Thailand’s baht rose for a third day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate U.S. growth if needed, spurring investors to favor riskier assets over the dollar. Government bonds declined.
The baht extended its rebound from the weakest level in almost three weeks after the Fed upgraded its 2012 outlook for the world’s largest economy. The Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, fell to the lowest level since April 2. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares advanced after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said yesterday that he sees signs of Europe’s economy stabilizing.
“The baht’s movement is supported by the dollar story, as well as a general improvement in the Europe situation,” said Thanomsri Fungarunrung, an economist at Phatra Securities Pcl in Bangkok.
The baht rose 0.2 percent to 30.87 per dollar as of 3:43 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency touched 31.07 on April 24, the weakest level since April 5. The baht’s one-month implied volatility, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, rose to 4.54 percent from a 10-month low of 4.52 percent.
“We remain prepared to do more as needed to make sure that this recovery continues,” Bernanke told reporters in Washington yesterday. The Fed has announced two rounds of quantitative easing since 2008 to hold borrowing costs down.
Baht gains were limited after an official report today showed Thailand’s overseas shipments slumped 6.5 percent in March from a year earlier, after a 0.9 percent gain in February. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists was for a 0.5 percent increase.
Government bonds dropped for a third day after investors sought higher yields at central bank debt auctions today.
The yield on the 3.25 percent bonds due June 2017 rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.57 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest since April 16.
The Bank of Thailand auctioned 50 billion baht ($1.6 billion) of two-year bonds at 3.52 percent, up from 3.24 percent at the previous sale of similar-maturity notes on Feb. 16. The notes are more attractive than government debt maturing in July 2015 offering a similar yield, Barclays Plc said in a note to clients today.