Thailand agrees more support measures amid surging oil prices

(Reuters) - Thailand's economic teams agreed to extend some support measures to reduce living costs for another three months, and sought cooperation from refineries to help boost the country's depleted oil fund amid rising energy prices.

The measures, decided at an urgent economic meeting called by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, came after Thai headline inflation hit a nearly 14-year high of 7.1% in May, driven by high oil prices, while Southeast Asia's second-largest economy is in recovery.

The finance ministry also proposed a tax break measure to boost recovery in the key tourism sector, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in a statement.

The support measures included help for taxi drivers and low-income groups.

The government would also ask oil refineries to deliver some profits to the state's oil fund for three months until September to help stabilise oil prices, he said.

The fund, which Thailand uses the fund to support subsidies and manage prices, is expected to be more than 90 B baht ($2.56 B) in the red by the end of this month.

A monthly contribution from diesel and benzene refining together was expected at 6 B to 7 B baht ($171.1 MM to $199.7 MM), Thanakorn said.

The government would also ask gas separation plants to help support the oil fund for three months, estimated at 1.5 billion baht a month, he said.

The measures require cabinet approval, he added.

($1 = 35.06 baht) (Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um, Orathai Sriring, Panarat Thepgumpanat and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)

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