The Bank of Thailand (BOT) on Monday said there was no need for alarm over a news report concerning its foreign reserves, explaining that that the valuation loss that had been made was the natural result of its responsibility for currency stability during a period of baht appreciation.
In response to news on social media involving the central bank’s loss, BOT assistant governor Chantavarn Sucharitakul denied that it had engaged in currency speculation. However, the BOT had bought foreign currency in order to prevent the baht appreciating too quickly, she said.
The increase in foreign reserves followed an influx of foreign capital as a result of several consecutive years of current-account surpluses and foreign direct investment, she said.
When the baht appreciates, a valuation loss occurs in regard to the country’s foreign reserves, whereas there is there is a valuation gain when the baht weakens, the assistant governor explained.
When the economy improves and the currency tends to strengthen, the central bank usually registers a valuation loss, but if the economy worsens and the baht depreciates, it normally records a valuation gain, she said.
At the end of last year, the BOT had about US$240 billion (Bt7.64 trillion) in foreign reserves.
If the Thai currency appreciated by Bt1 against the US dollar, the BOT would have an instant valuation loss of Bt240 billion on such a level of reserves.
On the other hand, if the baht depreciated by Bt1, the central bank would make an immediate valuation gain of Bt240 billion, Chantavarn said.
She was also at pains to explain that the foreign reserves were still in the form of foreign currency, which was something that did not deteriorate, unlike like agricultural products or commodities as the social-media reporting had compared them to.