Thailand: Baht surges to highest level in 16 years
April 25, 2013
By 25 April, the Thai baht (THB) traded at 28.8 per USD, which was 1.4% stronger than the level recorded in same day of the previous month and marked a 6.8% gain on an annual basis. In recent weeks, the THB has been trading at levels not seen since July 1997, when the Thai government was forced to float the baht amid massive speculative attacks in the run-up of the Asian financial crisis. The baht has been on an almost uninterrupted upward trajectory since June 2012, when it reached an almost two-year low.
The THB has appreciated as high-yield seeking investors are increasing their holdings of Thai sovereign bonds. The Bank of Thailand is now under pressure to reduce interest rates in order to curb the currency gains following four consecutive meetings with no changes to the main policy rate, as a stronger baht is increasingly becoming a drag on the country's export sector.
Against this backdrop, FocusEconomics participants expect the currency to weaken in the coming months, with the exchange rate easing to 29.6 bahts per USD. For 2014, the panel expects the baht to close the year at 29.2 per USD.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions