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Baht Has Biggest Monthly Advance Since July on Growth Outlook

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Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s baht had its biggest monthly advance since July on optimism the economy will rebound from the worst floods in 70 years that struck last year.

Global funds bought $1.4 billion more Thai equities than they sold this month through yesterday, data from the stock exchange show. The economy may expand by 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent this year, compared with last year’s growth of 0.1 percent, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said on Feb. 20.

“With some risk appetite in the market, we still see some dollar selling against the regional currencies and the Thai baht is following others,” said Paisarn Lertkowit, a currency trader in Bangkok at Bangkok Bank Pcl. “Investors may think Thailand will have a V-shape recovery from last year’s floods, attracting fund inflows.”

The baht strengthened 2.2 percent this month, the most among Asia’s 11 most-traded currencies, to 30.26 per dollar as of 3:04 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency advanced 0.3 percent today and touched 30.21 earlier, the strongest level since Sept. 15.

Government data due this week will show that 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 central bank may raise its 2012 economic growth forecast to 6 percent, from an earlier prediction of 4.9 percent, after a slower-than-expected expansion last year, Bank of Thailand Deputy Governor Suchada Kirakul said today. Policy makers will discuss the new target at a meeting scheduled for March 21, she said.

The yield on the government’s 3.25 percent notes due June 2017 rose 22 basis points, or 0.22 percentage point, to 3.30 percent this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yumi Teso in Bangkok at yteso1@bloomberg.net; Lilian Karunungan in Singapore at lkarunungan@bloomberg.net.

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

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