Thailand: Bank of Thailand denies baht trickery

  • The Bank of Thailand insists it has not manipulated the THB to gain an advantage in exports amid speculation that Thailand could be added to the US’s expanded watch list for currency manipulation.
  • According to Chantavarn Sucharitakul, assistant governor for corporate strategy and relations at the Bank of Thailand, Thailand is being included on the watch list simply because it has a trade surplus with the US.
  • According to Commerce Ministry data, Thailand shipped products worth USD4.5bn to the US while importing USD8.8bn, leaving a trade surplus of USD5.7bn in 1Q19.
  • In comparison, Thailand had a trade surplus of USD5.1bn with the US in 2018.
  • The US treasury issues a report twice annually on foreign currency and the latest report expected in May 19 may lead to a rise of about 20 from 12, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • One key reason for this increase is due to the criterion for current account surplus being reduced to 2% of GDP from 3%.
  • Meanwhile, according to central bank data, Thailand’s foreign reserve rose to USD211bn in Apr 19, up from USD206bn in Dec 18.

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