Thailand Looks to Rein in Baht as It Hits 6-Year High

(Bloomberg) — The Bank of Thailand is considering imposing additional measures to rein in the currency amid further gains in the baht to a six-year high and worries about economic growth.

The economy could be more sensitive to greater currency appreciation, the Bank of Thailand said in minutes of the Sept. 25 monetary policy committee meeting published on Wednesday. This would be an “additional pressure” on softening domestic demand, particularly exported-related manufacturing and services, it said.

The committee “saw the need to closely monitor developments of exchange rates, capital flows, and impacts on the economy through various channels, as well as consider implementing additional measures at an appropriate timing if necessary,” the central bank said.

The monetary authority took steps in July to curb short-term inflows, worried that a strengthening baht will add further pain to an export-reliant economy already being hit by the U.S.-China trade war. The currency has gained more than 7% against the dollar this year, making it the best performer in Asia.

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Additional currency measures could include continued relaxation of capital outflow regulations to encourage Thai residents to increase their portfolio investment abroad, the central bank said. It could also consider measures in collaboration with other organizations, “including efforts to stimulate investment to reduce the elevated current-account surplus.”

The comments came on the same day the baht rose to as high as 30.334 per dollar, the strongest level since June 2013. It was up 0.3% at 30.345 as of 10:33 a.m. in Bangkok.

The central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged in September after reducing it to 1.5% in August.

The MPC “saw the need to preserve policy space in order to cushion against possible risks in the future and deemed it necessary to monitor the impacts of the policy rate cut and fiscal stimulus measures on the economy,” according to the minutes. The panel will be “data-dependent” going forward, and will monitor growth, inflation and financial stability risks, it said.

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Thailand sees small impact on inflation after Saudi attacks

© Reuters.  Thailand sees small impact on inflation after Saudi attacks © Reuters. Thailand sees small impact on inflation after Saudi attacks

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand expects little impact from surging oil prices on its inflation rate and exports following attacks on Saudi oil facilities, a commerce ministry official said on Monday.

Saturday’s drone assaults on Saudi oil facilities shut 5% of global crude output and caused the biggest surge in oil prices since 1991 after U.S. officials blamed Iran and President Donald Trump said Washington was “locked and loaded” to retaliate.

But the situation is not expected to drag on and should lift Thailand’s inflation by just 0.01 percentage point, official Pimchanok Vonkorporn said in a statement.

The ministry is maintaining its 2019 headline inflation forecast of 0.7%-1.3%, she said, adding that the impact of oil prices on inflation is less than that of a strong baht , Asia’s best performing currency this year.

The strengthening baht, which has gained 6.7% against the dollar so far this year, might keep inflation less than 1% this year, Pimchanok said.

In January-August, headline inflation was 0.87%.

Oil-related exports may improve only slightly and the ministry is sticking to the government’s annual export growth target of 3% in the second half of 2019, Pimchanok said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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