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THAILAND: Government concerned about bad loans

By Staff reporter | 18 February 2013

The Thai government is considering measures to support last-year’s first-time buyers, amid growing concern that many may not be able to keep up with vehicle loan repayments.

The ministry of finance’s comptroller-general's department plans to meet with auto finance firms to discuss what the government could do to help alleviate pressure on overstretched borrowers.

Deputy minister of finance, Tanusak Lekuthai, emphasised that there is “no clear indication yet” that there may be significant problems with loan repayments. He expects it will be several more months before any problems become evident.

Around 1.25m vehicles were sold under the government’s first-time buyer programme between October 2011 and December 2012, much higher that the government’s initial projection of 500,000 units. 

As a result, the vehicle market expanded to a new record high of 1.44m units in 2012, up 81% year on year.

The programme offered rebates of up to THB100,000 (US$3,330) to first-time buyers of vehicles costing up to THB1,000,000 provided that they keep their vehicles for at least five years.