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Baht Touches 10-Week High on U.S. Budget Optimism; Bonds Steady

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Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s baht touched a 10-week high as optimism the U.S. is moving closer to resolving a budget deadlock bolstered demand for emerging-market assets.

President Barack Obama is considering concessions after House Speaker John Boehner dropped opposition to raising tax rates for top earners, two people familiar with the talks said after the officials met yesterday. Overseas investors bought $285 million more Thai government debt than they sold this month through yesterday and pumped a net $426 million into local equities, according to data from the Thai Bond Market Association and the stock exchange.

“Most Asian currencies are responding modestly to developments in the U.S.,” said Vishnu Varathan, a Singapore-based economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. “There’s nothing compelling enough for the Thai baht to break 30.55 per dollar.”

The baht was unchanged at 30.59 against the greenback as of 3:33 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 30.55 earlier, matching yesterday’s high that was the strongest level since Oct. 8, and has gained 3.2 percent this year. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, dropped 75 basis points, or 0.75 percentage point, to a 17-month low of 3.5 percent.

Government bonds were steady. The yield on the 3.125 percent securities due December 2015 was 2.97 percent, the highest since Oct. 18, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The yield has advanced six basis points this month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at echew16@bloomberg.net.

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

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