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Baht Gains After Global Funds Boost Thai Stock, Bond Holdings

Thailand’s baht approached an eight-week high after international investors raised their holdings of the nation’s assets on optimism growth in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy will improve.

Global funds bought $71 million more Thai equities than they sold yesterday and were net purchasers of government debt worth $181 million, according to data from the stock exchange and the Thai Bond Market Association. The $319 billion economy will grow 4.6 percent in 2012, compared with an earlier estimate of 4.2 percent, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said yesterday. Greek leaders will discuss today additional measures needed to secure a European Union-led rescue package.

“Fund inflows are supporting the baht,” said Tohru Nishihama, an economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc. in Tokyo. “But sentiment has been quite fragile as talks over Greece aren’t settled yet.”

The baht gained 0.2 percent to 30.91 per dollar as of 3:08 p.m. in Bangkok and reached 30.86 earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It hit an eight-week high of 30.84 on Feb. 3. The currency may stay at about 31 this week, Nishihama said.

Thai exports may increase by between 1 percent and 5 percent in the first quarter as factories recover from last year’s floods and demand continues to grow, the state-run Export Promotion Department said. Overseas sales, which account for about two-thirds of the economy, declined 2.1 percent in December from a year earlier, a third monthly drop, according to central bank data released last week.

The yield on the government’s 3.25 percent bonds due June 2017 was unchanged at 3.12 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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