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Baht Falls for Third Day on Speculation Authorities to Intervene

Thailand’s baht fell for a third day on speculation the central bank will intervene to limit gains that may hurt exports. Government bonds advanced.

The currency has strengthened 5.9 percent against the greenback this year, the best performance in Asia, and touched a 16-year high this week. The central bank is concerned by the recent movement in the baht, Assistant Governor Chantavarn Sucharitakul said at a briefing today, adding the bank has to “think carefully” before imposing any measures to curb volatility. The remarks followed comments by Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul who said April 19 that the baht has started to move beyond its fundamentals.

“Monetary authorities may be worried about further significant inflows,” said Tsutomu Soma, manager of Rakuten Securities Inc.’s fixed-income business unit department in Tokyo. “With those verbal interventions, the baht may see some downward correction, although appreciation pressure will probably continue.”

The baht fell 0.2 percent to 28.89 per dollar as of 3:23 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, taking its decline this week to 0.8 percent. The currency touched 28.56 on April 22 and April 19, the strongest level since a devaluation in July 1997 that sparked the Asian financial crisis.

Global funds bought $2.1 billion more Thai sovereign debt than they sold this month through yesterday, taking this year’s net purchases to $12 billion, Thai Bond Market Association data show. Monetary easing in Japan has buoyed inflows. The BOT raised its 2013 growth forecast on April 12 to 5.1 percent from its January prediction of 4.9 percent.

Exports Improve

Exports climbed 4.6 percent in March from a year earlier, more than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey for a 2.3 percent gain, official data showed yesterday. Overseas sales fell 5.8 percent in February.

One-month implied volatility in the baht, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, climbed 12 basis points, or 0.12 percentage point, to 5.45 percent.

The yield on the 3.625 percent government bonds due June 2023 declined two basis points to 3.36 percent, the lowest level since August. The government sold 17 billion baht ($588 million) of debt due 2017 and 7 billion baht of notes maturing 2027 today.

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