In a recent announcement, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) unveiled a nuanced financial landscape for the commercial banking system in the second quarter of 2022. Notably, credit within this sector experienced a marginal contraction of 0.4%. The key metric of concern, the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio, stood at 2.67%.
Suwannee Jatsadasak, Assistant Governor of the Supervision Group at the Bank of Thailand, took the stage to provide insight into the system’s health. She reassured stakeholders that the commercial banking sector’s foundation remains robust and unshaken. The report underlines a 0.4% credit contraction during Q2 2022, a modest decline attributed to businesses, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), recalibrating their debt obligations. This trend is observed across various sectors, including soft loans and government-backed initiatives, following an expansive phase aimed at bolstering liquidity throughout the pandemic.
Nonetheless, Suwannee emphasized that the momentum persisted within sizable conglomerates and substantial retail loan portfolios, notably in real estate and personal finance segments. The report highlights a slight improvement in credit quality, particularly within the SME and consumer lending segments. This positive shift owes itself to adept debt management by commercial banks and their unwavering commitment to assisting customers with restructuring their obligations.
These efforts culminated in a discernible reduction of Non-Performing Loans, which decreased to 492.3 billion baht in Q2 2022, translating to an NPL ratio of 2.67%. Additionally, the data disclosed a modest increase in the ratio of loans carrying elevated credit risk, which rose from 6.00% in the previous quarter to 6.08% in Q2 2022.
Suwannee also underscored the striking improvement in the commercial banking landscape when juxtaposed with the same period in the preceding year. This upswing was fueled by heightened net interest income, a feat achieved despite mounting financial costs arising from escalating deposit interest rates. Further contributing to this favorable turn were dividends from seasonal income streams and the accumulation of net interest income.
However, it remains imperative to tread cautiously concerning the debt repayment capability of select SMEs and specific households. These groups, burdened by burgeoning debt and a sluggish income recovery, merit vigilant monitoring. Encouragingly, the household debt-to-GDP ratio experienced a modest dip in Q1 2022, signaling economic convalescence. In tandem, the business sector witnessed a continual decline in its debt-to-GDP ratio, accompanied by a modest amelioration in profitability emanating from the manufacturing domain.
As the global economy faces uncertainties tied to a decelerating export sector, the recuperation of the tourism industry, and the alignment of the construction sector with governmental directives, these dynamics demand diligent observation moving forward.