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Opinion
Daniel Moss

Thai Economy Weakens, With a Twist: The Baht’s Too Strong

We’re a long way from 1997, but it’s fair to wonder how long the currency can defy the pull toward a slowdown. 

Fewer tourists coming from China is hurting Thailand’s economy. 

Fewer tourists coming from China is hurting Thailand’s economy. 

Photographer: Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The policy torpor in Bangkok is over. After sitting out interest-rate cuts and growth warnings that have swept both the developed world and emerging markets for most of the year, Thai authorities are getting anxious. If this unlikely haven, which lit the fuse of the Asian crisis two decades ago, is now fretting, everyone should be concerned.  

This month's unexpected rate cut by the Bank of Thailand jolted observers who had become used to Thai policymakers not being much inclined to touch borrowing costs. The step was the exclamation point on a trio of surprise reductions across Asia on Aug. 7. Officials have signaled that they’re open to further easing, perhaps in conjunction with some kind of fiscal package.