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  • The week ending September 18th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.59 baht to every 1 US dollar.


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    • Little late with the weekly update.

      The week ending September 25th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 31.06 baht to every 1 US dollar.

      • Baht touches 3-week high after protests stay peaceful

      The baht firmed to a three-week high on Monday, gaining along with most Asian currencies against a subdued US dollar, while drawing relief from the anti-government protest passing peacefully at the weekend.

      At the biggest demonstration in years, tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday cheered calls for reform of the monarchy as well as for the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a former junta leader, and a new constitution and elections.

      "There was a lot of anxiety going into the weekend", said Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital markets research at Kasikornbank, adding that relief that that there was no violence gave "some impetus for the markets to strengthen this morning."

      The baht gained 0.4%, marking its best day since Sept 1, while local stocks also rose.

      Also lending support was the parliament passing the 3.29 trillion baht budget bill for the 2021 fiscal year starting in October, hoping to revive Southeast Asia's second-largest economy from a collapse in tourism and exports due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

      The central bank meeting due on Wednesday, governor Veerathai Santiprabhob's last, is expected to leave rates unchanged at record low of 0.5%, Mr Silpachai said.

      Other Asian currencies firmed too. Indonesia's rupiah extended Friday's gains, rising 0.4% to its highest level since Sept 2. The currency has been pressured this month by concerns over rising coronavirus cases and mooted changes to the central bank law, which could threaten its independence, but a decision last week to keep interest rates steady seems to have settled some of the jitters.

      S&P Global signalled on Friday that Indonesia should handle any changes to the central bank law carefully to prevent any pressure on its markets and sovereign rating.

      Stock markets across the region were rangebound, as a spike in coronavirus cases locally and in Europe put a dampener on global sentiment. Risks of increased military tensions between the United States and China as some Washington officials visited Taiwan last week also added to concerns.

      "This dimension of military tensions are sobering reminders that any dial back in US-China tensions on the trade or commercial front may be no more than temporary relief", Riki Ogawa of Mizuho Bank said in a note.

      Philippine stocks dipped 0.4% to lead losses, with consumer stocks weighing on the index. On Sunday, the country's confirmed infections in the country had swelled to 286,743, still the highest in the region.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...erbox#cxrecs_s


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      • The week ending October 2nd, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 31.17 baht to every 1 US dollar.

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        • The week ending October 9th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.60 baht to every 1 US dollar.

          • Strengthening baht, shortage of migrant workers worry exporters as markets look up

          Thai exporters are upbeat about business prospects, citing gradual increase in demand, but they are worried about the baht strengthening as well as the shortage of migrant workers.

          The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) has revised upward its export projection this year to 8 per cent contraction from 10 per cent contraction previously forecast, says Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, the council chairman.

          Products in demand include rubber gloves, washing machines, fax machines, telephones and parts, and gold, she noted.

          Demand for Thai products have risen as many countries have eased Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Demand for basic need products, such as canned food, farm products, processed farm products have risen, and the coming Christmas and New Year seasons would further boost demand, she said.

          Thailand’s exports in August amounted to $20.2 billion, falling 7.94 per cent, against imports of $15.86 billion, dropping 19.68 per cent. Exports in the first eight months contracted 7.75 per cent, amounting to $153.37 billion.

          However, there are many negative factors. Consumer purchasing power remains weak due to the global recession. So, Thai exporters should focus on necessity products and products whose prices were not high, she said.

          The baht remains strong and can be an obstacle for exports, as it makes Thai products more expensive than products of competitors. The baht should stay at around Bt34 per dollar, down from the current Bt31 level, or it must move along with regional currencies, she said.

          A shortage of migrant workers is also adversely affecting businesses, she complained. The rise of logistics cost, including freight cost, is also a cause for concern, she pointed out.

          She said exporters want newly appointed Finance Minister Arkhom Tempittayapaisith to deregulate exchange rate regulations. The government should also provide financial aid to those who have not yet been supported by previous measures, she added.

          Meanwhile, Visit Limluecha, vice chairman of the TNSC, said the US presidential election in November may have an impact on Thai exports. If Democrat Joe Biden wins the election, the US government may implement more free trade policies than incumbent President Donald Trump, he added.: https://www.nationthailand.com/busin...ernal_referral


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          • The week ending October 16th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.68 baht to every 1 US dollar.


            • BoT prolongs debt moratorium for SMEs

            Deadline pushed to next June for firms that have not fully recovered

            The Bank of Thailand has extended the debt moratorium period to next June for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a credit line below 100 million baht and difficulty in servicing existing debts.

            The extension period will end on June 30, 2021. The extension will only apply to targeted SMEs that cannot cope with repaying loans to financial institutions due to business operations not being fully recovered.

            The central bank implemented debt relief measures on April 23 to help SMEs reeling from pandemic fallout, but the measures were scheduled to end on Oct 22.

            Roong Mallikamas, assistant governor for financial stability and corporate strategy, said the central bank will let banks and non-bank companies negotiate with debtors as to whether they can repay debts normally or prefer to continue with the debt moratorium scheme for another six months.

            Banks and non-bank companies will have to collect SME information for the extended debt moratorium by December of this year.

            The value of debtors receiving debt relief measures in the formal banking system totals 6.89 trillion baht, with 1.35 trillion baht attributed to SME loans of 1.05 million accounts.

            Of the 1.35-trillion-baht amount, 950 billion baht from 319,000 accounts making up 79% of total SME loans is classified as SME borrowers with incurred debt of less than 100 million baht. Commercial banks and non-bank companies are creditors of this SME loan portion.

            Of the 950-billion-baht sum, 57 billion baht or 6% from SME loans provided by commercial banks and non-bank companies is categorised as SME borrowers that banks and non-bank companies have been unable to contact.

            The majority of SME borrowers say they intend to service their debts normally when the debt moratorium programme expires next Thursday, according to the central bank.

            "The Bank of Thailand has asked financial institutions to try contacting the 6% of SME debtors," Mrs Roong said. "They will have more than two months or until the end of December to find them [debtors] and offer an opportunity for debt moratorium for another six months or to service their debts normally."

            She said financial institutions can also consider adjusting debt-servicing conditions for customers on a case-by-case basis to prevent a rise in non-performing loans, as well as adopting other tools such as reducing interest payment for credit cards and personal loans and the suspension of instalment payments.

            Borrowers can resume repaying the full amount when the situation returns to normal, Mrs Roong said.

            "The Bank of Thailand has been monitoring the situation closely and expects that there won't be a lot of debt defaults in a very short time [cliff effect] after the debt moratorium scheme ends," she said. "This is because SME debtors whose creditors are specialised financial institutions, with loans totalling 400 billion baht, will continue to be under the debt moratorium scheme for another six months. The majority of SME debtors, owing a combined 950 billion baht to commercial banks and non-bank companies, also intend to repay their debts."

            The main reason for targeted debt moratorium measures, as opposed to blanket measures, is to prevent long-term negative repercussions, Mrs Roong said.

            Debtors are still shouldering interest burdens during the debt moratorium, while targeted measures are a means to discourage moral hazard, as some debtors, who have not been heavily affected by the crisis, may opt to take this opportunity to delay debt repayment.

            The longer period of debt moratorium will also adversely affect financial stability, with an estimated 200-billion-baht loss in liquidity incurred from suspended repayment of the principal amount and interest, Mrs Roong said.

            With the eased lockdown measures, each business sector has resumed operations, albeit at a varying pace.

            Businesses related to drinks, agriculture, appliances and petrochemical products have seen a good recovery, according to the central bank.

            On the other hand, tourism-related businesses have recovered slowly compared with activity before the crisis.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...orium-for-smes


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            • The week ending October 22nd, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.78 baht to every 1 US dollar.


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              • The week ending October 30th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.73 baht to every 1 US dollar.


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                • The week ending November 6th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 30.15 baht to every 1 US dollar.



                  Foreign investment pledges fall 29% y/y Jan-Sept

                  Foreign investment applications in Thailand amounted to 118.5 billion baht in January-September, down 29% from a year earlier, as investors were deterred by the coronavirus pandemic, an investment agency said on Wednesday.

                  Foreign investors remain interested in the country, despite months of political protests, Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary general of the Board of Investment (BoI), told a briefing.

                  "Investors who plan to invest in Thailand will consider long-term factors more than short-term factors. Thailand is still attractive for them," Mr Duangjai said.

                  Japan remains Thailand's biggest investor, with projects worth 37.5 billion baht, followed by China's 21.2 billion baht of pledges.

                  Thailand has seen some of the biggest political protests in years in recent months, calling for the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, changes to the constitution and reforms to curb the powers of the monarchy.

                  In the first nine months of this year, combined domestic and foreign investment pledges declined 15% from a year earlier to 223.7 billion baht, due to a smaller average size of projects.

                  That came amid a decline in investment globally due to the coronavirus pandemic, the BoI said.

                  It aims to attract 300 billion baht of overall investment this year, a 60% decline from 2019.

                  It hopes new incentives will spur more investment, however, such as resuming accepting applications for investments in the electric vehicles sector, which was stopped in 2018, Mr Duangjai said.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...9-y-y-jan-sept
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                  • The week ending November 13th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 29.73 baht to every 1 US dollar.


                    • Govt asks central bank to manage soaring baht to aid exports

                    The government wants the Bank of Thailand (BoT) to temper a rally in the nation’s currency, which is threatening efforts to boost exports to balance a slump in tourism revenue, according to Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

                    The BoT is “taking care” of the baht, Mr Arkhom told reporters in Bangkok on Wednesday, after the currency rallied to a 10-month high against the US dollar. The baht has surged 4.7% this quarter as foreign inflows into the nation’s stocks and bonds resumed and emerging market currencies rallied on optimism over the global economic outlook.

                    With the international borders closed to most visitors, Thailand is betting on a revival in trade to minimise the hit to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic. As exports have shown signs of revival, the government will focus on supporting its only source of external revenue, Mr Arkhom said.

                    “We are doing whatever we can to help exports,” said Mr Arkhom, who took over as the finance minister last month. “We have asked the central bank to manage the baht to be supportive for exports.”

                    The baht rose as much as 0.9% to 30.172 to a dollar on Wednesday, its highest intraday level since Jan 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency has rebounded almost 9% from this year’s low in April and is close to wiping out its entire losses for the year.

                    “The central bank is likely to lean against currency strength, but as the baht’s recent rally has broadly been in line with the rest of the region’s currencies, any moves to rein in gains are likely to be fairly measured,” Krystal Tan, an economist for Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, said in an email. The bank sees the baht at 30.90 to a dollar by year-end, she said.

                    Mr Arkhom said monetary and fiscal policies should be in sync to support the economy, which is expected to perform better than previously forecast this year on a pick-up in domestic consumption.

                    The government will extend beyond 2020 a co-payment programme meant to drive consumption, and will accelerate budget spending until the first quarter of next year, especially for infrastructure to sustain local demand, he said.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...to-aid-exports

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                    • Bank of Thailand holds rates, mulls moves to curb baht

                      The Bank of Thailand (BoT) signalled it will focus on tackling a rally in the nation’s currency, while keeping its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a fourth straight meeting to save limited policy space.

                      The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) “expressed concerns over the rapid appreciation of the baht as this affected the fragile economic recovery,” it said after its meeting Wednesday, adding that it will hold a briefing Friday on measures to address the issue. The currency dropped as much as 0.6% against the dollar after the statement.

                      The MPC will also “closely monitor developments in foreign exchange markets and capital flows as well as consider the necessity of implementing additional appropriate measures,” it said.

                      The Thai economy has shown some encouraging signs as the decline in gross domestic product slowed last quarter, beating estimates. Still, ongoing political protests and a stronger currency are weighing on the economy, adding to the case for the central bank to keep some policy space available to use when needed.

                      The central bank held its key rate at 0.5% in a unanimous decision, saying it’s prepared to use additional monetary tools if necessary. All 20 economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted the hold, which came after the bank cut rates by 75 basis points earlier this year.

                      The committee “assessed that despite the recent better-than-expected outturn, the Thai economy would recover slowly and need support from the continued low policy rate,” it said. “The committee thus voted to maintain the policy rate at this meeting and to preserve the limited policy space in order to act at the appropriate and most effective timing.”

                      The baht trimmed its gain against the US dollar over the past month to 2.9% after the announcement. Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Titanun Mallikamas on Wednesday attributed the recent strength to risk-on flows into emerging markets.

                      The government has wanted the central bank to temper the baht’s recent rally as it threatens exports. Finance Minister Arkhom Termipittayapaisith said Monday he’d discuss with the central bank possible measures to restrain the currency.

                      Key Issues

                      Briefing reporters after the decision, Mr Titanun said Wednesday’s meeting focused on three key issues.

                      The first was concern about the baht’s rapid appreciation and the necessity of additional measures, as well as scheduling a briefing on foreign exchange Friday.

                      Secondly, he said, liquidity is not evenly distributed in the financial system because of elevated credit risks, despite record-low interest rates.

                      Finally, household income remains fragile, especially for service-sector workers even as the labour market improved in the third quarter.

                      “The briefing this Friday on how to tame the baht strength is new and unheard of,” said Howie Lee, economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd in Singapore. “Baht traders may be expecting reasonably strong measures out of Friday and the baht is reacting ahead of that meeting”

                      The central bank said fiscal policy remains key to reviving the economy, a point it has been at pains to stress in recent weeks. Well-targeted policies and coordination across government agencies will be key to the boosting the recovery, the bank said.

                      The government should “accelerate budget disbursement and assist the vulnerable target groups,” the bank said in its decision statement. “In addition, implementation of supply-side policies should be accelerated to support business restructuring and upskilling of labour, which would help support sustainable economic recovery in the long term.”

                      The MPC meeting on Wednesday was the first for governor Setthaput Suthiwart-Narueput after he succeeded Veerathai Santiprabhob on Oct 1.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...s-to-curb-baht



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                      • BOT unveils new liberalisation measures in bid to control baht's appreciation

                        The Bank of Thailand (BOT) on Friday liberalised Thai investments in foreign securities and the holding of foreign currencies in a bid to rein in the strengthening baht.

                        Under the new BOT measures, Thais are allowed to freely open foreign currency deposit accounts (FCD) and can freely make transactions between FCD accounts, BOT assistant governor Vachira Arromdee said on Friday.

                        The measures will enable exporters to effectively manage liquidity and foreign exchange risk.

                        Vachira said that the US presidential election outcome and the progress of the Covid-19 vaccine development have strengthened confidence in the global economy. This has resulted in "renewed inflows into emerging market economies, including Thailand".

                        "The rapid appreciation of the baht may affect the fragile recovery of the Thai economy," Vachira said.

                        The BOT has closely monitored and intervened in the market as necessary to limit excessive currency volatility. In addition, to further mitigate pressures on the currency and to address structural issues in the Thai foreign exchange market, the BOT has come up with additional measures, Vachira said.

                        Residents are allowed to conduct FCD transactions electronically, which reduces transaction costs. FCD accounts may also be used for residents to diversify investment into assets denominated in foreign currencies, such as foreign equities and gold denominated in US dollar, the central bank said.

                        The BOT has relaxed regulations regarding investment in foreign securities. These include increasing investment limits and expanding eligible financial products, in order to expand investment options for residents and enhance portfolio diversification.

                        The investment limit for retail investors has been increased from $200,000 per year to $5 million per year. Also, there is no investment limit in foreign securities through local financial institutions such as brokerage firms and asset management companies.

                        There is also no investment limit in foreign assets for investors regulated under the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

                        Foreign securities such as Exchanged Traded Funds that track foreign securities can now be listed in Thailand.

                        Investors in Thai bonds will be subject to "Bond pre-date registration". Pre-registration will upgrade the bond surveillance system, which will allow close monitoring of investor behaviour and thereby enable the implementation of targeted measures in a timely manner, the BOT said. This registration is in line with practices in South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, the central bank added.

                        The latest measures are a part of the comprehensive FX Ecosystem Development Plan that the Ministry of Finance, the SEC and the BOT are together advancing in order to address structural problems in the foreign exchange market in a sustainable manner, the central bank said.: https://www.nationthailand.com/busin...ernal_referral


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                        • BOT’s move to rein in rising baht not working: experts

                          Analysts are sceptical about the central bank’s latest measures to curb the rising baht, despite praise for the move from business quarters.

                          The Bank of Thailand (BOT) on Friday announced measures to encourage capital outflow in order to restrain rapid appreciation of the baht.

                          However, foreign funds continued to flow into the Thai stock exchange on Friday, with foreign investors making net buys of Bt2.38 billion.

                          “It seems that the market is not reacting, the measures seem to be more of the same old thing,” Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital markets research at Kasikornbank, told The Nation.

                          Though the central bank was encouraging capital outflows, it had not imposed “scary” measures like Tobin tax [on currency conversions], he said.

                          Thus he was pessimistic the measures would slow down the baht’s rise.

                          “The fundamentals have not changed: our current account will remain in surplus,” he said.

                          While the new measures may address the “symptoms”, they would not cure the underlying cause of the strong baht – an imbalanced economy, he argued.

                          After years of relying on monetary measures, it was time to try fiscal measures like tax reform, he added.

                          He was also sceptical of the BOT’s recent move to loosen restrictions on foreign currency deposit accounts. Focusing on foreign capital flows might not be effective, as exporters need to convert their US dollar revenue to baht for working capital, he said.

                          The measure risked upsetting long-term inflation management by spurring outflow of capital and indirectly discouraging investment in Thailand, which would dampen future economic activity and inflation, he warned.

                          He suggested that if authorities really want the baht to weaken, they need to rebalance the economy. This is where tax reforms comes in, because high taxes, high household debt and a strong baht are all related.

                          “Excise tax on imported goods is high, suppressing imports and forcing the current account surplus even higher, which leads to a strong baht,” he said.

                          US President Donald Trump has proven that cutting taxes actually boosts tax revenue, because the tax base increases, Kobsidthi added.

                          Naris Sathapholdecha, executive director at TMB Analytics, shares a similar view, saying that foreign investors were undeterred by the latest measures as they still bought short-term bonds worth US$700 million in Friday’s intra-day trading.

                          He suggested that to rein in the baht, the central bank should reduce its issuance of short-term bonds. The BOT could also raise costs for foreign investors investing in Thai stocks and bonds by stipulating they must buy insurance against baht exchange rate risk.

                          He predicted a slight short-term weakening of the baht due to two factors outside Thailand. First, while the more trade-friendly Joe Biden had wo the US presidential election, his Democrat Party had not won a majority in the Senate. Second, a Covid-19 vaccine may not be available as soon as expected. Therefore, investors may sell Thai assets.

                          The baht would stay at around Bt30.50 per dollar and is unlikely to strengthen beyond Bt30, Naris added.

                          Meanwhile, Kriengkrai Thiennukul, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, expressed support for the BOT’s moves.

                          “The action of the central bank will prevent a rapid rise beyond the Bt30/dollar level. Doing nothing would have seen the baht appreciate further, making Thai exports even less competitive,” he said.

                          The baht’s rise would also benefit Thai investors seeking to acquire businesses in Europe, where many companies are expected to go bankrupt amid the second wave of Covid-19. But foreign businesses could yield high returns when the pandemic eases.

                          He also predicted the baht would remain strong for the foreseeable future since the Biden presidency will inject more money into US economy.: https://www.nationthailand.com/busin...ernal_referral


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                          • The week ending November 20th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 29.82 baht to every 1 US dollar.


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                            • The week ending November 27th, 2020 the Thai Baht was being exchanged at 29.82 baht to every 1 US dollar.



                              Shippers seek baht management

                              The Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC) is urging financial authorities to manage the local currency's value to hover around 31 baht against the US dollar for trade competitiveness.

                              The baht has appreciated to 30.3 against the greenback and there is a tendency that the local currency's value could further strengthen to 29.5 next year, said Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, TNSC's chairwoman, citing analysts' views.

                              If this holds true, the firmer baht would incur foreign exchange risks in terms of the cost and selling price of goods, said Ms Ghanyapad.

                              It was reported that Ms Ghanyapad also had a meeting with Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput to ask the central bank to manage the movement of the local currency.

                              Previously, the TNSC assessed that the value of the baht should be 34 per dollar, a level seen appropriate for trade competitiveness.

                              However, the council can now tolerate a foreign exchange value of 31 baht against the US currency.

                              The baht's value has appreciated at a rapid pace compared with other currencies, she said.

                              The rapid appreciation followed investors' risk-on sentiment on the back of the US presidential election outcome and progress in Covid-19 vaccine development.

                              The baht has been the second-best performer in Asia this month after foreign investors turned net buyers of almost US$2.4 billion (72.8 billion baht) of bonds and stocks as appetite returns for riskier emerging-market assets amid a weak dollar, Bloomberg reported.

                              Vachira Arromdee, assistant governor for financial markets operations group at the Bank of Thailand, recently said the rapid appreciation of the baht may affect the fragile recovery of the Thai economy, and the central bank had been closely monitoring and intervening in the market as necessary to limit excessive currency volatility.

                              The central bank has liberalised foreign currency deposits and increased the investment limit in foreign securities for Thai individual investors, an attempt to curb the baht's strengthening value and forge a new foreign exchange dynamic.

                              But the move has produced a minor effect as the baht's value has slightly depreciated, with a limited movement seen, said Ms Ghanyapad.

                              Ms Ghanyapad on Tuesday had also a meeting with Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith to discuss policies to stem the baht's strengthening value and measures to shore up consumer purchasing power.

                              She urged Mr Arkhom to expedite the linkage of electronic licence information, or the "National Single Window" project, to enhance the transfer of information between the public and private sectors.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...aht-management

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