely to rise further this year, reflecting the slowing economy, he said.
"NPLs stood at 3.05 percent of total lending at the end of March, that is up from 2.98 percent at the end of last year," said Tharith.
According to the BOT, the Thai economy contracted 1.8 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, and 2.2 percent from the December quarter as the pandemic hit the tourism and local businesses in Thailand. Enditem