Bloomberg News

Baht Rises as Global Funds Boost Holdings of Thai Stocks, Bonds

February 13, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s baht gained, halting a two-day slide, as international investors raised their holdings of the nation’s assets amid optimism economic growth may accelerate this year.

The currency reached a three-month high last week as global funds purchased $420 million more Thai equities than they sold and bought a net $1.6 billion of government debt, data from the stock exchange and the Thai Bond Market Association show. Greek lawmakers approved budget cuts needed to secure an international bailout. The parliamentary vote, which took place amid riots by anti-austerity protesters, paves the way for euro-area finance ministers to consider a second aid package at a Feb. 15 meeting.

“Developments in Greece improves risk sentiment for now,” said Tohru Nishihama, an economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc. in Tokyo. “When investors’ sentiment is good, funds are flowing into the riskier assets including the Asian assets and that supports the regional currencies.”

The baht added 0.1 percent to 30.82 per dollar as of 3:33 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency has strengthened 2.4 percent this year and touched a three-month high of 30.68 on Feb. 9.

Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy may expand 4.9 percent this year, compared with a previous prediction of 4.8 percent, the Bank of Thailand said on Feb. 3. The monetary authority cut its growth estimate for last year to 1 percent from 1.8 percent on the same day.

The yield on the 3.25 percent notes due June 2017 was little changed at 3.16 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

--Editors: Andrew Janes, James Regan

To contact the reporter on this story: Yumi Teso in Bangkok at yteso1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net


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