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Thai Baht Weakens on Speculation Importers Buying More Dollars

Thailand’s baht retreated from its strongest level in almost four weeks on speculation importers are stepping up dollar purchases to take advantage of a favorable exchange rate. Government bonds advanced.

The currency touched 31.43 per dollar today, the strongest level since July 4. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares rose after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti agreed in Berlin yesterday to “do everything to protect the euro area,” according to an e-mailed statement from German government spokesman Georg Streiter. Thai imports climbed 2.6 percent in June from a year earlier, while exports dropped 4.2 percent, official data showed July 25.

“Around 31.50 is a good level for importers to buy the dollar,” said Disawat Tiaowvanich, a foreign-exchange trader at Bangkok Bank Pcl. “We can also expect month-end dollar demand from importers. Risk sentiment is quite good today on some positive comments from European officials.”

The baht declined 0.2 percent to 31.59 per dollar as of 3:12 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, was unchanged at 5.02 percent.

Investment in infrastructure and water-management projects may boost imports, putting pressure on the baht, Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Pongpen Ruengvirayudh said July 27.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will meet U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Frankfurt today as he seeks consensus for a plan to ease borrowing costs in Spain and Italy.

The yield on Thailand’s 3.25 percent bonds due June 2017 fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.14 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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