The latest research shows that risks from the euro-zone crisis will linger despite improving European sentiment and a stable Thai economy. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday chaired a meeting with nine economic ministers to review the crisis. Participants agreed on a continued need keep a close watch on the situation. The meeting heard the Thai economy was sound in May, as evidenced by positive indicators such as lower unemployment, stable forex and policy interest rates and declining oil prices. The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said the Labour and Education ministries have been tasked with finding ways to balance the pool of unemployed graduates with industry needs. Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said unemployment remains below 1%, and it is normal to see a sharp rise in unemployed new graduates each May and June. The Energy Ministry will continue to monitor energy prices, especially in light of the new EU sanctions on Iran that took effect on Sunday, he said. The NESDB also reported the oil price will likely remain at the current level in both the short and the long term thanks to a surplus in the US. As well, the euro-zone crisis has also seen a drop in oil price speculation. In the first half, oil averaged US$108.18 a barrel, up by 2.8% year-on-year. On Tuesday, West Texas and Dubai crude cost $87.66 and $95.08 a barrel, respectively. Mr Kittiratt gave assurances that the government can stabilise domestic oil prices despite the state Oil Fund contracting by 16 billion baht. He noted that this was an improvement on the previous contraction of 30 billion baht. Pump prices will likely drop a further 30-50 satang a litre, he said. State banks are required to help small and medium-sized enterprises access export loans and risk guarantees if they are unable to access credit.