Thailand: Stronger baht seen as fleeting – 8 Aug 2017

  • Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong pointed to two large foreign investments in Thailand in 1H17 as supporting factors in the baht’s rise.
  • He said the local currency was driven upward by a deal in which a Taiwanese bank paid THB16.6bn for a nearly 36% stake in SET-listed LH Financial Group Plc, the parent firm of Land and Houses Bank, as well as another foreign deal involving an investment in an insurance firm under a commercial bank.
  • Mr Apisak said a trade surplus worth USD1bn (THB33.3bn) a month on average also contributed to the rapid rise in the baht.
  • His comments echoed recent remarks by Don Nakornthab, senior director of the macroeconomic and monetary policy department at the Bank of Thailand, who said the baht’s appreciation was not expected greatly diminish Thai exporters’ competitive edge.
  • Mr Apisak has rushed to allay jitters from exporters, saying he believes the central bank will take care to ensure that the local currency does not strengthen any further against other currencies.
  • But he voiced concerns about the impact of the stronger baht on small exporters, especially those who use local materials and don’t hedge against foreign exchange risk.

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