Thai Baht Advances as Economy Unexpectedly Expands; Bonds Fall

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- The baht rose to a one-week high as official data showed Thailand’s economy unexpectedly grew in the first quarter, recovering after last year’s floods. Government bonds fell.

The currency gained for a third day as the National Economic and Social Development Board reported gross domestic product increased 0.3 percent from a year earlier, after contracting a revised 8.9 percent in the preceding three months. The median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 0.5 percent drop. The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index snapped a six-day decline after Premier Wen Jiabao said over the weekend that China will continue to implement a “proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy” to spur growth.

“Data confirms Thailand’s economy is recovering quite solidly and that is positive for the baht,” said Tohru Nishihama, an economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc. in Tokyo. “Risk sentiment is improving on China’s remarks and that supports Asia’s emerging currencies.”

The baht added 0.1 percent to 31.31 per dollar as of 3:12 p.m. in Bangkok after reaching 31.18 earlier, the strongest level since May 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One-month implied volatility, a measure of foreign-exchange swings used to price options, was unchanged at 4.52 percent.

“Asian currencies bounce to some degree and this GDP print should help matters for the currency,” said Sacha Tihanyi, a senior strategist in Hong Kong at Scotiabank, a unit of Bank of Nova Scotia.

The yield on the 3.25 percent bonds due June 2017 climbed two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.53 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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