Thais 'spending beyond their means'

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Non-performing personal loans in Thailand have soared to more than 56.5 billion baht (US$1.8 billion) in the third quarter of this year, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said recently.

This amount accounts for 21.4 per cent of the outstanding non-performing loans of all financial institutions.

"A number of people have been spending beyond their means," NESDB deputy secretary-general Suwannee Khamman said yesterday, adding that one of the factors behind this overspending was the government's policy to offer tax rebates to first-time car buyers.

According to her, the number of personal loans taken to purchase vehicles has jumped by 33.6 per cent between July and September when compared to the same period last year, while the number of loans taken for new homes has soared by 10.3 per cent. Loans taken for other types of products/services have also risen by 30.3 per cent.

"We have to closely watch the spending behaviour of low- and middle-income earners," Suwannee said, adding that even though the significant hike in the daily minimum wage had not hurt the rate of employment, many employers were cutting down on the number of paid working hours.

According to NESDB, more than 6.1 million people now work less than 35 hours a week and many in this group are unskilled labourers who want to work more hours for better pay.

Suwannee said that while the minimum daily wage had soared significantly, in actual terms it had only increased by 10 per cent because the price of basic necessities had also risen.

She was speaking after the NESDB released a report on Thailand's social outlook in the third quarter of this year.

Also according to the Public Health Ministry, some 1.5 million Thai citizens aged 15 and above are suffering from depression. This has become a concern because it is a leading cause of suicides and is affecting the society and economy adversely. Overall, Thai people's gross happiness index has been dropping in the face of the rising cost of living, political conflicts and natural disasters.

Suwannee said research had found that most underage youth were able to purchase cigarettes easily, and about 80 per cent of young people surveyed said neighbourhood shops freely sold smokes to youngsters.

Another study has found that domestic violence exists in 36.6 per cent of families that have at least one member who drinks heavily.

"Statistics have also suggested that about a fourth of the arrested drug suspects are first-time offenders and most of the people arrested on drug-related charges are young people," she said.

Unpaid bills

- Overspending sees defaults rise in the third quarter.

- Households' overdue payments (more than three months late) jump by 37.8 per cent

- Overdue payments to credit-card companies (more than three months late) rise by 11.1 per cent

- Non-performing personal loans stood at 56.5 billion baht, which accounts for 21.4 per cent of outstanding non-performing loans of all financial institutions.

Source: National Economic and Social Development Board

*US$1=30.6 baht

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 13 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 16 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 16 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...