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Baht, stocks weaken on prolonged political unrest

The Thai baht Monday weakened the most against the US dollar in three years, while stocks also declined on concern that prolonged political unrest will damp investment and hurt the economy.

At 32.68 per US dollar at 8.13am, it has weakened by 1.74 per cent from the end of November. Compared to the Friday closing, it also fell by 0.15 per cent.

Suthep Thaugsuban, who is leading the demonstrators, has vowed to thwart the February 2 polls, which were announced after Yingluck dissolved the parliament on Dec 9 amid mass protests.

"Investors aren’t buying the Thai baht if this political situation continues," Kozo Hasegawa, a foreign-exchange trader at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp in Bangkok, told Bloomberg."The baht may gradually weaken toward 32.9 per dollar as the political conflict threatens the economy," he said.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand has also dropped. At the close, the SET index lost 16.58 points or 1.23 per cent to 1,326.14 points, on very thin turnovre of Bt24.87 billion.

Foreign net-sell in this month as of December 20 reached Bt39 billion.

With additional net-sell of Bt835 million today, the month-to-date and year-to-date figures were widened to Bt39.7 billion and Bt193 billion, respectively.

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