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Thai industry minister urges central bank to curb baht

(Photo: bangkokpost.com). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

BANGKOK, Aug 7, 2019, VNA. Thailand’s new Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit has urged the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to intervene more in foreign exchange markets to help private companies suffering from the strengthening baht, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

He said at a business forum in Bangkok on August 5 that he will seek to discuss baht strength soon with BOT governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.

Businesses want the baht to be 32 per US dollar, he said.

The baht was trading at 30.78. It has gained 5.7 percent this year, becoming Asia’s top performing currency. The baht’s strength is further threatening exports, which are already under pressure from slowing global demand.

At a separate event, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana told reporters that government stimulus measures to be unveiled later this month should help the economy grow more than 3 percent this year.

The central bank has forecast 2019 growth of 3.3 percent. Last year’s growth was 4.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the monetary policy committee (MPC) felt rapid appreciation of the baht might not be consistent with economic fundamentals and could impact economic growth, according to the minutes of its June 26 meeting released on July 9.

At the meeting, policymakers left the benchmark rate unchanged at 1.75 percent.

The committee deemed it necessary to prepare short-term capital inflow management measures ready to be implemented at an appropriate time, as well as to continue relaxing more capital outflow regulations to encourage a greater flow of outward portfolio investment by residents.

But the minutes did not say what measures would be implemented.

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