Baht, Bonds Advance as U.S. Jobs Data Encourage More Inflows

Thailand’s baht advanced toward a 10-month high and government bonds rose as U.S. jobs data supported demand for emerging-market assets.

Employers in the U.S., Thailand’s third-largest export market, added 155,000 workers last month, more than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey for 152,000, Labor Department figures showed Jan. 4. Global funds purchased $128 million more Thai equities than they sold last week and bought a net $341 million of sovereign securities, according to data from the stock exchange and the Thai Bond Market Association.

“Funds have been flowing into Asia and good data leads to speculation of more inflows into the region,” said Tohru Nishihama, an economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc. in Tokyo. “The situation will continue and that supports Asian currencies.”

The baht strengthened 0.2 percent to 30.47 per dollar as of 3:09 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency touched 30.29 on Jan. 3, the highest level since March 1, 2012. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, held steady at 4.1 percent.

The Bank of Thailand meets to set interest rates on Jan. 9. All 16 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the benchmark will be left at 2.75 percent. It was cut by 25 basis points in October last year.

The yield on the 3.625 percent notes due June 2023 dropped one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 3.68 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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