Thai households struggle with record debt, COVID-19 increases burden

By Channel NewsAsia6 days ago

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BANGKOK: Thai farmer Jamras Kongchai is struggling to pay off 500,000 baht (US$16,082) in debt as money from the sale of her crops is not enough to make payments.

Adding to the strain, the COVID-19 outbreak has shut a small construction firm where she worked for US$10 a day for much needed extra income.

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“I'm so heavily indebted and don't know what to do,“ said the 51-year-old, single mother of two, who travelled from the northern province of Kamphaeng Phet to join a demonstration of indebted rice growers in Bangkok late last month, asking the government to help reduce their debt burden.

Jamras has only repaid some of the interest since 2013, and hasn't put a dent in the principle. This year, she has to pay 40,000 baht in interest, but she has no money. “I hope to get some help.“

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