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Baht Drops on Concern Europe, China Slowdowns Will Hurt Exports

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The baht weakened the most in more than two months on concern slowing growth in China and Europe, Thailand’s biggest export markets, will hurt the Southeast Asian economy. Government bonds declined.

Overseas shipments probably shrank 5.8 percent in August from a year earlier, declining for a third month, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey before a government report due tomorrow. Export growth in 2012 may be lower than previously forecast, according to the minutes of the Bank of Thailand’s Sept. 5 meeting published on Sept. 19. A Chinese manufacturing survey last week signaled an 11th monthly contraction while another report showed a gauge of euro-area services and production fell to a 39-month low.

“Weak manufacturing data from Europe and China signal demand for local exports will remain poor,” said Thammarat Kittisiripat, an economist in Bangkok at TMB Bank Pcl. “It’s hard to see a strong rebound before the first half of next year, as Europe continues to struggle with its debt problem and only a gradual recovery can be expected in China.”

The baht fell 0.42 percent to 30.95 per dollar as of 3:26 p.m. in Bangkok, the biggest drop since July 18, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It lost 0.2 percent last week, and may fall below 31 by year-end, Kittisiripat said.

One-month implied volatility, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, dropped to 3.85 percent from 4.27 percent at the end of last week.

The currency extended a retreat a six-month high of 30.66 per dollar touched on Sept. 17 after a report today showed German business confidence unexpectedly fell for a fifth straight month in September.

Economic Outlook

China and Europe accounted for more than a fifth of Thailand’s exports in the first seven months this year. Thai economic growth in 2013 is “likely to be softer” than forecast, according to minutes of the central bank’s Sept. 5 policy meeting.

The yield on the government’s 3.65 percent bonds due December 2021 climbed three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 3.69 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The treasury is scheduled to auction 12 billion baht ($388 million) of 2032 bonds on Sept. 26.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Yong in Singapore at dyong@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net.

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