Bloomberg News

Baht Gains as Inflows Continue Before Central Bank Rate Decision

February 13, 2013

Thailand’s baht rose for a second day and bonds snapped a three-day drop on speculation the central bank will leave borrowing costs at a level that has helped fuel a 2.7 percent rally in the currency this year.

Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said Feb. 6 the monetary authority is under “no pressure” to cut interest rates even after Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong renewed calls for easing. Thailand’s policy rate of 2.75 percent compares with a maximum 0.25 percent in the U.S. and 0.1 percent in Japan. The central bank will review monetary policy on Feb. 20.

“The BoT is likely to keep the rate stable despite calls from the finance minister to cut, and stable rates should be positive for the baht,” said Wee-Khoon Chong, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Societe Generale SA. “The stable environment is also positive for bonds as investors enjoy higher yields than developed markets and potential currency gains.”

The baht advanced 0.1 percent to 29.79 per dollar as of 8:16 a.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, dropped eight basis points to 5.25 percent.

Overseas investors bought $1.3 billion more sovereign debt than they sold this month through yesterday, Thai Bond Market Association data show. They pumped a net $28 million into local equities yesterday, exchange data show.

The yield on the 3.625 percent government bonds due June 2023 was steady at 3.61 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The yield increased seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, in the first three days of the week.

Finance Minister Kittiratt, who has repeatedly called for a reduction in borrowing costs, said this month he wrote a letter to Bank of Thailand Chairman Virabongsa Ramangkura, reiterating his view that the Thai rate is luring capital inflows. The central bank governor said on Feb. 6 the missive hasn’t put pressure on the BoT and the monetary policy committee will make a decision based on economic data.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net


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