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Baht Erases Declines as Investors Boost Thai Asset Holdings

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s baht erased earlier losses, supported by fund inflows into the nation’s stocks and bonds from international investors amid optimism growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will pick up this year.

The baht earlier dropped as European finance ministers canceled a meeting in Brussels slated for today and urged Greece to do more to clinch a bailout package needed to meet debt obligations falling due next month. Global funds bought $97 million more Thai stocks than they sold in the first two days of this week and purchased a net $722 million of government debt, stock exchange and the Thai Bond Market Association data show.

“Investors were reluctant to aggressively take the riskier positions until Greek issues are settled,” said Hideki Hayashi, a researcher at the Japan Center for Economic Research in Tokyo. “But sentiment is not that bad as people expect Europe to approve the bailout, so fund inflows will again support the baht.”

The baht was unchanged from yesterday at 30.84 per dollar as of 3:20 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency has advanced 2.3 percent this year and reached a three-month high of 30.68 on Feb. 9.

Thailand’s economy will expand 4.9 percent this year, compared with a previous prediction of 4.8 percent, the central bank said on Feb. 3. The monetary authority cut its growth estimate for 2011 to 1 percent from 1.8 percent the same day. Official data for 2011 growth is due on Feb. 20.

The yield on the government’s 3.25 percent bonds due June 2017 was unchanged at 3.20 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yumi Teso in Bangkok at yteso1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net

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