Thailand's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged for a third straight meeting on Wednesday, as widely expected, resisting government pressure to lower borrowing costs to help revive Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.

The Bank of Thailand's (BOT) monetary policy committee held the one-day repurchase rate at 2.50%, the highest in more than a decade. It had raised the rate by 200 basis points since August 2022 to curb inflation.

Of 26 economists in a Reuters poll, 16 had predicted the BOT would hold the rate steady on Wednesday, while the other 10 had forecast a quarter-point cut.

The policy committee voted five to two to hold the key rate.

The Thai baht is presently one of the worst-performing emerging Asia currencies, having lost nearly 6% year-to-date.

BOT Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said last month the central bank must ensure the policy was appropriate for supporting long-term growth while the risk of deflation was low.

Headline consumer inflation has been below the central bank's 1-3% target range for nearly a year, driven by energy subsidies. Consumer prices fell 0.47% in March, less than a 0.77% decline in February.

The central bank projected headline inflation to be near 1% in February. It now expects headline inflation to be 0.6% this year.

The central bank's next rate review is June 12. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Chayut Setboonsarng, Kitiphong Thaichareon and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)