Inflation diverges in Southeast Asia’s two biggest economies

BANGKOK: Inflation in Southeast Asia’s two biggest economies, Indonesia and Thailand, diverged in March, putting the two nations on possibly different monetary policy courses.

Consumer-price growth in Indonesia eased to 2.48 percent last month, below the central bank’s 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent target band, while in Thailand, inflation quickened to a six-month high of 1.24 percent, climbing back into the 1 percent to 4 percent range.

The data gives the Bank of Thailand reason to stick to a more hawkish stance, while in Indonesia, the figures back up policy makers’ shift to a pause after last year’s interest-rate hikes. Thailand’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate once last year to 1.75 percent in December, with Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob saying on Monday it’s still low compared to peers.

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