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Thai pandemic borrowing binge prompts calls for repayment delays

Household debt emerges as campaign issue with general election looming

As Thailand draws closer to general elections, the second largest party in the ruling coalition is promising stressed-out households a three-year debt holiday.   © Getty Images

BANGKOK -- The surge in Thai consumer borrowing during the pandemic has become a campaign issue in the Southeast Asian country, with populist politicians pushing for a multi-year debt holiday.

Thai households owe more as a percentage of gross domestic product than any other country in the region, according to the latest Bank of Thailand figures, reflecting a jump in borrowing that occurred as COVID dealt a blow to an economy that relies heavily on tourist revenues.

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