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Baht Rises as Global Funds Boost Asset Holdings; Bonds Steady

Thailand’s baht advanced for a second day after global funds boosted holdings of assets in the region, home to the world’s fastest-growing economies. Government bonds were little changed.

Foreign funds bought $208 million more Thai equities than they sold this year through yesterday and poured a net $516 million into sovereign debt, according to data from the stock exchange and the Thai Bond Market Association. Thailand’s economy may have expanded 5.7 percent in 2012 and will grow 5 percent in 2013, the finance ministry forecast on Dec. 26. Asia’s developing economies will expand 7.2 percent this year, double the 3.6 percent projected for the world, according to International Monetary Fund estimates published in October.

“Compared with other regions, Asia, especially Southeast Asian nations, is in better shape and that attracts fund inflows,” said Hideki Hayashi, a researcher at the Japan Center for Economic Research in Tokyo. “The current risk-on mood is providing support for Asian currencies, including the baht.”

The currency rose 0.1 percent to 30.44 per dollar as of 3:02 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, rose five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 4.15 percent.

The Bank of Thailand meets to set interest rates tomorrow. All 22 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the benchmark will be left at 2.75 percent. It was cut by 25 basis points in October.

The yield on the government’s 3.125 percent bonds due December 2015 held at 2.95 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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