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Baht Strengthens on Fund Inflows Amid Economic Recovery Optimism

Thailand’s baht approached a five-month high after foreign investors pumped money into the nation’s assets on optimism economic growth is rebounding after last year’s floods.

Global funds purchased $1.4 billion more Thai equities than they sold this month through yesterday and bought a net $4.8 billion of government debt, data from the stock exchange and the Thai Bond Market Association show. Gross domestic product may increase 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent this year, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said on Feb. 20, when the government announced last year’s growth was 0.1 percent.

“Funds keep coming in here, causing the baht to strengthen,” said Amonthep Chawla, a Bangkok-based analyst at Kasikornbank Pcl. “Growth in Asia is expected to be much larger than developed countries.”

The baht gained 0.3 percent to 30.39 per dollar as of 3:23 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency touched 30.22 on Feb. 24, the strongest level since Sept. 15. It appreciated 1.8 percent in February, the best performance among Asia’s 11 most-traded currencies. Kasikornbank predicts the baht will advance to 29.50 by year-end.

Government data this week will show exports were unchanged in January from a year earlier after decreasing in the previous two months, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The yield on the government’s 3.25 percent notes due June 2017 rose three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 3.36 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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