KResearch assesses that net profit of domestically-registered commercial banks (Thai banking system) may have inched up during 1Q21. While income from core businesses of commercial banks may have yet to fully recover due to the pandemic's impact on economic activity across numerous Thai industries, the banks' net profit for 1Q21 could potentially rise by 75 percent QoQ. This possible increase can be attributed to reduced operating expenses and expected credit loss (which remain higher than pre-pandemic levels).
Nevertheless, operating performance of the Thai banking system for the rest of this year may face even more challenges, seeing as the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the trend of economic recovery, affected core income of commercial banks and raised concerns over asset quality. For these reasons, Thai commercial banks may have to conduct their operations with caution, while seeking to expedite financial assistance to their debtors – measures which may remain in place throughout 2021.
KResearch perceives that effectiveness of the COVID-19 control and prevention measures will serve as the key variable in determining the adequacy of banks' assistance measures for customers. If every party cooperates in controlling the spread of the outbreak, and the government manages to remedy the economic situation as planned, any ongoing financial relief program should be able to support commercial banks' financial status to a certain extent, though more time may be needed for small debtors to receive such coverage during 2H21. That said, uncertainties will persist in the forthcoming period and may cause further complications. Such a scenario may compel the Thai government and relevant agencies to review the sufficiency and appropriateness of the financial relief and other stimulus packages that they have issued. In doing so, certain conditions may have to be revised, or certain packages may need to take on additional mechanics so as to match the rapid pace of this ever-evolving crisis.