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Baht Rises This Week on Exporter Demand, ECB Pledge; Bonds Gain

Thailand’s baht had a weekly advance amid speculation exporters stepped up purchases of the currency after it sank to the weakest level in almost two years. Government bonds rose.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index and the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of shares climbed today after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said yesterday policy makers will do whatever is needed to preserve the euro. The baht reached 32 on July 23, the weakest level since August 2010, as Europe’s worsening debt crisis bolstered demand for the greenback. Global funds sold $197 million more Thai equities than they bought this week through yesterday, exchange data show.

“The fact that the dollar was at such a high level versus the baht, it was an opportune time to convert,” said Sacha Tihanyi, a strategist at Scotiabank in Hong Kong, a unit of Bank of Nova Scotia. “Draghi’s comments yesterday were certainly a big help for the baht against the dollar.”

The baht strengthened 0.4 percent this week and 0.2 percent today to 31.55 per dollar as of 3:18 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its one-month implied volatility, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, has held at 5.02 percent for the past two weeks.

The yield on the 3.25 percent bonds due June 2017 fell four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 3.14 percent this week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate slid one basis point today.

The Bank of Thailand kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3 percent on July 25 and said it is prepared to help support the economy if needed. The industrial production index dropped 9.6 percent in June from a year earlier after a revised 6 percent expansion in May, the Office of Industrial Economics said today.

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