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Positive factors fuel baht: BOT

THE BAHT has been rallying on growing optimism over the end to the Bangkok state of emergency and firming investor confidence in emerging-market countries after their economies did not slow down as expected.

"The baht is strengthening, given our improvement with the abolition of the emergency decree and reduced violence, and regional emerging-market countries' economies are not unsatisfactory as anticipated," Pongpen Ruengvirayudh, deputy Bank of Thailand governor, said yesterday.

"The currencies of several emerging-market countries appreciated. The baht also moved in the same way. However, some countries are facing depreciation," she said.

There should be no sharp capital outflow after the two-day meeting of the US Federal Open Market Committee closes today, in which the Federal Reserve may reduce its monetary stimulus, as investors have factored in such news.

"There may be no impact from the tapering of QE [quantitative easing]. Capital may flow out but not at a severe level. If our tourism and exports improve, it's possible for Thai operators' [US] dollar sales to counter foreign investors' dollar purchases. Recently, foreign investors started to be buyers in markets in several regional countries," she said.

China's move to double the yuan's daily trading band to 2 per cent could affect regional currencies, but given the different cycles of each country's economy, currencies may not always move in the same direction.

It is too soon to assess whether Russia will trigger a currency war in response to the United States' sanctions over Crimea, Pongpen said. Russia, the US and Europe are all economically interdependent and if violence erupts, it will not be good for anyone.


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