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Topic Summary

Posted by: thaiga
« on: April 27, 2017, 06:58:15 PM »

Household debt at 8-year peak

People queue at a pawnshop in Buri Ram province before the New Year festival in December. A survey shows household debt rose, but with positive causes. (Photo by Surachai Phiraksa)

Household debt has hit an eight-year peak at 131,479 baht per family, but with positive signs of people borrowing to buy durable goods, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce reported on Thursday.

The UTCC based the report on its Thursday survey of 1,258 workers who earned less than 15,000 baht a month.

Thanavath Phonvichai, UTCC vice president for research, said average household debt rose 10.43% from 119,061 baht last year because debts had accumulated over the past three years due to economic problems, higher prices and increasing interest rates.

A main cause was that prices for key farm products - rubber, palm oil and rice - plunged simultaneously for the first time in 50 years, he said.

However, on the positive side, people were borrowing to buy durable goods such as vehicles and residences, and informal debt was falling while formal debt was rising.

Government measures increased the proportion of formal debt from 39.4% last year to 46.4% this year, the highest in four years, Mr Thanavath said.

Average repayment instalments were 5,080.48 baht a month, down from 8,114.31 baht last year. The number of debtors with repayment problems dropped from 83.5% to 78.6%, and number of workers who were saving money rose from 39.4% to 62.6%.

"Tourism recovered last year, so workers in some groups had higher incomes. Aware of economic recovery, they started to borrow more, but for durable goods," Mr Thanavath said.

Of the surveyed workers, 97% admitted to being in debt and 78.6% had defaulted, he said.