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Baht Has Weekly Decline on China, Fed Concerns; Bonds Gain

Thailand’s baht had a weekly decline on concerns over slowing growth in China and the Federal Reserve’s plans to cut stimulus if the U.S. economy improves. Government bonds gained.

The nation’s exports fell 5.3 percent in May after rising 2.9 percent in April, with shipments to China, the country’s largest export market, sliding 16 percent, official data showed on June 26. The Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against 10 major currencies, gained for a second day after data from ADP Employer Services yesterday showed U.S. companies added more jobs in June than forecast.

The baht weakened 0.3 percent this week to 31.14 per dollar as of 3:32 p.m. in Bangkok, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency, which dropped 0.13 percent today, lost 1.8 percent this year. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, declined 64 basis points, or 0.64 percentage point, to 7.39 percent this week. The gauge rose 15 basis points today.

“Asian currencies will be cautious heading into monthly data releases next week” particularly from China, said Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in Singapore. Signs of an improvement in the U.S. economy “reinforces the notion of a stronger dollar trend,” he added.

Foreign-exchange reserves fell to $170.8 billion in the week ended June 28, compared with $172.8 billion in the prior period, the Bank of Thailand reported today.

China Data

China’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slipped to 53.9 last month from 54.3 in May, official data showed on July 3. The nation suspended the release of industry-specific data from a monthly survey of manufacturing purchasing managers, with an official saying yesterday that there’s limited time to analyze the large volume of responses. China is scheduled to release data on exports and new yuan loans in the July 10 to 15 period.

Government bonds recorded a second week of gains as data from the Thai Bond Market Association showed foreigners were net buyers of local assets this week through yesterday, purchasing $126 million more than they sold.

The yield on the 3.625 percent debt due June 2023 dropped two basis points in the past five days to 3.73 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate fell 1.5 basis points today.

Thailand’s finance ministry cut the nation’s 2013 economic growth forecast to a range of 4 percent to 5 percent on June 27, from 4.8 percent to 5.8 percent, citing the slow recovery of trade partners.

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